JOHN KERR, Rushville.—America has drawn her population from every continent and all the islands of the sea. Ireland has contributed her quota, sending many of her sturdy sons, who have aided in the development and growth of the New World, and pushed their way to the frontier, that the path might be made for the onward march of civilization. John Kerr, proprietor of the Schuylerville coal mine and one of the prominent agriculturists of Schuyler county, Illinois, is a native of County Fermanagh, Ireland, born near Five-mile Town, July 15, 1840. His father was also a native of the Emerald Isle, but the grandfather was born in Scotland, although he spent his last days in County Fermanagh. The father was a weaver by trade, and operated a hand loom with great skill; later in life he became the proprietor of a shop, and employed several men; the last years of his life, however, were devoted to farming, the land being leased; he married Rebecca Wier, a native of Scotland, and to them were born eight children.
John Kerr and his brother Alexander emigrated to America in 1864, the latter settling at Newark, New Jersey; they were the only members of the family who came to this country. Our subject was reared and educated in his native land, and followed agricultural pursuits. He did not bring his family with him to the United States, as it was to them an untried land, and he wished to be able to return if the prospects were not fair. He was first located at Whitestone on the Hudson, his wife and children joining him there the following year. Later on he went to Newark, New Jersey, and was employed in the woolen mills until 1872. In that year he removed to Illinois, and purchased eighty acres of land, ten miles north of Rushville; here he lived a year, and then sold out, buying ten acres near Rushville. Two years later he had the good fortune to open a coal bank, and since that time he has been busily engaged in operating the same; he ships to northern Illinois and Wisconsin, and carries on a profitable trade. He has invested in lands at different times, and now owns one hundred and ninety and a half acres, lying three quarters of a mile from the courthouse.
Mr. Kerr was united in marriage in 1862, to Miss Eleanor Bell, a native of County Fermanagh, Ireland, and a daughter of Robert and Ann Bell. Eight children have been born to them: Joseph, Catherine, Robert, Annie, Fred, William, Burt and May.
Politically, Mr. Kerr adheres to the principles of the Republican party, and is a thoroughly loyal citizen of his adopted country.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, page 196.
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