Craig H. Roell

KEMPER CITY, TEXAS. Kemper City is just west of U.S. Highway 77 twelve miles from Victoria in southwestern Victoria County. The town is named for Capt. John Frederick Kemper, who developed the original site, Kemper's Bluff, as a trading post on the Guadalupe River, ten miles to the east near the site of present McFaddin. Kemper, a Kentucky native, served as second in command under William Parsons Miller, a colonel in the Texas army, whose volunteer force of eighty men was captured by the Mexicans upon its arrival at Copano in 1836. About 1838 Kemper, who married Miller's daughter Eliza, settled with a few other families on the Guadalupe River just above White's Ferry, a cart-road and stage-line crossing. Since the river above the site was barely navigable, Kemper's Bluff became the terminal point of steamship traffic on the Guadalupe and the shipping point for cotton and other products to inland communities via the wagon road. Soon White's Ferry and Kemper's Bluff offered Victoria considerable trade competition. In 1845, however, Kemper was killed by Karankawa Indians. By the 1850s people began moving away, some to the town's present site. At least one general store was still doing a good business at Kemper's Bluff in 1862, but post-Civil War railroad construction made river navigation impractical, and the focus of the town moved west to the new location. Kemper City received a post office in 1860 that operated until 1909. An eight-grade rural common school served the area until the 1970s. The population was estimated at sixteen from 1964 to 2000.

Roy Grimes, ed., 300 Years in Victoria County (Victoria, Texas: Victoria Advocate, 1968; rpt., Austin: Nortex, 1985). Victor Marion Rose, History of Victoria (Laredo, 1883; rpt., Victoria, Texas: Book Mart, 1961). Victoria Advocate, Progress Edition, March 10, 1963.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Craig H. Roell, "KEMPER CITY, TX," accessed February 22, 2020,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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