Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    Ellis Hamilton Kerr, attorney-at-law of Tippecanoe City, Ohio, was born in Vandalia, Montgomery county, Ohio, February 10, 1855. He is the son of Jonathan T. and Matilda (Westlake) Kerr. The father of our subject was the son of James Kerr, a soldier in the war of 1812, who married Sallie Thompson, whose thrilling and eventful history is one of interest to the descendants of the early settlers of Miami county. His grandfather, George Kerr, was born in the count of Kerry, Ireland, and emigrated to America previous to the Revolutionary war, in which he took part as a soldier in the Continental army. After the war was over, he came to Ohio and was one of the first settlers in Marietta, and later, in 1813, removed to Lebanon, Ohio. The father of E. H. Kerr removed from Vandalia to Lost Creek township, in this county, and from there in 1862 removed to Monroe township, in this county, and settled on a farm in section 16 of that township.

    On that farm E. H. Kerr passed his boyhood years, receiving what education he could from the country schools. He received a certificate to teach school at eighteen years of' age and taught school for two winters.

    He was married to Miss Etta Tenny, of Vandalia, Ohio, September 27, 1874. She received her education in the common schools of Ohio, and was a successful teacher. There have been born to this union three children: Loran A., Vera Mae and Raymond A. With a worthy ambition Mr. Kerr and his wife were determined to give their children a good education. The eldest son, Loran A., completed the classical course and was graduated at the Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, in the class of 1900. The only daughter, Vera Mae, graduated at the Ohio Wesleyan University in the class of 1899, and also graduated in the classical course at Boston University in the class of 1900. The youngest son, Raymond A., is a student in the Ohio Wesleyan University, and will graduate in the class of 1902.

    In 1879, at the age of twenty-four years, Ellis H. Kerr removed to Tippecanoe and read law with his brother, J. A. Kerr, and afterwards entered the Cincinnati Law School, in which he was graduated with the class of 1885. He formed a partnership with his brother, J. A. Kerr, which continued until January 1, 1891. Since that date he has had no partner, but by close attention to his business he has succeeded in building up a good paying clientage and his practice extends to all the courts of the state and in the United States courts. He has been connected with a number of very important cases. One of much local fame was the case of John W. Underwood versus the village of Tippecanoe, involving the liability of municipal corporations for defective streets, which was carried through all the courts to the supreme court of the state, and he was successful in every court. He also was one of. the attorneys in defense in the celebrated case of the state of Ohio versus Jefferson Shank, indicted for murder in the first degree, which occupied the common pleas court of Miami county for three weeks and attracted much public attention. Mr. Kerr is noted for his fidelity to his clients, the zeal and energy with which he prosecutes or defends every case entrusted to his care, and although living in a village six miles from the county seat, he has a large and lucrative practice, and stands high with the Miami county bar as an able and honest lawyer, and has made and saved in his practice handsome competence.

    In politics Mr. Kerr is a Democrat, and while not an extreme partisan he takes an active part in every campaign. He has been nominated by his party for prosecuting attorney and probate judge, and in each campaign received the full party vote with an addition of personal friends from other parties. He has served five terms as mayor of Tippecanoe City, which is Republican in its politics. Twice he was elected without opposition. He has served as city solicitor four years. Mr. Kerr is in the prime of his manhood and is a man of high morality and sterling worth. His children are educated, and before him is a bright future. E. S. W.

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