By Lindsay Starr Platt, Harker Heights Evening Star
Dr. Doris Kemp of Belton may have been born in 1927, and to many of us today that may seem quite awhile ago, but Doris is still very actively making sure the history of Bell County does not get lost or forgotten.
Kemp was born east of Temple and grew up there until she went ‘away’ to Belton on a scholarship to the then-all-girls college called Mary Hardin-Baylor College. After graduation, Kemp went on to Dallas, where she taught in the public schools until 1984, when she retired. Kemp then moved back to Belton to join her family, as they were now living there.
During the years of 1984 through 1989, Dr. Kemp also taught for the English Department at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor as she enjoyed semi-retirement.
Kemp has been the past president three times for the Robertson Colony-Salado College Foundation, Inc., which continues the work of developing the area surrounding the college ruins into a public park that promotes and preserves the history of Salado and Bell County.
“The future, of course, is important, and whatever we tell about the past must be true and be an accurate record of what has been accomplished in our time,” said Kemp. “We need more people involved in being passionate about our history.”
Kemp loves researching her ancestors and genealogy and trying to find more information on her family and Native American roots.
“I went to the Lena Armstrong Library in Belton to learn about my family. I have learned of my Native American linage from my family, and it sparked my interest in genealogy,” said Kemp. “I was able to find out so much about my family and when they came to Bell County, but still no record of my Native American heritage. That part of my linage goes back to a time when people did not talk about having bloodlines from other ethnic groups; it was hidden and kept that way.”
Another project spearheaded by Kemp during her ‘golden years’ was starting a chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. In 2002, Kemp started the chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas for Salado. Kemp had been a member for many years of the Belton chapter and felt the need to start a new chapter for Salado.
“She has forgotten more about Texas history than most will ever know,” said Stephanie Hood, Salado resident.
Kemp can be found today active in many aspects of Bell County. Kemp now spends her retirement volunteering with preservation efforts across Bell County. First Baptist Church in Belton has a ‘prayer room hotline’ for people all over the county to call in time of need for prayer, and Kemp is a regular volunteer for the prayer room, helping callers get through their struggles.
Kemp said she would like to give more time to the prayer room and would like to see it open longer through the day, as people still need prayers even after business has closed.
“I try to keep up with all facets of the community in Belton and Bell County, from sports to church life,” said Kemp.
“As of now, I help keep the exhibit active at the Central Texas Area Museum in Salado,” said Kemp. “I make sure the displays are available for the public to enjoy and help answer questions for visitors.”