kemper house


(Madison,VA 22727)
arcade building











Madison County Historical Society
Madison County Virginia (VA)

upcoming events


We are looking for old photos of life in Madison County. We will scan them and return them to you while you wait. Please call 540-395-5119 for more information or to make an appointment.



Our speaker at the November 19, 2017 Madison County Historical Society quarterly meeting will be Jim Lillard, a lifelong resident of Madison county.  The topic of his presentation will be Mountain Memories II, an updated reprise of his earlier presentation about the families who lived in our local mountains before they became a portion of the Shenandoah National Park.  The presentation will include original family photos as well as photos from the Library of Congress of family homes and farms.  Included also will be film clips from 1926 of mail by horseback and the Hoover School with Mrs. Hoover talking to the children.

We have had many presentations on what was in many ways a sad history behind the creation of the Park, the government having used eminent domain to remove a few thousand people from their land for its creation.  Jim Lillard, whose family was displaced from the Blue Ridge Mountains, will present a lighter side to the story with his usual interesting and humorous talk about the family life and work ethic of those folks before the creation of the Shenandoah National Park.

This is a story which even today remains deeply embedded in Madison county and surrounding counties involved in the creation of the Park.  Madison county was the first to construct a memorial dedicated to those individuals displaced by its creation and Jim Lillard was the principle in its approval and ultimate construction on the grounds of the former Criglersville School.  Known as the Blue Ridge Heritage Project other counties have constructed or planned construction of similar memorials.

Jim is retired from the Virginia Department of Transportation as a Bridge Safety Engineer, a twenty-year member of the Sons of the American Revolution, a forty plus year collector and hunter of Civil War relics and a more than twenty year member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The meeting will be held in the Madison County Administrative Offices auditorium at 3pm Sunday November 19th.  Everyone is invited to attend, and refreshments will follow next door in the Kemper Residence and Museum.

Kemper Descendents Welcomed to Fall Tea

The September luncheon tea was a special occasion for several reasons.  We began by celebrating the 15th anniversary of these events that bring together friends from the community to support the Historical Society.  As planning proceeded, it developed into an opportunity to welcome Kemper family descendants to the home once lived in by Virginia Governor James Lawson Kemper.

Tables filled the main floor of the Residence as we served guests in the parlor, sunroom and meeting room.  Special touches were all around and we offered a toast to guests who generously support these events by attending the teas held in the spring and fall.  Many of the guests were regulars, and several asked the date of the spring tea as we said goodbye on the porch.  These supporters are what make the teas a major source of financial support for the Society.

John Lynch paid his first visit to the home of his great-great grandfather, James Lawson Kemper.  After living in many parts of the country and the world with his military parents, he and his wife have settled in Williamsburg.  In an effort to learn more about his ancestors, they joined the Historical Society.  After returning home from their visit, he wrote that he was deeply touched by some of the artifacts in the museum and by just being in his ancestor’s home.

Agnes Kemper Hoyt read about the tea in the newsletter and made arrangements to attend from her home in Richmond.  She is descended from John Kemper, who immigrated in 1714 as part of the original Germanna Colony.

A third descendant, Margie Kemper Farber had planned to come from her home in Florida, but Hurricane Irma damaged her home and she needed to stay close to attend to some repair work. She hopes to join us for the spring tea.

It was a genuine pleasure to have contact with these Kemper family members, and to welcome them into the home of James Lawson and Belle Cave Kemper.

The volunteers that prepare and donate all the food, set the tables with beautiful antique china that has been donated to the Society, serve the food and pour tea and then wash all the dishes and put them away, have earned huge thanks from the Society Board of Directors.  Their appreciation goes to Katy Cashman, Pat and Chris Lattin, Maryvonne Longley, Heidi Sage, Bill Scholten, Jill Schreiner, Bob and Mary Haught.

For those who like to plan ahead, the spring tea will be held on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.  You’ll hear more about it closer to the time.