James Kemp (bishop)

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James Kemp (1764 – October 28, 1827) was the second bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, USA from 1816 to 1827.

Early life[edit]

James Kemp was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, graduating from Marischal College in 1786. He emigrated to Maryland in 1787, and lived with a family in Dorchester County.


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:

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[edit]

Kemp died of injuries received in a stage coach accident returning from the consecration of Assistant Bishop Henry Onderdonk in Philadelphia.[1] He was buried in the cemetery of Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ George Freeman Bragg, The First Negro Priest on Southern Soil (Baltimore: Church Advocate Press, 1909) p. 13, available at google books
  2. ^ http://www.preservationmaryland.org/uploads/file/Rectory%20sheet.pdf p.1 of 5
  • Virtual American Biographies: James Kemp
Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Thomas John Claggett
Bishop of Maryland
1816 – 1827
Succeeded by
William Murray Stone
  • The Episcopal Church Annual. Morehouse Publishing: New York, NY (2005).