James Kemp (bishop)

James Kemp (May 20, 1764 – October 28, 1827) was the second bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, USA from 1816 to 1827.

The Right Reverend

James Kemp

D.D., S.T.D.
Bishop of Maryland
Kemp James 2 Bp Maryland x.jpg
ChurchEpiscopal Church
ElectedAugust 2, 1816
In office1816-1827
PredecessorThomas John Claggett
SuccessorWilliam Murray Stone
OrdinationDecember 27, 1789
by William White
ConsecrationSeptember 1, 1814
by William White
Personal details
Born(1764-05-20)May 20, 1764
Keith Hall Aberdeenshire, Scotland
DiedOctober 28, 1827(1827-10-28) (aged 63)
New Castle, Delaware, United States
BuriedSt. Paul's Episcopal Church (Baltimore, Maryland)
prev. Presbyterian
ParentsDonald & Isabel Kemp
SpouseElizabeth Kemp
Previous postSuffragan Bishop of Maryland (1814-1816)

Early lifeEdit

James Kemp was born on May 20, 1764 in Keith Hall parish, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He graduated 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 studied theology under the direction of the Rev. Dr. John Bowie, rector of Great Choptank parish, MD. He received deacon's orders in Christ Church, Philadelphia on December 26, 1789 and He was ordained priest the very next day on December 27, 1789. Kemp was ordained to both orders by the Rt. Rev. William White. In August 1790, Kemp succeeded his theological instructor, Dr. Bowie and 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. Columbia College conferred on him a Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1802.

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 legacyEdit

Kemp died of injuries received in a stage coach accident near New Castle, Delaware, while 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 alsoEdit


  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 Archived 2014-07-28 at the Wayback Machine p.1 of 5

3.William Stevens Perry, The Episcopate in America, The Christian Literature Co. November 25, 1895 pages 34 and 35.

  • 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).