Lewis A. Kemp is enjoying a well earned rest after years of active labor in the fields. He is an honored retired farmer living in Bellbrook where he has many warm friends who esteem him highly for his genuine worth. He was born on a farm two miles east of Dayton, Ohio, in Montgomery county, July 30, 1825. and is a son of Isaac and Margaret (Herring) Kemp. The father was born in Frederick county, Maryland, about 1786, and the mother's birth occurred near Basil, Switzerland, about 1798. When three years of age she was brought to America, the family locating in Frederick county, Maryland. Her father was quite unfortunate in that he had his barn destroyed by lightning and seven years later he had another bam burned in the same way. He also experienced difficulty in obtaining possession of property because of a law which forbade a foreigner to hold land. Therefore he left the south and made his way. to Greene county, Ohio, about 1805. Here he purchased a section of land on Beaver creek. The same year Ludwig Kemp, the paternal grandfather of our subject, arrived in Ohio and purchased a tract of land near Dayton, to which he removed his family in the spring of 1806. Isaac Kemp was then not quite twenty-one years of age. He remained in Ohio until the following autumn. when he returned to Maryland in order to attend school there. Later he engaged in teaching and during the war of 1812 he was in Maryland at the time two drafts were made, but was not physically able for service. About 1813 he returned to Ohio and entered into partnership with his father in the distillery business. In 1823 he was married on the Herring farm, in Beavercreek township, to Margaret Herring, whose father gave him sixty acres of land near Dayton, and upon that tract he built a hewed log house, making it his home throughout life. Later, however, the house was covered with weather-boarding, and otherwise modernized. Five children vvere born unto Mr. and Mrs. Kemp, but only three reached mature years, including Lewis A. and his twin brother. Jacob H, who for a few years engaged in the grocery business in Dayton, and later became a farmer of Beavercreek township, Greene county. He married Ellen LaFong, who is still living in Beavercreek. but the brother of our subject, died in January, 1900, leaving three children. The other brother, John D. Kemp, became a practicing physician after graduating from the Baltimore University. He taught school in order to earn the money that enabled him tn complete his college course, together with that furnished him by the subject of this review. He married Harriet Holdeman at Emporia. Kansas, having known her, however, in Montgomery county, Ohio. Establishing an office in Dayton, he there successfully practiced until April 17, 1884, when he departed this life, leaving one child. While practicing in Vandalia, he was elected to the lower house of the state legislature by the Democratic party, serving for two terms, covering four years. He was then elected to the state senate to represent Preble anil Montgomery counties and was an active and valued member of the assembly, leaving the impress of his individuality upon the legislation enacted during his service. He was also a director of the Southern Asylum at Dayton, filling that position at the time of his death, which resulted from an injury caused by his horse running away. He was then about fifty-four years of age, having been born in 1830. Thus it is that Lewis A. Kemp is the only surviving member of the family. He is well known, not only in Bellbrook, but throughout Montgomery and Greene counties, where he has a large circle of friends.
During his boyhood Mr. Kemp remained upon the home farm, attended the county schools and there studied surveying. He afterward engaged in teaching and later was for some time a student in the schools of Dayton. He afterward resumed his work as an educator and followed the profession altogether for about twelve years, beginning when he was twenty-one years of age. At length, however. he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, operating his father's farm, and through a long period he successfully carried on business along that line. When he had acquired a considerable competence he resolved to enjoy a good rest from labor and well does he merit this retirement, for in former years his career was one of unflagging industry, enterprise and unfaltering honesty.
On the 24th of March, 1859, in Montgomery county, Lewis A. Kemp was married to Hester Ann Taylor, whose birth occurred on the farm where their marriage was celebrated. They remained in Montgomery county until 1875 when Mr. Kemp came with his family to Greene county, having purchased two hundred and four acres of land near Bellbrook. He also, however, retains possession of one hundred and twenty-four acres in Montgomery county. Six children have been born to this marriage: Stephen A., who resides near Emporia, Kansas, where he is engaged in cattle raising, was married in that state to Mrs. Ida Stanford. John died at the age of three years. Josephine is the wife of W. E. Strain, of Greenville. Ohio, and has two sons. Lewis Augustus is engaged in the cattle business at Emporia, Kansas. Addie is the wife of Walter Weller, of Montgomery County, and has one daughter. Horace S., who is operating his father's farm in Greene county, was married near Emporia, Kansas, to Ida David, and has two children. The wife and mother was called to her final rest in September. 1890, at the age of fifty-seven years and eleven months and was laid to rest in Bellbrook cemetery. On the 15th of June, 1896. Mr. Kemp was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Mary E. Harris, nee Brown, of Bellbrook. She was born in Sugarcreek township, a daughter of George and Matilda (Peoples) Brown. She was first married March 14, 1874, to Clinton Harris and they had three sons, Claude of Sugarcreek township; James Leroy, also of the same township, who married Catherine Avey and has one child; and George E., who married Ethel Vaughan and lives in Dayton.
Since casting his first presidential vote for Cass in 1848, Mr. Kemp has been a stanch Democrat. He was appointed to serve for three years as school commissioner of Montgomery county. The probate judge wished to re-appoint him but sent him word that he would not give the office to a Vallandingham man, whereupon Mr. Kemp returned the message that he was for Vallandingham and therefore did not get the office, but he had the satisfaction of knowing that he had stood firmly by his belief. He served for two terms as township trustee and one year as assessor of Mad River township. He has been a member of the school board for fourteen years, was township clerk of Mad River township, filling the office at the time he removed to Greene county. For eighteen years he has been a member of the school board of Bellbrook.
From History of Greene County, Ohio, by George F. Robinson (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1902)