10 Aug 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885 Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Becky Jones
William W. Kempster, farmer, residing on section 34, Portland Township, and owning 461 acres on sections 27, 33, 34 and 35, is a son of John and Lydia (Hall) Kempster. She was born Dec. 24, 1794. His father was a native of Berkshire, England, in which country he was born March 5, 1794. He emigrated to the United Sates in 1819, and located in Oneida Co., N.Y., where he married Miss Lydia Hall, a native of that county. The issue of their union was five children, one of whom died in infancy. The record of those living is as follows: John H., Ephraim H. and William W., farmers in Portland Township (see respective biographical sketches in this work); and Julia A. is the wife of George W. Rowe, a farmer in Phoenix Township, Henry County, this State. The family came West in 1837, and in August of that year the father purchased a claim, of J.H. Avery, on section34. This claim consisted of 240 acres, and when the land came into market he purchased it from the Government. He located upon it with his family, Aug. 25, 1837, erected a log hut (the palatial residence of those days) and made the house his residence for about 15 years. His health failing, he divided his land between his three sons, and lived with his son J.H., until his death, which event occurred Jan. 1, 1869. He was born March 5, 1794, and coming to this county in 1837, when its natural condition had not been disturbed by the hand of man, he experienced, with his family, all the trials and deprivations incident to an early settlement. His wife died April 1, 1843, and the kind parents are remembered by the four surviving children as loving father and mother, and by many citizens as energetic and respected pioneers of Whiteside County.
William W Kempster was born in Oneida County, N.Y., June 7, 1832. He was reared on a farm in this county, receiving the advantages of the common schools. In 1837 he was brought by his parents to this county, and consequently has passed the greater portion of his life here, and is truly a pioneer of the county. He remained on the home farm until his father divided the land between his brothers and himself, when he removed on the portion he received, and has since continued to reside on the same. By good judgment, hard labor and energetic effort, Mr. Kempster has added to his original inheritance until he is at the present time the possessor of 461 acres of land. He keeps on his farm usually from 30 to 60 head of cattle, including a number of high-grade Short-horns, 30 to 40 horses, including 10 brood mares, and raises annually from 75 to 100 head of hogs.
In the winter of 1855-6 two of the brothers, William W. and Ephraim H., and Jacob F. Butzer, concluded to erect a saw-mill on the homestead farm; and as a proof of the energy and push they possess, we mention the fact that within 30 days from the origination of the thought the mill was erected and running. After running the mill one season Mr. Butzer sold his interest to another brother, J.H., and it was run by the three brothers. In a few years they added turning lathes. They manufactured all kinds of wooden material for household furniture, which they shipped mostly to Davenport, Iowa. They continued to run the mill, meeting with success for a number of years, and occasionally run it now, and sometimes rent it. Mr. Kempster was united in marriage in Sterling, this county, Oct 31, 1855, to Miss Margaret Hahn. She was the daughter of John and Caroline Hahn, natives of Germany and in which country she was born, Aug 21, 1838. Mr. and Mrs. Kempster have had 10 children, six of whom died in infancy. The record of the surviving four is as follows: Flora was born May 12, 1857, and is the wife of Nathan M. Crook, a farmer in Henry County, this State. They have two children, Roy and Birdie; Wallace was born April 30, 1868; Perry W. was born Dec. 5, 1869; and Myrtle, Aug 8, 1874. The three last-named reside at home. Mr. Kempster has held the position of School Director for 25 years, and is one of the progressive farmers of the county.