This historical marker remembering Rueben Kemper, namesake of Kemper County, was unveiled last Thursday during a special program.

Photo by Steve Swogetinsky
This historical marker remembering Rueben Kemper, namesake of Kemper County, was unveiled last Thursday during a special program. Photo by Steve Swogetinsky
By Steve Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger


A special historical marker for Rueben Kemper, the namesake of Kemper County, was unveiled in front of the Court House in DeKalb during a special program last Thursday.

Getting this marker has been a project of the Kemper County Historical Association.

Reuben Kemper was born in 1781 in Virginia. Around 1800, he moved to what was then Spanish West Florida to open a store.

Researchers say he was either a local hero, an agitator or an outlaw, depending on whose flag you flew. After his store failed, he became involved in efforts to overthrow Spanish rule. That became a reality in 1810 when the Republic of West Florida (which included parts of what is now Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida) declared its independence from Spain and was later annexed into the United States.

Kemper served as a colonel under Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812 and fought in the Battle of New Orleans.

Later, he became a planter. He died in New Orleans in 1827.

Cheryl Sparkman emceed the program. William “Brother” Rogers of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History was the featured speaker.