On June 12, 1901, at the home of the bride’s parents in Mokane, Missouri, Miss Martha B. Horner married William Riley Rogers.
Mattie and Riley Rogers settled in a little log cabin home west of Mokane and raised a family of ten children, three sons and seven daughters. Just down the road, Thomas Henry Kemp and Dora Burch Kemp farmed with the help of four sons and two daughters.
The Kemp family and the Rogers family were good neighbors and good friends. Otis, the oldest Kemp son, married Nora, the oldest Rogers daughter, on March 26, 1920. Five years later Floyd Kemp married Nellie Rogers.
When Alfred Kemp came to ask for the hand of red-headed Bessie Rogers, her father asked “Don’t you think you boys are carrying this a little too far?” Alfred answered. “No, Sir. Not at all.”
The two families were merged forever, sharing twenty-four grandchildren. All of those grandchildren are past 60 now, and have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of their own. That’s why our family reunion always has two names Kemp AND Rogers.
Of course, not every family marriage was between Kemp and Rogers.
One Kemp son, Marvin, broke the pattern by marrying Birdie Branch, a daughter from another neighbor. Mabel Rogers “branched off” by marrying Birdie’s cousin, Earl Branch.
Mattie Kemp married Monroe Whyte, and her sister, Nannie, married Tommy Cave. Emma Rogers married Jesse Perry. Mildred Rogers married Ray Kirk. Harry Rogers married Marie Scott. My mother, Myrtle Rogers, married James Paul.
When we all get together on July 12, the Kemp Rogers Reunion will include cousins who have dozens, maybe hundreds, of different last names. But we all trace back to Tom and Dora, or Mattie and Riley.