Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KEMPER, Reuben, adventurer, born in Fauquier county, Virginia, in 1770; died in Natchez, Mississippi, 10 October, 1826. He emigrated to Ohio in 1800 with his father, who was a Baptist preacher. Reuben and his two brothers subsequently went to the Mississippi territory, engaged in land-surveying, and were leaders in the movement to rid western Florida of Spanish rule. In 1808 they formed an unsuccessful expedition to Baton Rouge from the adjacent counties of Mississippi, and were kidnapped by Spanish authority. They were rescued by the commandant of the United States fort at Pointe Coupee, and afterward inflicted severe chastisement on the Spaniards who had been engaged in the capture. Reuben then devoted himself to driving the Spaniards out of North America. He was engaged its an unsuccessful attempt to capture Mobile, was one of the organizers of the expedition of Gutierrez and Toledo against Spanish authority in Mexico, and in 1812 he commanded with the rank of major, and subsequently that of colonel, a force of about 600 Americans that co-operated with the Mexican insurgents. The expedition advanced into Texas, and several successful battles were fought, but the dissensions that followed between the Mexicans and Americans enabled the Spaniards to put the divided forces to rout, and the Americans, disgusted with their allies, returned home. Kemper then joined the United States army as a volunteer, served under Andrew Jackson at the defence of New Orleans, and performed important duties that greatly added to his reputation. At the conclusion of the war, he settled as a planter in Mississippi. He is described as of stalwart and gigantic stature, resonant voice, and brusque soldier-like manner, and was celebrated for his "eloquent profanity."--His cousin, James Lawson, soldier, born in Madison county, Virginia, 11 June, 1823, was graduated at Washington college, Lexington, Virginia, in 1842, and was a captain in the United States army during the Mexican war. He was a member of the Virginia legislature ten years, during two of which he was speaker of the house, and in 1861 entered the Confederate army as colonel of the 7th Virginia regiment. He was commissioned brigadier-general in May, 1862, was its many battles, and severely wounded and captured at Gettysburg, being disabled for further service. In 1874 he was governor of Virginia, and, since the conclusion of his term, he has been engaged in planting in Orange county, Virginia While governor he published a volume of messages to the legislature (Richmond, 1876).
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