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

    J. A. KERR

    Click here for photo of J. A. Kerr
    Click for photo of Elizabeth, (J. A. Kerr's wife)

    J. A. Kerr, of Tippecanoe City, one of the leading corporation lawyers of Miami county, was born at Chambersburg, Montgomery county, Ohio, July 7, 1853, a son of J. T. and Matilda B. (Westlake) Kerr. The latter was a daughter of Col. Josiah and Sallie (Williams) Westlake, Sallie Williams being a daughter of George and Polly (Hill) Williams, while Polly Hill was a daughter of Henry Hill, one of the earliest pioneers of this part of the Miami Valley and a member of the first conference of the Christian church, which was held at his home on Pleasant Hill, in 1819. Col. Josiah Westlake was a volunteer in the Mexican war and rose to a colonelcy in that conflict. He later became a leader in the Democratic party in his locality, and was likewise prominent in Civil war activities. Both the Williams and Hill families originated in Maryland. J. T. Kerr was a son of James Kerr, who was born near Marietta, Ohio, his mother being Sallie, daughter of Jonathan Thompson. During the early days she was taken prisoner by the Indians near Fort Meigs and held a prisoner for two years, although finally returned to the whites at Fort Johnson, near Piqua, Ohio. She had been carried captive by Indians from Canada in 1812. James Kerr was a son of George Kerr, who came from Virginia, his mother being Patty Newell, who was descended on her mother's side from the distinguished Hamilton family. Newell Kerr, a relation of J. A. Kerr, was a captain in the Union Army during the Civil war, and one of the first United States senators from Ohio bore the family name. J. T. Kerr, father of J. A. Kerr, was a volunteer during the Mexican war, and was a school teacher by vocation, as had been his father-in-law, Col. Josiah Westlake, who was one of the first educators in Mia mi county. To the parents of J. A. Kerr there were born the following children: James M., a prominent attorney of California, widely known as an author of legal works, among them "Kerr's Pocket Codes of California," "American and English Encyclopedia of Law," "Kerr's Real Property...... American Edition of Benjamin on Sales," "Kerr on Homicide," "American and English Railway Cases," "Water Rights and, Mining," etc., whose son, Noel Kerr, was a soldier of the American Expeditionary Forces during the World war and met a hero's death on the battlefield of the Argonne; Ellis H., a graduate of Cincinnati Law School, formerly mayor and a well-known attorney of Tippecanoe City, who married Esther Tenney, and had three children, Loren A., of South Carolina; Raymond A., prosecuting attorney of Miami county, and Vera, the wife of Rob Kessler; John, deceased; Owen, who fought as a soldier during the Spanish-American war, later a farmer of Miami county and business man of Tippecanoe City, who married Salome Miller; Clara, who married J. A., son of Joseph Connery, and removed to Montana and afterward to Los Angeles, Calif, where she died in 1914, and J. A. J. A. Kerr was educated in the public schools of Miami county and a normal school, following which he enrolled as a student of the law department of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, where he was graduated in law and civil engineering in 1871. He taught school and practiced his profession in conjunction for two years, but his law practice soon became so large as to need all his attention. In 1874 he became delegate to the Democratic congressional convention, and in 1884, was elected city solicitor of Tippecanoe City. Mr. Kerr is known as a thorough, capable and learned lawyer, particularly in the field of corporation law, in which he his a large and important clientele. He is attorney for the Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company, which carries $21,000,000 insurance on 7,000 members, and which has had but one lawsuit since its inception in 1877, when Mr. Kerr became its attorney. He belongs to the various organizations of his profession, and has numerous civic, business and social connections. During the war period he was active in all movements, and served capably as a four minute speaker and in other capacities. Mr. Kerr married Elizabeth J., daughter of Lemuel F. and Rosanna (Pierson) Coates, and a granddaughter of Henry and Jane (Fincher) Coates. Rosanna Pierson was a daughter of Hiram Pierson, who was a son of Samuel Pierson, one of the earliest pioneers of the Miami valley. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Kerr: Lillian V., who died at the age of fifteen years, and Floyd Ellis, president of the State Bank of McBee, S. C., who married Viola Dunning and has three children, Floyd E., Jr., Enona and Newell.

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