mathias kempf

Mathias Kempf

(Sep 25, 1828 - March 27, 1880)

Physician, Professor, Indiana Legislator and Author

Kundek Corner:
Ferdinand Distinguished Citizens


Dr. Mathias (Matthew) Kempf, a native of Offenberg, Baden, German (Baden is bordered on the South by Switzerland), was born September 25, 1828.  He came to the USA and located in Louisville, Kentucky, where he studied medicine. He was Professor of Surgery at Kentucky School of Surgery until 1857.


He relocated to Ferdinand following his service at the university, practicing until his death in 1880.  A very successful physician and surgeon, he traveled by horse and buggy in warm weather and horseback in the winter. Later, as he continued to reside in Ferdinand, he occupied the Chair of the Kentucky School of Surgery in Louisville.


He was also elected to the Indiana State Legislature in 1859.  As a member of Indiana General Assembly, he was active in having German books added to County Libraries wherever there were enough German settlers to warrant such an addition.


In 1859, he advocated a longer residence of foreigners before they were granted voting powers.


As an Author, he wrote a work of 10,000 verses, “The Wandering Cainidae” or “The Wandering Nomads” besides some professional literary contributions and small poems.


He was also an investor in a variety of businesses, one of which made paint from native materials found in the area around Ferdinand.

Dr. Mathias Kempf died 27 March 1880 and is buried in St. Ferdinand Cemetery.