Caswell County Genealogy
 

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Kerr, John Hosea

Male 1873 - 1958  (84 years)


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  • Name Kerr, John Hosea  [1
    Birth 31 Dec 1873  Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation Lawyer 
    Reference Number 3620 
    Death 21 Jun 1958  Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Burial Fairview Cemetery, Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3577  Caswell County
    Last Modified 16 Apr 2024 

    Father Kerr, Lieutenant John Hosea McNeill,   b. 20 Apr 1844, Stoney Creek Township, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 19 Aug 1924, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 80 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Yancey, Eliza Catherine,   b. 30 Jun 1844, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 21 Apr 1927, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 82 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Marriage 18 Dec 1870  Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Reference Number 24093 
    Notes 
    • Marriage date also seen as 19 December 1870.
    Family ID F1643  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Foote, Ella Lillian,   b. 30 Apr 1877, Norfolk, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 4 Jun 1949 (Age 72 years) 
    Marriage 15 Feb 1899  Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Reference Number 27811 
    Children 
    +1. Kerr, John Hosea Jr.,   b. 19 May 1900, Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 28 May 1968, Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 68 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     2. Kerr, James Yancey,   b. 3 Aug 1902   d. 26 May 1974 (Age 71 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    Family ID F1904  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 16 Apr 2024 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 31 Dec 1873 - Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 15 Feb 1899 - Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 21 Jun 1958 - Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Yanceyville Baseball Players
    Yanceyville Baseball Players

  • Notes 
    • John Hosea Kerr (1873-1958)

      John Hosea Kerr

      Yanceyville Baseball Team (1890s)

      (click on photograph for larger image)
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      The players and coach (left-to-right beginning on back row, then coming back to the first seated player on the left):

      1. Jim Slade
      2. John Graves
      3. John H. Kerr
      4. B. S. Graves (coach)
      5. Steve Richmond
      6. Pomp Richmond (with bat)
      7. Nat Graves (has ball in his hand; could be the pitcher)
      8. Bob Roan (apparently the catcher)
      9. A. Yancey Kerr
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      Note that the John H. Kerr in the above photograph has not been confirmed as the John Hosea Kerr of this entry.
      _______________

      Kerr, John Hosea, (grandnephew of John Kerr), a Representative from North Carolina; born in Yanceyville, Caswell County, N.C., December 31, 1873; attended the local school and Bingham's Military School of North Carolina; was graduated from Wake Forest (N.C.) College in 1895; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1895 and commenced practice in Warrenton, N.C.; mayor of Warrenton, N.C., in 1897 and 1898; solicitor for the third district of North Carolina 1906-1916; judge of the superior court 1916-1923; trustee of the University of North Carolina; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1932 and 1940; chairman, United States delegation to the Inter-American Travel Congress in Mexico City in 1941; elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-eighth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Claude Kitchin; reelected to the Sixty-ninth and to the thirteen succeeding Congresses and served from November 6, 1923, to January 3, 1953; chairman, Committee on Elections No. 3 (Seventy-second through Seventy-fifth Congresses); unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1952; died in Warrenton, N.C., June 21, 1958; interment in Fairview Cemetery.

      Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
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      Kerr, John Hosea (grandnephew of John Kerr), a Representative from North Carolina; born in Yanceyville, Caswell County, N.C., December 31, 1873; attended the local school and Bingham's Military School of North Carolina; was graduated from Wake Forest (N.C.) College in 1895; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1895 and commenced practice in Warrenton, N.C.; mayor of Warrenton, N.C., in 1897 and 1898; solicitor for the third district of North Carolina 1906-1916; judge of the superior court 1916-1923; trustee of the University of North Carolina; elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-eighth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Claude Kitchin; reelected to the Sixty-ninth and to the eleven succeeding Congresses and served from November 6, 1923, to January 3, 1949; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1932 and 1940. Reelected to the Eighty-first Congress.

      Source: U.S. Congress, Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1949 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950), p.1406.
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      Kerr Dam and Reservoir on the Roanoke River are named for him. Source: Heritage of Caswell County at 339 (Article No. 419).

      Birth date also seen as 30 December 1873. Source: Thomas McNeill of Caswell County, North Carolina, His Forebears & Descendants, Ben L. Rose (1984) at 43.
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      "A native of Yanceyville, Kerr was a member of Congress from 1923 until 1953 and played a major role in securing land for the development of the Kerr Reservoir and Dam, which was named in honor of him."

      The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 22 June 1958.
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      John Hosea Kerr was born in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina but lived most of his life in Warrenton, North Carolina. Kerr received his bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University and his law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. In 1895, Kerr started his law practice in Warrenton, North Carolina. He served as town attorney and then as mayor of Warrenton in 1897 and 1898. In 1905, Kerr served as solicitor and then from 1916 to 1923, Kerr served as superior court judge. Kerr was originally elected to the United States House of Representatives in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Claude Kitchin in 1923. He lost a bid for re-election in the 1952 Democratic Party primary to Lawrence H. Fountain. Constructed between 1947 and 1953, Kerr Lake, Kerr Lake State Recreation Area, and John H. Kerr Dam are named after him deriving from his instrumental efforts towards the project. Kerr's son, John H. Kerr, Jr., and grandson, John H. Kerr, III, both served in the North Carolina General Assembly. His great uncle John Kerr also served in the United States House of Representatives.

      Source: Wikipedia.
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      On December 30, 1873, John H. Kerr was born in Yanceyville. Educated at what is now Wake Forest University, Kerr began practicing law in Warrenton in 1895. After serving as town attorney and as mayor, he was elected judge of the Superior Court in 1916. Judge Kerr, as he was known thereafter, served on the bench until 1923. In 1923, Kerr was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he would go to serve for 15 terms, until 1952. He was the third generation of his family to be named John Kerr and the third generation to be elected to Congress. In the House, Kerr was active on the agriculture, appropriation and public building committees. The Kerr-Smith Tobacco Act of 1934, which he co-sponsored, evolved into a program of price supports and allotments for tobacco farmers that would have a lasting legacy. Kerr is best remembered for seeking and receiving Congressional support in the 1940s for a flood control project on the Roanoke River. The lake created by the $100 million dam at Buggs Island, Virginia, was dedicated in October 1952 as the John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir. Kerr had been defeated for re-nomination a few months earlier. He died in 1958.

      Source: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.
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      Another Find in North Carolina

      LaFayette Murray lives three miles from Yanceyville, North Carolina. He married a cousin of President Poteat, of Wake Forest College. J. H. Kerr, of Warrenton, North Carolina, is Solicitor of the Second Judicial District, and was attending the Supreme Court at Raleigh last week. He may still be there. He was born in Caswell County. Yanceyville is in Caswell County, and Mr. Murray lives three miles from Yanceyville, where he owns and lives on a fine plantation. On this plantation there is an old graveyard, which is said to "have preserved in good condition since the War of the Revolution," more than a hundred and thirty years ago. In this graveyard there is a monument, or headstone, at one of the graves which contains this inscription: "Here lies the Remains of Starling Gunn, Who Fired the First Cannon at Yorktown when Cornwallis Surrendered to General Washington."

      Not long ago, Mr. Kerr visited his native county of Caswell and while he was there went out to Mr. Murray's plantation, three miles from Yanceyville, where he saw the monument erected to Starling Gunn. The Gunns, we are told, "were an old modest family who long lived in Caswell County." They were large land-holders, and were connected with the Yanceys, Kerrs, and other influential families in that region and have descendants still living in Caswell County. Solicitor Kerr was immediately attracted to the Gunn headstone as soon as he saw it in the graveyard of LaFayette Murray's plantation, three miles from Yanceyville, in Caswell County, and when he was in Raleigh the other day talked to a reporter for The News and Observer in this very interesting way:

      In those days, Mr. Kerr said, people were more modest than they are now, and this inscription would not have been put upon the monument unless it had been true, and it shows that Caswell County, among its other great contributions to North Carolina, produced a soldier who deserved rank with Wyatt at Bethel, Bagley at Cardenas, and the invincible North Carolinians who gave the State glory at Bethel, Gettysburg, Chickamauga and Appomattox. In addition now to the claim that North Carolina makes of being first at Bethel, furthest to the front at Gettysburg, and last at Appomattox, we can also add "First at Yorktown," which gives North Carolina primacy in every great war in which this country has been engaged from the War of the Revolution to the Spanish-American War.

      Josephus Daniels is disposed to make a good deal of this new find as affording only cumulative evidence of North Carolina's primacy in everything, and congratulates himself and his State that to the formula: "North Carolina -- first at Bethel, furthest at Gettysburg, and last at Appomattox," may now be confidently added: "First at Yorktown." He admits, however, that Starling Gunn had "a suggestive name for the deed he did": the only wonder is that it was not written "Cannon" instead of "Gunn."

      We have no means of verifying this story, indeed it requires no verification, the word of Solicitor Kerr being all that any one could ask. We are sure that Mr. Murray lives three miles from Yanceyville in Caswell County, on a plantation, that there is a graveyard on his place, that there is, or was when Mr. Kerr was there, a headstone setting forth the fact that "here lies the remains of Starling Gunn, who fired the first canon at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington": but there are some subsidiary questions upon which we should like to be informed: Was this particular cannon fired when Cornwallis surrendered to Washington or before he surrendered What sort of cannon was it? Who saw Starling Gunn fire it and when? Was there such a person as Starling Gunn, in fact? Is there any record in Caswell County to show that any such person ever lived in that county and three miles from Yanceyville? How were his remains brought to Caswell County, or did he die on or about the Murray place, which was at the time of his death probably owned by some son of a Gunn or perchance by one of the Yanceys? Finally, when was this headstone erected and where was it made? Is it of the old willow tree pattern or of the broken column type? Was it put up by the Daughters of the American Revolution of Charlotte, or by the Colonial Dames? How much did D. A. Tompkins, of the Charlotte Observer, contribute to the building fund, and how did the people and press generally happen to miss the excursion when the Daughters or the Dames were going down to LaFayette Murray's plantation, three miles from Yanceyville, with Starling Gunn's monument?

      We accept the story in good faith; but as there are so many litigious persons we would suggest that the last resting place of Starling Gunn -- he won't care -- be disturbed for the purpose of ascertaining definitely whether or not the original copy of the Mecklenburg Declaration was not buried with him in the left-hand pocket of the jim swinger which he is almost certain to have worn on his farewell appearance. Only the other day an account was given in the newspapers of the discovery of a Fifth Gospel written on papyrus obtained after much digging in the Holy Land, and as the Mecklenburg Declaration was written presumably on papyrus it is not impossible that the first draft was taken away by Mr. Gunn. "First at Yorktown?" Why, of course: first in everything and a glorious old State is the grand old North State, to be sure!

      Source: Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), 10 September 1911, page 4.
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      Answer to Caswell County Quiz: Name those born in Caswell County, North Carolina who served in the United States House of Representatives.

      Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828) served 1813-1817
      Romulus Mitchell Saunders (1791-1867) served 1821-1827
      John Hosea Kerr (1873-1958) served 1923-1953

      While not born in Caswell County, as such did not exist at the time, mention should be made of Robert Williams (1766-1836) who apparently was born in that part of Orange County, North Carolina, that became Caswell County. Robert Williams served in the United States House of Representatives 1797-1803. He later was appointed Territorial Governor of the Mississippi Territory by President Thomas Jefferson.

      Similarly, Marmaduke Williams (1772-1850), brother of the Robert Williams discussed above, appears to have been born in that part of Orange County that eventually formed Caswell County. He served 1803-1809 in the United States House of Representatives. He moved to Alabama and became a judge.

      And, some Caswellians claim John Kerr, Jr., (1811-1879) as a Congressman. However, while he did indeed live in Yanceyville and represent Caswell County 1853-1855, he was born in Halifax County, Virginia. I rests at the First Baptist Church in Yanceyville.
      _____

      Congressman's Father Dies at Yanceyville

      Warrenton, Aug. 19 -- Capt. John Hosea Kerr, a veteran of the War Between the States and father of Congressman John H. Kerr, of this town, died in his home at Yanceyville this afternoon at 2 o'clock. Captain Kerr was 80 years old. Interment will be made tomorrow at Yanceyville. Congressman Kerr and his son, John H. Kerr, Jr., were at the bedside when Captain Kerr died.

      The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 0 Aug 1924, Wed, Page 1.
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      U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970
      Name: John Hosea Kerr
      SAR Membership: 48439
      Birth Date: 31 Dec 1873
      Birth Place: Yanceyville, Nebraska
      Father: John H Kerr
      Mother: Eliza C Yancey
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      Family Data Collection - Individual Records
      Name: John Hosea Kerr
      Spouse: Ella L Foote
      Parents: John Hosea McNeill Kerr, Eliza Catherine Yancey
      Birth Place: Caswell CO, Yanceyville, NC
      Birth Date: 30 Dec 1873
      Marriage Place: Warrenton, Warren, NC
      Marriage Date: 15 Feb 1899
      Death Place: Warrenton, Warren, NC
      Death Date: 21 Jun 1958

      1920 United States Federal Census
      Name: John H Kerr
      Home in 1920: Warrenton, Warren, North Carolina
      Age: 44 years
      Estimated birth year: abt 1876
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Relation to Head of House: Head
      Spouse's name: Ella F
      Father's Birth Place: North Carolina
      Mother's Birth Place: North Carolina
      Marital Status: Married
      Race: White
      Sex: Male
      Home owned: Own
      Able to read: Yes
      Able to Write: Yes
      Image: 966
      Household Members: Name Age
      John H Kerr 44
      Ella F Kerr 40
      John H Kerr 19
      James Y Kerr 17

      1930 United States Federal Census
      Name: John H Kerr
      Home in 1930: Warrenton, Warren, North Carolina (Church Street)
      Age: 52
      Estimated birth year: abt 1878
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Relation to Head of House: Head
      Spouse's name: Ella F
      Race: White
      Occupation: Representative, US Congress
      Military Service: None
      Rent/home value: 15,000
      Age at first marriage: Did not answer
      Parents' birthplace: North Carolina
      Household Members: Name Age
      John H Kerr 52
      Ella F Kerr 48
      John H Kerr, Jr. 29
      Edwall O Hall 15 [nephew]

  • Sources 
    1. Details: Thomas McNeill of Caswell County, North Carolina, His Forebears & Descendants, Ben L. Rose (1984) at 43.