William B. Kerr
KERR, JOHNSON, ROBB
Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/5/2001 at 07:39:26
From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890 County
WILLIAM B. KERR
William B. Kerr is engaged in carpentering in Bonaparte, Iowa, and is dong a good business in that line, which results from his efficiency and the prompt and faithful manner in which he keeps all contracts.
Mr. Kerr is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in Armstrong County, on December 20, 1813, was a son of Robert Kerr, a native of New York, and a grandson of William Kerr, who was born in Ireland, but in the eighteenth century left his native land, crossing the Atlantic to America. Our subject is therefore of Irish extraction. He acquired his education in the subscription schools of his native county common at that day, and at the age of seventeen years was apprenticed for a term of three and a half years to the trade of a carpenter and joiner, receiving $3 per month and board. However at the expiration of three years he had mastered the business and was released from the contract, after which he was employed by one of the firm at $2.50 per day. After following his chosen occupation for a number of years in the East, he determined to try his fortune beyond the Mississippi, and chose the Territory of Iowa as the scene of his future labors. He built a keel boat; loaded it with all his worldly possessions, attached the same to a raft, and in 1843 floated down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, to Louisville Kentucky, where he found that further progress was impossible on account of the river being blocked with ice. Deterred from his purpose of making the journey by water, he then sold his keel boat and boarded a steamer, on which he sailed to Nauvoo Illinois, where he spent the remainder of the winter. The following spring he carried out his original idea of coming to Iowa, and made a location in Bonaparte, where he has since continued to reside. A carpenter by trade and an expert workman, his services were in constant demand, for emigrants at that time were pouring rapidly into the county, and he was called upon to erect many homes for the early settlers.
Mr. Kerr has been twice married. Ere leaving the state of his nativity he was joined in wedlock with Miss Susie Johnson, by whom he had five children, three yet living, namely: Hiram, William and John. He was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife not many years after they had become residents of Van Buren County, her death occurring in 1851. His second union was with Miss Cynthia Robb, and that marriage was also blessed with three children yet living—Robert, Harry and Fred.
In politics, Mr. Kerr is a stanch supporter of the Democracy, and feels a deep interest in the success of that party. He cast his first Presidential vote for Andrew Jackson, of whom he was a great admirer. He keeps himself well informed on all topics of general interest, whether political of otherwise, and is a representative citizen who is ever willing to aid in the advancement of enterprises calculated to build up the community in which he lives. Many of his characteristics are such as to win him high regard, and by the people among whom he has spent some forty-six years he is greatly respected. Mrs. Kerr, who was a most estimable lady and whose friends were almost innumerable, died in 1885.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.
Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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