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The Kempe Family Connection


Arthur Kempe was Second Lieutenant on the Adventure during Cook’s Second Voyage, promoted to First Lieutenant at the Cape of Good Hope. Samuel Kempe was a midshipman on the same ship, who died at sea before they arrived at the Cape, having contracted a fever at one of the Cape Verde Islands. The ship’s records make no mention of any relationship between them.

Cliff Thornton recently sent me a transcription of their wills that prompted me to see if there was a connection between them. Samuel’s will makes no mention of his family other than an uncle, "the Reverend William Bedford", though it was witnessed by Arthur Kempe and Captain Furneaux.

I think I have cracked the Kempe family history, which is outlined below. Can anyone confirm it?

John Robson

Arthur Kempe married Honora Huddye and had three children (at least):

  1. Nicholas (see below).
  2. Charles (see below).
  3. Arthur (who died unmarried).

1. Nicholas Kempe married Dorothy (nee Borlase)
(This Nicholas was Sheriff of Cornwall in 1761 and lived at Rosteague, Cornwall just south of Gerrans on the Roseland peninsula.)

They had a son Samuel Kempe who married Jane (nee Geak). Samuel and Jane had seven children: Samuel (who sailed on the Adventure).
Nicholas (born 1757 – another sailor - he died unmarried in Bridgend Wales in 1829).
John – married Elizabeth Dunbar.
Honora – married John Stevens.
William – married Sarah Lyne.

2. Charles Kempe (born 1705, died 1765) married 1728 Ann Kempe (she was a cousin, and daughter of John Kempe and Grace Trevanion)

They lived at Veryan, Cornwall. They had eight children. Hannah b1730
Mary b 1732
Ursula (1) b1733 d 1736
John b 1734 married Letitia Coryton.
Ursula (2) b 1736
Charles b 1738 married Catherine Hocking.
James b 1741 married Mary Warwick
Arthur b 1743 (sailed on the Adventure, rose to be an Admiral, died 1823) married Anne Coryton.
Nicholas b 1747.

Rosteague and Veryan are both in the county of Cornwall and are, at most, six kilometres apart.

So our Samuel Kempe and Arthur Kempe were second cousins, Samuel’s father Samuel and Arthur being first cousins.

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 19, volume 27, number 1 (2004).

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The marriage of Samuel Kempe in the parish register of St Issey gives his wife's name as Jennifer Gaeke (BT Gacke) at their marriage 16th June 1753.
By Roger Perry on 10/30/2021 8:25:02 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Arthur and Sara - it is really good to know that there are descendants of Arthur Kempe alive, like yourselves. Have any artefacts from the voyage survived in the family?
By Cliff Thornton on 4/14/2014 8:28:05 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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My direct line ancestors are 10 generations of the Kempe family, I think this is the wrong generation according to my family tree (Ann Kempe & Charles kempe) my 7th great granparents. It does get confusing however, especially when there are offspring of the same name. I have all the direct line family tree back to 1571 and much further. I will have a more in depth look at this particular part though.
By Sara Holmes on 4/6/2014 11:40:36 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Thanks for your work on Arthur Kempe, it has been a while since I visited this site as I haven't looked at this family in quite a while. Arthur was the 5th great grandfather of my children. I have been given Arthur's tree back to about 1571, you have inspired me to try and verify it some more. :)
Arthur Kempe
By Lyn Nunn on 4/6/2013 11:46:01 PM Like:0 DisLike:2

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