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William Harrison Kemper, U.S.V.
Doctor William Harrison Kemper, U.S.V.
Doctor William Harrison Kemper was born in Rush County, Indiana, on the
16th day of December, 1839. His parents, Arthur S. and Patience (Bryant)
Kemper, were natives of Garrard County, Kentucky, and were of German
descent. The early life of their son was not unlike that of the majority
of farmers' boys. His father died in 1849, and, at the age of ten years,
he began the battle of life for himself. The next seven years his time was
employed in working on his mother's farm during the summer and attending
the district school during the winter. In 1856 he removed to Montezuma,
Iowa, and spent a year as a clerk in a dry-goods store. An opportunity
presenting, he accepted employment in a printing office, where he worked
for two years more. The opportunities for acquiring knowledge in the
printing-office, which he eagerly embraced, stimulated a desire for more,
and, early in the winter of 1859, he removed to Greensburg, Indiana, and
entered the City Seminary. Here his studies were industriously pursued
until January, 1861. A desire for the study of medicine had been cherished
for some time, and at the age of twenty-one years he entered upon the
study of this profession in the office of John W. Moodey, M.D.
Shortly before the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, Doctor Kemper
began the study of medicine. On April 18, 1861, after the fall of Fort
Sumter, he enlisted in the service, being the forty-seventh person to
volunteer in Decatur County, Indiana, where he then resided. That company
became Company B, Seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteers (three months'
service). The regiment left Indianapolis under the command of its colonel,
afterwards General, Ebenezer Dumont, on the 29th of May, for Western
Virginia, and participated in the campaign under General McClellan. He was
present with his regiment, serving as a private soldier, in the following
engagements: Philippi, June 3, 1861; Laurel Hill, or Bealington,
skirmishes, July 7 to 11; and Carrick's Ford. July 13. The regiment was
mustered out of service August 2, 1861.
||On September 25, 1861, he
re-enlisted in the Seventeenth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, which
was then in the field. On jointing that regiment he was appointed
hospital steward, and served in that capacity until February 20,
1863, when he was promoted to assistant surgeon of the same
regiment, filling that position until the expiration of term of
enlistment, July 27, 1864 With this regiment he participated in the
following engagements: Hoover's Gap, June 24, 1863; Chattanooga,
September 8; Ringgold, September 11; Rock Spring, September 12;
Chickamauga, September tg and 20; Thomson Cove, October 3;
Murfreesborough Road, October 4; Shelbyville Pike, near Farmington,
October 7; Missionary Ridge, November 24 and 25; Cleveland, November
27; siege of Knoxville, December 3 and 4; Charleston, December 28;
Dallas, May 24, 1864; Big Shanty, June 9; Noonday Creek, June 20;
Kenesaw Mountain, June 27; and battles before Atlanta up to July 27,
In April, 1863, the Seventeenth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, which up
to this date was an infantry regiment, was mounted in connection with
three other regiments, and armed with the Spencer repeating rifle. This
brigade was well known throughout the Army of the Cumberland as Wilder's
Brigade of Mounted Infantry.
During the winter of 1864-65 he attended a course of medical lectures at
the University of Michigan, and in the spring following a second course at
the Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, New York, where he graduated
in June, 1865. The same year he located in Muncie, Indiana, where he has
since resided and been engaged in the general practice of his profession.
Doctor Kemper was coroner of Delaware County, Indiana, from 1870 to 1875.
He has been an examining surgeon for pensioners since May, 1872, to the
present time, except for a period of two years, when removed for political
reasons. He was treasurer of the Indiana State Medical Society from 1879
to 1885, and in 1886 elected its president, and presided at the session of
1887. He has contributed more than fifty articles on medical and surgical
subjects to various medical societies and journals.
Doctor Kemper is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and also the
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, being a charter
member of the Indiana Commandery, insignia No. 4648. In politics he is a
Republican, and in religious belief a Methodist.
On the 13th of August, 1865, he was united in marriage to Miss Harriet
Kemper, of Oskaloosa, Iowa. They are the parents of three
children,-Georgette Moodey, Arthur Thomson, and William Winton.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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