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Kempsville was once an incorporated town. Prior to that, it was known as Kemps Landing, taking its name from a local storekepper. The creek, part of the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River, was once a deep water landing, and goods for Mr. Kemp's store, as well as bricks and lumber, were unloaded there. It was also a shipping point for grain and other produce from surrounding areas. It is believed that the first skirmish of the American Revolution in Virginia was fought in Kempsville. 

The old Episcopal Rectory was an example (reputedly one of the oldest in the area) of story-and -a half architecture, style developed to avoid paying the taxes levied on a two-story structure. Pleasant Hall, built in 1797, is one of the area's outstanding homes.

Kempsville became the county seat of Princess Anne County about 1775. The Court House was later used as a Baptist church. In the old part of the village there are two churches, Emmanuel Episcopal, which was once a part of the Old Donation Parish, and Kempsville Baptist church, organized in 1814 and now in its third building.

The first school on record in Kempsville was the Dickson Free School, built in 1794. In 1835, there was a Kempsville Academy (or Male and Female Seminary) which exsisted until the Civil War.

This information was taken from the Kempsville Directory