KERR, Daniel 1836-1916
Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 9/28/2016 at 11:23:29
Taps Sound For Daniel Kerr, An Old Soldier
Old Settler and Distinguished Citizen of Grundy Center Passed Away Sunday
Was First Mayor Of The Town
Funeral Service Was Held from the Home of His Daughter on Tuesday Afternoon
Taps sounded Sunday morning at ten o'clock for Daniel Kerr, an old soldier and one of Grundy Center's most distinguished citizens--a man who has been largely associated with the early development and growth of the community. Mr. Kerr's health has been failing for the past year, and especially since the death of Mrs. Kerr in November last, so the end which came Sunday was not unexpected and his immediate family and friends were prepared for the closing of Mr. Kerr's life.
Mr. Kerr was a man of many activities and he left a marked influence upon his community. His was a full life, with many activities which cannot be recorded in an obituary. In the obituary which follows are noted many of the activities in which he engaged, but his best tributes are to be found in the lives of those with whom he mingled and touched.
The funeral service was held from the home of his daughter, Mrs. J. E. Simms, on Tuesday afternoon, and was attended by many old friends and neighbors. Rev. L. P. Krome of the First Presbyterian church, his pastor, paid the final tribute in the funeral service. Rev. Dilman Smith, of the First Methodist church, offered the prayer. Music was furnished by a male quartet composed of C. C. O'Connor, H. A. Willoughby, Jas. J. Dalgliesh and Raymond Taft. The remains were laid to rest in the cemetery west of town beside those of Mrs. Kerr.
Daniel Kerr was born at Ayrshire, Scotland, June 18th, 1836. With his parents he came to America in 1841 and located in Madison county, Ill. In youth he was a great student and in 1858 he graduated from College. In 1859 and 1860 he was a teacher in the high school of Edwardsville, Ill. He studied law at McKendree college and read law with Governor Augustus C. French. He was admitted to the bar in 1862.
In 1862 he enlisted as a private in Company G, One Hundred and Seventeenth, Ill. Infantry, and served until the close of the Civil War and was mustered out with the rank of First Lieutenant. He then returned to Illinois to practice his profession. In 1864 he came home from the army on a furlough and married Clara T. Estabrook. To this union were born seven children all of whom are living except John E., known as "Brooks" who died in 1895. Mrs. Kerr passed away on the 18th of last November after they had enjoyed a pleasant companionship of over half a century.
In 1868 he was elected to the Illinois legislature where he in his young manhood soon demonstrated his powers. In 1870 he moved with his family to Grundy Center, Iowa. Here in Grundy county he spent the greater part of his active life. In the many contests of early pioneer days his influence was an important factor and it was a part of his nature to make that influence felt. In any struggle in which progress was involved he could be found on the firing line.
Soon after coming to Iowa he entered the field as proprietor and editor of the New Century and later from 1883 to 1888 he owned the Grundy Center Argus. In 1877 he was elected as the first mayor of Grundy Center which indicates that the strenuous part he had taken in the growth of the community had been appreciated. In 1882 he took an active interest in the effort to carry Iowa for prohibition and it won by thirty thousand majority.
In 1883 Mr. Kerr was elected a member of the Legislature of Iowa and he at once took a position of leadership. As he had always been an advocate of temperance and prohibition he became a power in that body and is one of the 52 who voted for prohibition in 1884. He was presidential elector on Blaine and Logan ticket in 1884.
In 1886 he was nominated by the republicans of the Fifth District for Congress and elected by a good majority and in 1888 he was re-elected by an increased majority. In Congress he was recognized as a speaker and debater of great strength and was trusted as a man of honor and integrity. Among his associates were Wm. McKinley and Thos. B. Reed.
Mr. Kerr declined to run for a third term and since that time has never held public office, but he has never ceased in his interest and devotion to policies that would in his judgement tend to the public good. He was a powerful champion of what he believed to be right. He hated sham and shoddy. He was a man of courage and outspoken in his convictions.
The clean, wholesome, upright things in life appealed to one of his nature.
He was a generous man and never resorted to mean and little things. He was a better friend to others than he was to himself and a man in need was never turned from his door. He contributed largely of his means to the up-building of the community in which he lived.
He was a Christian and believed that the Golden Rule that "What so ever ye would that men should do unto you do ye even so to them" was correct in practice as well as in theory. He passed from this life at 10 o'clock on the morning of the Sabbath Day, October 8th, 1916, at the ripe age of over eighty years, with his children standing in sorrow at his bedside.
Daniel Kerr as a strong and vigorous exponent of the truth has gone to his reward.
His surviving children are Mrs. H. S. Rogers of Azusa, Calif.; Mrs. D. C. Shuler of Parkersburg, Iowa; George H. Kerr, of Des Moines, Iowa; and Wm. G. Kerr, Lillian E. Simms and Edward C. Kerr, of Grundy Center, Iowa.
--The Grundy Republican (Grundy Center, Iowa), 12 October 1916, pg 1
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