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                                                        [Various Families.]
Note: This file was made by RKW years ago.
Kansas 1875 Census, Vernon Township, Cowley County, March 1, 1875.
Name                                                   age sex color    Place/birth    Where from
Ann Kerr                                              63     f     w      Ireland              Indiana
Albert Kerr                                          26    m    w Indiana             Indiana
John Cain Kerr                                     26    m    w Indiana             Indiana
Sarah M. Kerr                                      19     f     w      Indiana             Indiana
Kansas 1875 Census, Beaver Township, Cowley County, March 1, 1875.
Name                                                   age sex color   Place/birth     Where from
Robert Kerr                                         38  m    w        Ohio                       Indiana
Mary J. Kerr                                        34    f     w Tennessee              Indiana
Wm. H. Kerr                                        13  m    w       Indiana             Indiana
A. A. Kerr                                             9    f     w       Indiana             Indiana
S. S. Kerr                                              8    f     w       Indiana             Indiana
B. I. Kerr                                               6  m    w       Indiana             Indiana
George O. Kerr                                      5  m    w       Indiana             Indiana
Mary B. M. Kerr                                    2    f     w       Indiana             Indiana
                                               FROM THE NEWSPAPERS.
Winfield Courier, January 17, 1878.
Rev. Robert Kerr is conducting an interesting school at the Easterly schoolhouse. His reverential majesty also dispenses scripture every fourth Sunday in the month at the Centennial, being chosen pastor of a recently organized Baptist organization at this point. (Note the 38 year old Robert Kerr is a son of Ann Kerr. He came first to Cowley County in 1870 and persuaded his mother to come to Kansas. He carried a chain on the first survey of the county. In a few years he sold out and moved back to Indiana and took up preaching full time.)
Winfield Courier, September 19, 1878.

A man named D. F. Kerr came to our town some months ago and was introduced to the community by the preaching of a sermon in the Methodist pulpit. It was understood generally that he had been engaged in missionary work in the Indian Territory, though a citizen of Lawrence. He was an active participant in church matters, occasionally preaching, and took a prominent part in the Murphy proceedings here. He aided in the organization of the Good Templars, and was elected chief officer. He and Mr. Hobbs formed a partnership in the grocery business, but after a few months Mr. Kerr sold out, since which time he has been engaged chiefly in doing nothing in particular, though visiting the Nation and our neighbor counties, preaching the Gospel and Temperance, and organizing Good Templar’s lodges. A few weeks ago he ordered some bills printed for use in giving notice of temperance meetings, promising to pay for the printing when he returned. He has returned several times, though not to the printing office. Last Tuesday afternoon he again returned, and the following morning several citizens were inquiring about Kerr, stating that the settlement of sundry small accounts which they held against him would be very acceptable. It was said, however, that the reverend gentleman had taken his own family and an unreasonably large proportion of another man’s family and departed the previous night for the west. It is supposed he intends settling in or near Winfield. It is due to Mr. Kerr, and those with whom he may desire to associate, to say that he has not done much clerical work here lately, and for reasons we suppose, similar to those which impelled the Good Templars to expel him, because of charges of intimacy with disreputable women. The people here will willingly balance accounts with him if he will not again disgrace it with his presence. Coffeyville Journal.
Ralph Biddle wrote of the Anna Kerr family in the Cowley County Heritage book of 1990, page 215 and 216.
Winfield Courier, February 22, 1973.
I, Jesse Amzi Kerr, was born December 21, 1854, on a farm in Owen County, Indiana, not far from the town of Spencer. My father was John A. Kerr, and my mother was Ann Armstrong Kerr. My father came to Indiana from Pennsylvania, via Ohio, but his father had been born in Scotland. My mother was born in Ireland, and came to the Untied States with her parents at the age of twelve. Her journey required six weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
I was the next to the youngest of a large family. My father died near the end of the Civil War. Two of my older brothers lost their lives in some of the battles, so when the war was over my eldest brother, Robert, came with a group of settlers to Kansas in 1870. He took a claim west of Winfield, Kansas. After being here two years, and wanting his family near him, he persuaded his mother to sell her farms in Indiana and come to Kansas. My mother, my sister Martha, and I came to Kansas. I was 17 years old.
When we left Terre Haute, Indiana, we could only buy our train tickets to Emporia, Kansas. When we reached there we found the railroad was completed to Wichita. We arrived in Wichita in October 1872, and spent the night at the Empire house, and the following day we were met by my brother and the remaining fifty miles were made by covered wagon. The train was ferried across the Mississippi River, as no bridge had been built at that time.
A claim of 130 acres of land lying on the east side of the Arkansas River eight miles west, and one south of Winfield, in Vernon Township, had been filed on, but these people had left, and so my mother preempted it, and from that time on this has been my home. My brother’s land was one-half mile south and one-fourth miles west. Later another brother came to Kansas, as did two married sisters and families, and they took claim to land in that vicinity.
The first house on this farm was a two room cabin, later moved farther to the north and  put on a knoll, and two rooms added to make a story and a half house; then years later it was rebuilt and three more rooms added, and here I raised my family of nine children. In 1878 my mother died, and meantime my sister had married, and so a brother, Albert, and I lived here together for a time. He married. I then bought out the heirs, so now I was owner of my mother’s claim. I continued to farm the land and board at a neighbor’s until I was married on March 24, 1887, at Wellington, Kansas, to Hattie Susan Cittum of the Kellogg vicinity. We raised nine children here, and my wife passed away in May, 1918.

A legal description of the farm is as follows: lots, 7, 8, 9 and the SE quarter, sec. 31, twp. 32, range 3 east, containing 130 acres, more or less. A portion of the land was cut off by the Arkansas River so that was why I had only 130 acres of land instead of the usual quarter of a section as is the case in most claims. The soil was made up of sand and black loam, called a river bottom farm. A creek, called Spring Creek, cut through on the east side to angle through to the southwest, dividing the farm into two parts. To the west side of the farm along the river was the timber land, and the rest was covered with high prairie grass. This timber of cottonwood, willow, walnut, hackberry, and elm trees was gradually cleared off. The lumber from the cottonwood was used to build the barn, smokehouse, and other out buildings. It also furnished our fuel, and continued to furnish wood for that purpose as long as I lived on the farm.
When I came to Kansas there was some wild game to be found in the woods, wild flowers, song birds, and the tall waving prairie grass.
U.S. Surveying Corps, in the days when Cowley County, Kansas, was surveyed, performed their work mostly afoot. They followed the cardinal points, regardless of hill or stream. They found living quarters close to streams for the canvas tents, with a carpet of buffalo robes on the floor in the winter months. My brother, Robert Kerr, who came to Cowley County in 1870, helped carry the chain to make this survey.
Winfield Courier, February 22, 1973.
                                    Kerr describes Buffalo Hunts, by Mary F. Kerr.
(Editor’s note: Mary Kerr’s father, Jesse Kerr, was one of the early settlers of Vernon Township. He liked to tell his daughter about the early days and she in turn enjoyed recording all the stories that he shared with her. The following events took place in the 1870s.)
Buffalo hunting was one of the pleasures and thrills to be enjoyed by the pioneer. In the fall parties of men with teams and wagons loaded with supplies to last for several weeks would set out to kill buffalo for their winter supply of meat—some wild turkeys, sometimes antelope, or perhaps a deer, could be added to make a variety. During the first few years, we did not have to go far to find the buffalo herd, but as the settlers moved farther westward, the buffalo ranged more to the west part of the state, and so these hunting parties went to the Colorado line before they reached the main herd. In order to get enough meat to supply these large parties, it required finding and killing quite a number of buffalo.
One of the stories I often heard my father tell was about a trip he took to the western part of the state with some older men. One night they camped close to a party of government men, who were paid by the government to kill buffalo for their hides, and with the exception of what meat they ate, they left the remains of the animals after taking off the hides. The party that my father was with arrived too late: the animals that had been skinned were spoiling. He commented, “I could have stepped from carcass to carcass for a space of five acres and never touched the ground, so thick were the dead animals.”

That evening the old hunters took my father, a tenderfoot, to visit the camp of the government men. They wanted to show him how rough a group of men like these were. If they wanted meat to eat, buffalo tongue was supposed to be the choice morsel, so when they arrived at this dugout and went in, they saw a large 18 gallon iron kettle full of buffalo tongues cooking over the fire. When the meat was cooked, they asked the group to help them eat them, which they did, then after supper a big red-headed man, leader of the group, picked up a black snake whip and said, “Every man here must tell a story, sing a song, or do a dance.”  My father said he sang, but one man said he couldn’t do any of these things. After one lash of the whip across his back, he really danced. My father said he heard stories that night he never soon forgot.
One hunting trip he told about. They had killed their supply of animals and the meat was loaded for the return trip home. They all ate together and used first one man’s provisions, then the other, and so on. They were down to the last man’s supplies since they had gone so far before getting enough meat. That night it rained and a horse broke loose, and in nosing about, pulled out the last sack of flour and the small amount of cornmeal left, trampling them into the mud. The next morning the hunting party gathered up enough to make a batch of biscuits, and began their return trip home, with only meat to eat. It took a week to get back home. They ate meat boiled, fried, and toasted over a fire; but they were always hungry. They arrived at Wellington, the first town, and with the few cents they had between them, they bought a few stale crackers to eat, and came the remaining 20 miles home. They were glad to get back home to eat cornbread and molasses again.
The Mount Zion church had a cemetery in conjunction. The Kerr tombstones read:
Ann Armstrong Kerr died August 10, 1878, age 68 years and 29 days. Her husband was John A. Kerr. (He died during the civil war but was not a veteran.)  They were the parents of Jesse Anzi Kerr, Albert Kerr, Martha Kerr, and Robert Kerr who outlived their parents. They had two sons who died young.
Jesse Anzi Kerr was born December 21, 1854, in Spencer, Indiana. He died July 25, 1948, at Kellogg, Kansas. He married Hattie Susan Chittum. Her father was James Chittum. She was born January 6, 1869, in Sangamon County, Illinois. They had seven children: Everett, Essie, Carl, Earl A., Flora, Mary A., and A. B. There is a tombstone for Mary F. Kerr, daughter of Jesse A., and Hattie S. Chittum. She was born December 2, 1905, in Vernon township and died February 18, 1980.
Carl Lewis Kerr was born February 6,1892, in Vernon township, Cowley County, Kansas. He died September 5, 1967. He was married in 1919 to Elna Cook and they had one child, Marguerite. There is no tombstone for his wife.
Robert Kerr was married to ______. They have no tombstone. There are tombstones for
three of his children: John A. Kerr, who died January 4, 1878, age 1 year and 10 months; Edna Kerr, born 1887 and died 1889; and Robert Kerr, who was born in 1903 and died in 1904.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum