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Thomas KEMP (c1708-c1772) farmer of Kent
There is no shortage of Thomas Kemps in Kent in the genealogy records, so it is not possible to identify the baptismal record of the father of John Kemp (1748 - 1811), Neil's third great grandfather. He is almost certainly Thomas, but his birth, death and parentage are speculative - see below, but data on the his wife, Elizabeth, and children (ie siblings of John) come from the parish records as given in the IGI. According to the IGI, Thomas and Elizabeth had the following children baptised at Cobham:
- William Kemp was baptised 19 Aug 1739 and he married Mary
Rivers of St Mary Cray, Orpington on 23 January
1764. He signed his name, which indicated a well-to-do background,
and she gave her mark. They had three known sons:
- William Kemp, baptised 23 December 1764
- John Kemp, baptised on 13 September 1767 at St Mary Cray. He was known to have attended school which again indicates that the Kemps were not short of money.
- Richard Kemp, baptised 17 December 1769 at St Mary Cray, also attended school. On 4 February 1792 he married Anne Toler of Wilmington, Kent (adjacent to Eynsford), born April 28 1773, daughter of Thomas and Anne Toler. Anne and Richard had one son, another Richard, who was baptised at Sutton at Hone near Wilmington and went on to marry Rosamund Burgess on 10 May 1818 at Ryarsh, Kent. That marriage record and the following additional information come from a descendant of Richard (the elder), Rhonda Rose in Tasmania: In 1804 Richard Kemp (the elder) was transported on The Calcutta as a convict to Van Diemans Land, now the Australian island of Tasmania. His crime was stealing sheep from a local man, Thomas Harman, and he was convicted with Samuel Toler, Anne's brother. Anne did not go with her husband to Tasmania, and he married another convict there, Mary Deal. She was Irish and was transported on The Janus to Sydney, along with another 103 women, and hence to Hobart town on The Princess Charlotte on 22 June 1820. She had been sentenced at the Old Bailey on 7 July 1819 along with five others (Esther Bevan, Owen Rydon, David Austin, and James Rabnett). The sentence was transportation for 14 years and the crime was having forged bank notes in their possession, knowing them to be forged. Some (secondary) records imply that she was 14 years old at the time, but Mike Collins, from who this information comes, suspects that there was confusion between her age and the length of her sentence, and that she was actually 20 years old. She gave Richard seven children (not all in wedlock). They included:
- - Mary Kemp born 1824
- - Ann Kemp born 1825
- - Eliza Kemp born 1828
- - Charlotte Kemp born 1830
- - Susannah Kemp born 1832
- - Matilda Kemp born 1836.
Richard was already a free man at the time of his marriage, although Mary was to wait another 10 years. The couple settled in Sorell, Tasmania, where Richard worked for a time for a Reverent Robert Knopwood. He and Mary were buried at the St Georges Church in Sorell Tasmania. A useful source book about Richard is Convicts Unbound: The Story of the Calcutta Convicts by Marjorie Tipping. It notes that Richard was literate, which was probably quite a valuable asset for him.
- Mary Kemp baptised 16 Aug 1741
- Elizabeth Kemp baptised 25 Nov 1743
- Thomas Kemp baptised 27 Apr 1746. He could be the Thomas
Kemp who married Mary Ward of Bexley on 2 May
1796 at Eynsford, although he would have been 50 at the time, and
60 when his last child was born. These are not impossible ages,
although unusual, unless he had been widowed. Thomas and Mary Ward
of Bexley had the following children:
- Elizabeth, baptised 11 November 1796
- George Barrington, baptised 11 July 1797
- Thomas, baptised 19 April 1798
- Mary, baptised 7 November 1799
- William, baptised 15 July 1801
- Sophia, baptised 29 November 1802
- Ann, baptised 19 March 1806
To add weight to this Thomas and 'our' John being brothers, a Thomas was a witness at the wedding of 'our' John and Elizabeth Bennet. Also Thomas gave his first son the given name of Barrington which came from her family; and he named his first daughter after their mother.
- John Kemp, baptised 16 Oct 1748, Neil's direct ancestor. He has his own page.
- Susanna Kemp baptised 24 Mar 1751
- Ann Kemp baptised 16 Sep 1753
- George Kemp baptised 31 Oct 1756
- Richard Kemp baptised 5 Oct 1760
Returning to the more speculative aspects of Thomas' life:
The monumental inscriptions on Kent gravestones transcribed by the Kent Archaeological Society show a Thomas Kemp buried at St Mary Cray (close to where John and the Best family lived and worked) who died on 2 March 1772 aged 64. This is probably 'our' Thomas and gives a birth year for him of about 1708. The IGI shows a Thomas Kemp baptised on 6 March 1710 at Chilham in Kent, to John Kemp and Elizabeth, although there is no way of knowing whether this is 'our' Thomas, whose baptism may not even be in the IGI. No convincing marriage record for Thomas Kemp and Elizabeth has shown up.
To add to the murkiness of Kemp family history, due to so many individuals having the same name, the will of a Thomas Kemp who was more than likely the one who was buried at St Mary Cray shows a wife Mary, not Elizabeth - although she could have been a second wife. It was dated 27 Nov 1771 and proved 5 September 1772 and showed him to be a farmer of St Mary Cray with children who included:
- Mary Kemp
- Thomas Kemp
- John Kemp who does not appear in the above baptismal records
- James Kemp
- Elizabeth Kemp
- Ann Kemp
There is no mention of Richard, Susanna or George in the will, which may or may not be significant.
Wife Mary Kemp of St Mary Cray survived Thomas and left a will dated 7 April 1778 and proved 13 Aug 1779. It mentioned:
- son Thomas Kemp
- son John Kemp
- grandson Thomas Kemp
- daughter Mary Selmes (According to the IGI, Mary Kemp married Jeremiah Selmes at St Mary Cray on 13 July 1775)
- daughter Elizabeth Chapman (According to the IGI, Elizabeth Kemp married William Chapman at St Mary Cray on 18 May 1775)
- daughter Ann Kemp
Yet another Thomas Kemp of Eynsford lived in the locality about that time. Thomas Kemp of Eynsford left a will dated ? April 1774 and proved 27 October 1775. He too had a wife Mary. His executor was Richard Chapman of Pauls Cray, farmer - note the reappearance of the Chapman family name. It mentioned:
- son Thomas Kemp, butcher of Bexley, Kent
- son William
- son John
Probably the only way we will ever understand which Kemps belonged to which family is if a family bible ever appears in which the genealogy is documented by individuals alive at the time.