Recorded instances of the migration of members of the Kemper clan from Germany show they started moving from Germany following a series of misfortunes of a political nature. The Reformation (Protestant movement) spread throughout Europe, causing the Catholic and Protestant faiths to become increasingly antagonistic, resulting in open warfare. The 30 Years War was fought mostly in Germany, but all the important nations of Europe took part. Before it ended, Germany was impoverished, thousands had been killed, industry had been practically destroyed, and Germany no longer had a united government. The war ended by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Germany was left desolate.
The Rhineland, bordering on the region where the early-day Kempers lived, was left devastated by the Palatine princes, a group of rulers who emerged from warring factions in the Palatinate section of Germany. The war parties moved about, stripping the land and its inhabitants of their provisions, supplies, shelter, and tools. By the nature of the name Kemper, is reasonable to assume that our ancestors were enlisted with the warring factions. The Kemper coat of arms, as shown in Vol. 3, page 99 of Compendium of American Genealogy-First Families of America, is a war-like shield with the legend "Die, Kemper," German for the "the warrior." "Die" is pronounced "dee."
The first that is known of the Kempers is that they were living about 1650 in the little German village of Musen, about 15 miles northeast of the city of Siegen, on the Sieg River, in the then principality of Nassau-Siegen, the present Prussian province of Westphalia. Siegen, Musen, and the surrounding territory belonged at that time to the House of Nassau, or the Nassau-Orange family. The Orange family still is the ruling monarchy in Holland. The Columbia Encyclopedia says of Siegen: "A city of 40,269 in 1939, and a population of 29, 922 1946. More than half the city was destroyed in World War II. Siegen lies in an iron—mining region and has iron foundries. Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish painter, was born here.
The neighborhood of Siegen, the center of the most noted iron production and manufacturing district in Germany, at Musen iron mines.
Musen, 15 miles northeast of the city of Siegen, is in the principality of Nassau. Siegen, the present Prussia, is in the Province of Westphalia.
About 1650, there was living in Musen one Johann Kemper and his wife, Anna, whose maiden name was Low. (Other forms of the name, Johann, are Johannes and Hans, or in English, John). (Johann & Anna are Roy & Winona's (7)Great Grandparents.)
The 1899 book said that knowledge of the Kemper family in Musen was obtained wholly from the records of the little Reformed Church in that village. The church with all its records was destroyed during the 30 Years’ War and now records begin with January 4, 1649.
The Compendium of American Genealogy identifies one Johann Kemper as "Colonel Johann von Kemper, here itary commander of Stahleak Castle, near Mannheim on the Rhine." No explanation is given of where this delightful piece of information comes from. It may be that Johann von Kemper was an ancestor of the Johann Kemper of Musen, which is about 200 miles downriver from Mannheim on the Rhine, and about 60 miles east of the Rhine.