Office Dates: Jan 01, 1874 - Jan 01, 1878
Born: Jun 11, 1823
Passed: Apr 07, 1895
Birth State: Virginia
Family: Married Cremora Conway; five children
School(s): Washington College (now Washington & Lee University)
Military Service: Army
JAMES LAWSON KEMPER was born in Madison County, Virginia. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington College in 1842, and went on to study law. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates between 1853 and 1863, and was Speaker in the 1861, 1862, and 1863. Commissioned as a Captain during the Mexican War too late for active service, he was mustered a Colonel during the Civil War and promoted to Brigadier General, serving at Gettysburg, and promoted to Major General after Gettysburg. When the war was over, he practiced law in Madison, Virginia. Elected governor after Virginia had been readmitted to the Union, Kemper urged full recognition of civil rights for blacks. At the same time, he asked that Congress share the burden of state education for blacks and assume the state's debt, both as incidents of war. After his gubernatorial term ended, ill health resulted in his retirement from public life.
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