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Milam County, Texas

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Louis Wiltz Kemp
1881 - 1956




Cameron Herald, Crossroads Supplement, 25 Mar 2004, p. 18

“Cameron man led fight to preserve Texas history”

Louis Wiltz Kemp, historian, son of Dempsey and Martha (Taylor) Kemp, was born in Cameron, Texas on September 4, 1881.

He attended high school in Cameron and studied engineering at the University of Texas from 1901 to 1903. He married Violet Volz on October 7, 1925 and they had two sons. Kemp began employment with the Texas Company (later Texaco, Incorporated) in 1908 and continued in that service until his retirement.

He was most proud of two accomplishments:

In addition, Kemp was a prime mover in the plan to construct the San Jacinto Monument, as well as a long-time trustee of the San Jacinto Museum of History.

He held memberships and offices in numerous other historic and patriotic organizations, including the State Library Commission, the Texas State Historical Association, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (honorary membership), the American Legion, the Philosophical Society of Texas, and the Sons of the American Revolution.

Kemp authored or co-authored a number of books dealing with early Texas history, including The Heroes of San Jacinto, Texas Musketeers, The Battle of San Jacinto and the San Jacinto Campaign and the Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

He modestly described himself as “a retired asphalt salesman who makes a hobby out of history.” In truth, Kemp was widely regarded as one of the best-informed people on the subject of Texas history and one of those persons most responsible for preserving its heritage.

Among his many historical accomplishments are his compilation and composition of a complete biographical sketch of every known Texian soldier who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. These San Jacinto Veteran Biographies are known as the Kemp Sketches.

Kemp died on November 15, 1956, in Houston, where he was buried. He was reburied in the State Cemetery on May 5, 1957, beside the granite marker placed there to honor him.

The text on his footstone in the Texas State Cemetery reads: The Drives of this State Cemetery were constructed by the State Highway Department and dedicated to Louis W. Kemp whose services have made possible the appropriate reburial of many Texas Heroes and Statesmen or the Restoration of their graves.



NOTE: To view a photograph of the grave, click on the link above to the Texas State Cemetery - then click on "Search by Name" - enter KEMP - cleck SEARCH.

NOTE: His wife Violet is buired beside him at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas (Section G, Row G, Graves 31 & 32).

NOTE: To read the Kemp Sketches are on-line, click on the link above. The originals are located at the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, San Jacinto Monument at LaPort, Texas.

SOURCES: Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin, Handbook of Texas On Line, Gibb Gilchrist.

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Thanks to Richard Stone, Editor & Publisher of the Cameron Herald and Tia Rae Stone for their permission to re-print this article.

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Created on 1 Apr 2004 and last revised on ____________