Jackson Kemper

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Jackson Kemper
Jackson Kemper.jpg
Born (1789-12-24)December 24, 1789
Pleasant Valley, Columbia County, New York
Died May 24, 1870(1870-05-24) (aged 80)
Nashotah, Waukesha County, Wisconsin

Bishop Jackson Kemper (December 24, 1789 – May 24, 1870) was the first missionary bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

Early Life[edit]

Baptized David Jackson Kemper by Dr. Benjamin Moore, the Assistant Rector of his parents' congregation at New York City's Trinity Church, he would eventually drop the given name "David." He had been born in the Hudson River Valley of New York, where his parents had taken temporary refuge during a smallpox outbreak in New York City. He was the son of Col. Daniel Kemper, a former aide-de-camp to Gen. George Washington at the battles of Germantown and Monmouth during the American Revolution, and Elizabeth (Marius) Kemper, who descended from well-known families of the Dutch New Amsterdam era.

He entered Columbia College at the age of fifteen, where he studied theology under Dr. Henry Hobart and graduated in 1809 as the valedictorian of his class.

Career[edit]

Relocating to Philadelphia, Kemper was ordained a deacon of the Episcopal Church in 1811, and a priest in 1814.

In 1835, the Episcopal Church undertook to consecrate missionary bishops to preach the Gospel west of the settled areas, and Kemper was the first to be chosen. He promptly headed west. Since most clergy who had lived all their lives in the settled East were slow to respond to his call to join him on the frontier, Kemper determined to recruit priests from among men who were already in the West, and established a college in St. Louis, Missouri, for that purpose. He went on to found Nashotah House and Racine College in Wisconsin. Kemper also founded the mission parish that became the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Milwaukee.

Kemper constantly urged outreach to the Native American peoples, and translations of the Scriptures and the services of the Church into their languages. His first official act as Missionary Bishop, in what would become Wisconsin, was laying the cornerstone for a new frame church building for Hobart Church, Duck Creek, which served the Oneida Indian Mission.[1] Perhaps more significantly, the first ordinations in what would become Wisconsin were also at Hobart Church. There Kemper ordained William Adams and James Lloyd Breck, two young recruits from the East who helped him establish Nashotah House Seminary, on October 9, 1842.[2] Kemper ordained a native American, Enmegahbowh, of the Ottawa tribe as a deacon in 1859.

Kemper supported the Oxford Movement, although he maintained the importance of separation from the Roman Catholic Church. He ordained James De Koven as a priest in 1855, and supported Bishop Benjamin Onderdonk during his trial. In 1846 Kemper purchased a property adjacent to Nashotah House where he lived the rest of his life. From 1847 until 1854, Kemper served as Provisional Bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Wisconsin, and then served as its Diocesan Bishop from 1854 until his death in 1870.[3] Kemper also supported creation of a new diocese, though he did not live to see the formation of the Diocese of Fond du Lac come to fruition.[4]

Bishopstead, his residence in Delafield, Wisconsin, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5] Kemper Hall, an Episcopal school for girls in Kenosha, Wisconsin that was named after him, is also listed on the National Register.[6]

Veneration[edit]

Kemper is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on May 24.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wagner, Harold Ezra (1947). The Episcopal Church in Wisconsin, 1847-1947: A History of the Diocese of Milwaukee. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Diocese of Milwaukee.
  2. ^ Breck, Charles (1883). The Life of the Reverend James Lloyd Breck, D.D.: Chiefly from Letters Written by Himself. New York: E. & J. B. Young.
  3. ^ Wagner, Harold Ezra (1947). The Episcopal Church in Wisconsin, 1847-1947: A History of the Diocese of Milwaukee. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Diocese of Milwaukee.
  4. ^ Curtiss, A. Parker (1925). History of the Diocese of Fond du Lac and Its Several Congregations. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin: P.B. Haber Printing.
  5. ^ "Bishopstead". Landmark Hunter.com. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  6. ^ "Kemper Hall - Kenosha, WI". Waymarking.com. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 

Sources[edit]

  • From the Episcopal Calendar
  • Documents by and about Jackson Kemper from Project Canterbury
  • A History of the Episcopal Church by Robert W. Prichard, (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub., 1999)
  • The Story of a College by James DeKoven, (Middletown, Conn., 1862)
  • The Catholic Movement in the American Episcopal Church by George E. DeMille, (Philadelphia: Church Historical Society, 1941)
  • The Story of Nashotah by John H Egar (Milwaukee: Burdick & Armitage, 1874)
  • The Life of Reverend James De Koven D.D.: Sometime Warden of Racine College by William Cox Pope, (New York: James Pott & Company, 1899)
  • Apostle of the Wilderness by James Lloyd Breck, Edited by Charles Henery (Nashotah reprint, 1992)