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Col. M. C. Kemsey
Born April 8, 1832
COL. M. C. KEMSEY, wholesale and retail dealer in millinery and notions, Main street, Anamosa; is a native of Ireland, and was born April 8, 1832; when 15 years of age (in 1847), he emigrated to America; when 18 years of age, he was foreman of a large tannery at Montrose, Penn. He was brought up a Roman Catholic and was educated and intended for the priesthood; while living in Montrose, Penn., he experienced religion and became converted in 1851; he entered Madison University, at Hamilton, N.Y., and remained there eight years; after completing a full college and theological course of study, he became Pastor. of a Baptist Church in Jersey City; upon the breaking-out of the rebellion, he was Pastor of a Baptist Church in Brooklyn; after the battle of Bull Run, he aided in recruiting and organizing the 176th N.Y.V.I., and was commissioned Captain of Co. A.; he went with Gen. Banks' expedition to New Orleans; in 1863, he was promoted and commissioned Colonel, and organized the colored troops at New Orleans. After the war, he had charge of the educational interests of the freedmen; in 1865, he went to Alabama, with two other Union officers, and purchased a plantation, and he was the first to introduce free labor and free schools in Alabama; he was driven out of that State, and his property burnt and destroyed; in 1866, he came to Iowa and located at Independeuce, and remained there until 1868, when he came to Anamosa as Pastor of the Baptist Church here; after a successful ministry of two years, he went to Monticello; from there, he went to Illinois, and was Pastor of the Baptist Church at Batavia; in 1872, he became broken down in health, resulting from catarrh contracted in the army; he was then appointed Secretary of the Challenge Mill Co., at Batavia; he was afterward appointed General Agent of the Continental Life Insurance Co., for Western Iowa and Nebraska; declining this appointment, he came to Anamosa, and, since then, has been successfully engaged in business here. In 1867, he was united in marriage to Mrs. Mabel Gillette, formerly Miss Mabel Young, from Buchanan Co., Iowa; they have had one daughter, Lena, who died when 6 years of age.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 561.


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