James Kemp (bishop)
Brought up a Presbyterian, Kemp joined the Episcopal Church and was ordained priest on December 27, 1789. The next August, Kemp became rector of Great Choptank Parish, in Cambridge, Maryland, the county seat of Dorchester County. Rev. Kemp also served at Green Hill Church likewise on the Eastern Shore until 1813, when he was elected associate rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baltimore.
The following year, Kemp was elected suffragan bishop and consecrated on September 1, 1814, serving under elderly Bishop Thomas J. Claggett and overseeing the parishes on the Eastern Shore. His consecrators included:
- The Most Reverend William White, fourth presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church
- The Right Reverend John Henry Hobart, third bishop of New York
- The Right Reverend Richard Channing Moore, second bishop of Virginia
James Kemp thus became the fifteenth bishop consecrated in the Episcopal Church. He succeeded bishop Claggett on the latter's death in 1816. As bishop, Kemp invited Deacon William Levington to his diocese in 1824, and helped him establish St. James First African Episcopal Church, the third African American Episcopal church in the new country.
Death and Legacy
Kemp died of injuries received in a stage coach accident returning from the consecration of Assistant Bishop Henry Onderdonk in Philadelphia. He was buried in the cemetery of Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore.
- George Freeman Bragg, The First Negro Priest on Southern Soil (Baltimore: Church Advocate Press, 1909) p. 13, available at google books
- http://www.preservationmaryland.org/uploads/file/Rectory%20sheet.pdf p.1 of 5
- Virtual American Biographies: James Kemp
|Episcopal Church (USA) titles|
Thomas John Claggett
|Bishop of Maryland
1816 – 1827
William Murray Stone
- The Episcopal Church Annual. Morehouse Publishing: New York, NY (2005).
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