Richard  Kempe

Richard Kempe (1600 - aft. 1649)

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Richard Kempe aka Kemp
Born in of Gissing, Norfolk, England, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married (to ) in Virginiamap
Father of
Died after in Rich Neck Plantation, James City County, Virginia Colonymap
Kempe-66 created 26 May 2013 | Last modified
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Categories: Magna Carta | Albini-39 Descendants | Clare-673 Descendants | Clare-651 Descendants | Lacy-284 Descendants | Quincy-226 Descendants | Ros-162 Descendants | Gateway Ancestors | Virginia Slave Owners | England, Kemp Name Study | Colonial governors of Virginia | US Southern Colonist | Estimated Birth Date.

Magna Carta Gateway Ancestor
Richard Kempe is a descendant of Magna Carta surety barons
William d'Aubigné, Richard de Clare, Gilbert de Clare, John de Lacy, Saher de Quincy, and Robert de Ros.

US Southern Colonies.
Richard Kempe settled in the Southern Colonies in North America prior to incorporation into the USA.
Join: US Southern Colonies Project
Discuss: southern_colonies
The Birth Date is a rough estimate. See the text for details.



Richard Kempe also spelled Kemp[1]

Born c. 1600 at Gissing, Norfolk, England
Parents: Robert Kempe and Dorothy Harris
Immigrated: Virginia in 1634
Marriage: Elizabeth Wormeley


Richard was born c. 1600 at Gissing, Norfolk, England.[1] He was the third of seven sons of Robert Kempe and Dorothy Harris.[1]

The birth date is a guess, based on other known dates.


Richard may have married twice. He may have married in England to an unknown wife; if so, there were no surviving children, and she died before he immigrated to Virginia.[1] We know that Richard married to Elizabeth Wormeley, daughter of Christopher Wormeley.[1] She married, as her 2nd, on October 24, 1650, to Sir Thomas Lunsford, and as her 3rd, to [Major-Gen.] Robert Smith.[2]

Child of Richard and Elizabeth:[1]

  1. Elizabeth Kempe

NOTE: Douglas Richardson says Richard Kempe's wife Elizabeth's last name at birth is unknown. He lists her second marriage to Thomas Lunsford, and a third marriage to [Major-Gen.] Robert Smith of Middlesex county, Virginia.[2]

Positions and Property

Richard was made the first Secretary of the Colony of Virginia in 1634.[1] He also served as Acting Governor for the Colony of Virginia in 1644-1645, when Governor Berkeley made a trip to England.[1] On April 6, 1638, Richard Kemp, as secretary of Virginia, wrote an important letter to Secretary of State Windebank, recounting the proceedings of the Assembly (reprinted in the Journals of the House of Burgesses ...).[3] This letter was written during the session which began in February 1637/38, a most tumultuous time in Virginia.

On 1 August 1638, Richard Kemp, Esq. received an interesting patent, 10 pole by 8 pole, on the waterfront of "James Citty," between the land of Mr. Thomas Hill and the land of Richard Tree. This patent was issued by Act of the Assembly on 20 February 1636, in return for a yearly "rent" of one capon at the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle.[4] On the same date, Mr. Thomas Hill was issued the adjoining waterfront property, 6 pole by 8 pole, also by Act of the Assembly.

In 1636, Richard acquired "Rich Neck" Plantation from George Menefie, who had been one of those opposing Governor John Harvey.[5] Menefie had patented the 1200 acre property on July 2, 1635, bounded on the west by a branch of Archer's Hope Creek.[5] At the time, Richard and Elizabeth lived in the all-brick house he had built at Jamestown, the first in Virginia.[5] When Richard returned from England in 1642, he made his home at Rich Neck. The brick house he built there is described as "surprisingly similar" to the one in Jamestown.[5]

Rich Neck Plantation was located near the James River, and was accessible by College Creek during its years as a colonial plantation. This was in the historic Middle Plantation (now Williamsburg), Virginia, in James City Shire (later James City County).[5] The site was discovered in 1988, and has since been explored by archaeologists. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has published an interesting description of the property.

According to the Encyclopedia Virginia, Richard Kempe was one of the first plantation owners to use an enslaved workforce.[1] He was credited with almost one hundred headrights for importation of laborers to Virginia, thirty of which were Africans.[5]

On 4 March 1638, "Richard Kemp, Esqr." received a patent for 850 acres for the transportation of himself and sixteen others, eleven of which were "Negroes."[4] This property adjoined Rich Neck on the north-northwest side, at the horse path, and continued to a branch of the "Powhetan."[4]

Death and Legacy

On January 4, 1649, Richard wrote his will.[1] He left Rich Neck to his wife and instructed her to sell it and return to England. He also wished to be buried in the orchard on their plantation. Elizabeth carried out his second wish, but not the first. She married, as her second husband, to Thomas Lunsford (who also became Secretary for Virginia Colony). Lunsford's tomb stone contains an inscription which affirms that the orchard was the burial site for both men:

... and near this place lye the Bodies of RICHARD KEMP, esqr, his Predecessor in ye Secretarys Office and Sr THOMAS LUNSFORD KT ...[5]

Richard's death date is not known, but Elizabeth remarried on October 24, 1650.[1] The other date sometimes used is December 6, 1656, the date his will was delivered to authorities in England.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Muraca, D., "Richard Kemp (ca. 1600–ca. 1650)." (2012, January 18). In Encyclopedia Virginia, Web accessed September 9, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Richardson, Douglas, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 Vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham, (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2013), volume III, page 414ii.
  3. Virginia. General Assembly. House of Burgesses; McIlwaine, H. R. (Henry Read), Journals of the House of Burgesses of VA, 1659/60-1963. (Vol 1 1619-1658/1659, Pages xl, 126-27) Richmond, VA: [Library Board, Virginia State Library] accessed October 8, 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Nugent, Nell M., Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1800. (Book No. 1, Part 2, Pages 94, 104) [1st ed.] Richmond: Dietz Print Co., 1934, accessed October 8, 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Muraca, David, et al., "The Archaeology of Rich Neck Plantation (44WB52): Description of the Features." (Pages 1, 8, 12, 15-47) Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series - 0386, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, Williamsburg, VA: 2003, accessed October 8, 2015

See also:

  • Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth-Century Colonists, [database on-line] Provo, UT, USA: Operations 2006. Original Data: by Faris, David, (1996) Baltimore, MD:: Genealogical Publishing Company.

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No known carriers of Richard's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 3
Richard Kemp Will pg 1
Richard Kemp Will pg 1

Richard Kemp Will pg 2
Richard Kemp Will pg 2

Richard Kemp Will pg 3
Richard Kemp Will pg 3


On 5 Jun 2015 at 01:10 GMT Greg Hays wrote:

Category: Slave-owner: Virginia is listed under misnamed categories. Shouldn't it be Category: Virginia Slave Owners instead?

Richard is 14 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 16 degrees from Joseph Broussard, 20 degrees from Helmut Jungschaffer and 15 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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