San Jacinto Museum of History

The Kemp Biographical Sketches

These biographical sketches are the product of a life-long devotion to Texas history by Louis Wiltz Kemp. In compiling them, he referenced many sources, including boundary and donation certificates, comptrollers military service records, headright certificates, county deed and probate records, and oral compilations by descendants of veterans.

With assistance from the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, and from volunteers from the San Jacinto State Historic Site’s Residential Volunteer program, we are pleased to make the Kemp Sketches for the veterans present at the Battle of San Jacinto available online. They are included to make valuable information in the Museum’s collection available to researchers in an accessible format.

Kemp organized his biographical sketches into two groups: those who actually fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, and those who were with the baggage and the sick camped at Harrisburg.

Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. Also, they have been scanned from the original manuscripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the veracity of the texts’ contents through other sources before quoting in publications.

The views presented therein do not necessarily reflect those of the San Jacinto Museum of History.

Since Kemp’s death, supplemental research has found that a small number of additional names belong on the list of veterans; information on these veterans has been included in the veteran biographies. A second set of these sketches is in the Kemp Papers at the Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

About Louis Kemp

Born in Cameron, Texas, Louis Wiltz Kemp (1881–1956) was a historian and retired Texaco employee who dedicated his life to studying Texas history. He was most proud of two accomplishments:

Playing a key role in marking hundreds of historical locations and honoring early Texans for the Texas Centennial Celebration; and relocating the remains of more than a hundred famous Texans to places of honor in the State Cemetery in Austin.

In addition, Kemp was a prime mover in the plan to construct the San Jacinto Monument, as well as a long-time trustee of the San Jacinto Museum of History.

He held memberships and offices in numerous other historic and patriotic organizations, including the State Library Commission, the Texas State Historical Association, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (honorary member), the American Legion, the Philosophical Society of Texas, and the Sons of the American Revolution.

Kemp authored or co-authored a number of books dealing with early Texas history, including The Heroes of San Jacinto, Texas Musketeers, The Battle of San Jacinto and the San Jacinto Campaign and The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

He modestly described himself as “a retired asphalt salesman who makes a hobby out of history.” In truth, Kemp was widely regarded as one of the best informed people on the subject of Texas history and one of those persons most responsible for preserving its heritage.

Among his many historical accomplishments are his compilation and composition of a complete biographical sketch of every known Texian soldier who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. These San Jacinto Veteran biographies are known as the Kemp Sketches.