KOSCIUSKO KEMPER

67th Grand Master of Masons in Virginia

Most Worshipful Kosciusko Kemper

The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted of Virginia has heard with feelings of profound sorrow the death of Most Worshipful Kosciusko Kemper and desires in its archives a testimonial to his exalted worth; be it
Resolved, That in the death of M. W. Bro. Kemper, the Commonwealth of Virginia has lost a distinguished and patriotic son; his community a worthy and useful citizen; his family a devoted caring father, and the Institution of Freemasonry a brother learned in its lore and who lived its principles.

Most Worshipful Brother Kemper was born in Warrenton, Va., on June 18, 1835. Educated at the best private schools; when his honored father became proctor of the University of Virginia, he entered that great institution of learning, graduating in its literary schools and taking a high stand as a scholar.

There he met and wooed and won the love of his youth, the daughter of Ira Garrett, for many years the clerk of the courts of Albemarle county, and she proved a worthy helpmeet and tender mother of brave sons and pure daughters, preceding him to the mansions of rest.

Bro. Kemper took up the profession of teaching, studying in the meantime the science of law. He was in Beaufort, S. C., when the Civil War broke out and at once volunteered for service in the Army of the Confederate States. He was in Fort Sumpter after the capture of that fort and during its bombardment by the Federal gunboats. He served with distinguished gallantry. In General Beauregard's dispatches to the Secretary of War, he is handsomely mentioned as follows:

"The two eleven-inch guns from the wreck of the Keokuk have been saved by Mr. La Coste and parties from Fort Sumpter, under Lieutenants Boylestori, Rbett and Kemper. Too much praise cannot be bestowed on their zeal and energy." And his name is frequently and honorably mentioned in connection with the heroic defense of that fort. He was promoted to a lieutenancy and served until the end of the war.

Moving to Alexandria, he began the practice of the law, but did not lose his interest in education. He was appointed superintendent of the schools of that city, after serving twice as mayor, and brought to the discharge of the duties of both offices the highest zeal, the most inflexible fidelity, and the power of an intellect well trained by nurture and education. He served as superintendent for many years, only giving up the office when failing health demanded rest for the untiring, but overworked, faculties. He was beloved by all who knew him. He was as tender as a woman; as brave as a man should be; gentle, yet of unflinching courage, he died without an enemy as he lived without a blemish.

A consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, he served as an elder for many years, and exemplified the virtues of Christian manhood.

He was initiated in Alexandria-Washington Lodge, No. 22, March 11, 1875, and became a Master Mason May 27, 1875, and, passing through the Chapter to the Commandery, was soon called upon to fill the highest offices in each. He was Master of his historic Mother Lodge in 1888 and took a warm interest in everything that pertained to Freemasonry. In 1898 he was elected Grand Junior Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, and in due time elected to the Grand East. He served but one term, failing health causing him to decline a second nomination.

Those who saw him in the Grand East at the close of his term, recognized the fact that the close of a noble and useful life was not far away, but with brave and cheerful heart he faced the West, knowing in whom he believed, and ready for the inevitable end. God spared him for more years than we dared to hope, and he survived until January 26, 1910, dying at the residence of his son-in-law in Washington, D.C.

Resolved, That we will ever cherish the memory of this beloved brother; that a memorial page be dedicated to him, and that these resolutions be printed in our Proceedings and a copy forwarded to the family of the deceased under the seal of the Grand Lodge of Virginia.

(Proceedings, G.L.V. - 1910 - Pgs 58-60)