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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Port Republic in Rockingham County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Frank Kemper House

Thriving river community was transportation hub

 
 
The Frank Kemper House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, October 20, 2007
1. The Frank Kemper House Marker
Inscription. When Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood’s 1716 expedition first laid claim to the Shenandoah Valley, the area had already been used for centuries by Native Americans. The town of port Republic was laid off into lots and chartered by an 1802 act of the Virginia Assembly. John Cathrae, Jr., son of a colonial landowner here, platted the village whose layout has changed little in the ensuing years.

By 1832, Port Republic had become a thriving industrial town and shipping port. The millraces supported a foundry, a tannery, grist mills, a woolen mill, sawmills/a cooper, a tilt-hammer shop, a tinner, boot and shoe factories, weavers, a saddler, a cabinet maker, a turner, a chairmaker, blacksmiths, stores, and other small industries and artisans.

The village’s location where two tributary rivers converge to form the Shenandoah made it a transportation hub. As a result, the seven roads leading into Port were used to bring goods from farms, forests, and mines. One hundred yards south of here, raw products and manufactured goods were loaded onto flat-bottomed boats and transported north.

This, the home of Benjamin Franklin Kemper and his wife, Eliza Holbrook, was built in the 1830s. Here Kemper kept the account books for the mill across the street and operated an inn and tavern for boatmen. On June 6, 1862, Confederate general
The Frank Kemper House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 27, 2009
2. The Frank Kemper House Marker
Turner Ashby was killed in a skirmish on the outskirts of Harrisonburg. Grieving comrades carried his body to this house where ladies of the village prepared it for burial. Townspeople and soldiers filed by a window to view the body of Ashby, the gallant cavalry officer known as the Knight of the Confederacy. General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who was headquartered in the village, entered the room to pay his respects. Since 1993, the house has been owned by the Society of Port Republic Preservationists and is used as the Port Republic Museum.
 
Erected by Society of Port Republic Preservationists Inc., in cooperation with the Shenandoah Valley National Battlefields Historic District Commission. Installation by the Port Republic Ruritan Club.
 
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 38° 17.74′ N, 78° 48.65′ W. Marker was in Port Republic, Virginia, in Rockingham County. Marker was on Water Street, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker was in this post office area: Port Republic VA 24471, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. The Point (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); North River Bridge (about 500 feet away);
The Frank Kemper House image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, May 6, 2007
3. The Frank Kemper House
Now the Port Republic Museum
Palmer Lot at Middle Ford (approx. 0.2 miles away); Port Republic Foundry (approx. half a mile away); Madison Hall (approx. half a mile away); Port Republic Battlefield (approx. 1.5 miles away but has been reported missing); a different marker also named Port Republic Battlefield (approx. 2.4 miles away); Port Republic (approx. 2.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Port Republic.
 
More about this marker. On the right side of the marker is a section From An Atlas of Rockingham County, Va. D.J. Lake & Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. A marker at Chestnut Ridge, where General Ashby was killed leading a bayonet charge.
 
Also see . . .  History of the Frank Kemper Home (Port Republic Museum). The Society of Port Republic Preservationists, Inc. (Submitted on February 18, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. AgricultureAntebellum South, USColonial EraHeroesNative AmericansSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil
 
The Frank Kemper House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 27, 2009
4. The Frank Kemper House Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,913 times since then and 192 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.   3. submitted on , by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on , by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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