Reuben Kemper, an American soldier, born in Fauquier co., Va., died in Natchez, Miss., in 1826. He was the son of a Baptist preacher, who emigrated with his family to Ohio in 1800. Reuben subsequently removed with two of his brothers to the territory of Mississippi, where they engaged in land surveying. They were the leaders in the movement to rid West Florida of its Spanish rule, and got up an expedition to Baton Rouge in 1808 from the adjacent counties of Mississippi, which failed. The Spanish authorities caused the Kempers to be kidnapped, but they were rescued by the commander of the American fort at Pointe Coupee. The Kempers pursued with great ferocity all who were engaged in this wrong upon them, inflicting severe personal chastisement and mutilation upon the parties. After these occurrences Reuben Kemper devoted himself to the task of driving the Spaniards from the American continent. He was engaged in an attempt to capture Mobile, which failed; and on the fitting out of the formidable expedition of Gutierrez and Toledo, in 1812, against the Spanish authority in Mexico, he was assigned the rank of major, and afterward chosen colonel of the force, 500 or 600 in number, which cooperated with the Mexican insurgents.
The expedition advanced into Texas, fought several battles, in which Kemper and his Americans performed feats of valor, and won brilliant victories. Dissensions followed between the Mexicans and Americans, and the Spaniards taking advantage of them put the republicans to rout. The Americans, disgusted with their allies, then returned home. Kemper was engaged under Jackson in the defence of New Orleans, was detached for important and perilous duty, and added greatly to his reputation by his activity and efficiency. At the conclusion of the war he settled in Mississippi.