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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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KERR, WILLIAM (1840-1909)

KERR, WILLIAM, farmer; b. Napan, 21 May 1840, s/o James Kerr and Elspeth Burnett Johnstone; m. 1st, 1864, Jane Loggie, d/o William Loggie and Margaret Morrison, of Lower Newcastle, and 2nd, 1885, Mary Jane MacLachlan, of Halifax; d. Chatham, 1 Oct 1909.

William Kerr was a "progressive farmer" at Napan who had a special interest in horticultural methods and agricultural affairs. He was a longtime county councillor for Chatham parish and the first president, in 1886, of the Northumberland County Liberal Association. He was noted for his tact, and "successfully refereed many a stormy political and municipal battle." In 1905 he was president of the Northumberland Agricultural Society. A lifelong member of St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, he "more than once declined an eldership."

An 'appreciation' published in the Chatham World at the time of his death states that Kerr was "a man of great height and large size and possessed a peculiar gait" by which he could easily be recognized, "even at a considerable distance." His mind appeared to have been formed in a "judicial mould," and "he played the part of the country lawyer." Farmers came from miles around to consult him, "on every conceivable subject, from race horses to marriage." His "hearty laugh, ready wit, and cheering smile" put his callers at ease and lifted their spirits. He delighted in people and also displayed "a remarkable fondness for dumb animals, particularly horses."

Kerr's first wife, Jane Loggie, died in 1881. The children of this marriage included a son, William Alexander Kerr, who led his graduating class at the University of New Brunswick in 1887 and was later a lawyer and judge in Minneapolis, Minn. There were children born in the 1890s of Kerr's marriage to Mary Jane MacLachlan. At the time of his death he and the family were residing in Chatham.

Sources

[b] church records [m] Telegraph 28 Jul 1864; Provincial Wesleyan 10 Oct 1885 [d] Leader 8 Oct 1909 / Advocate 23 Jun 1886, 29 Jun 1887, 6 Dec 1905; Generations 54, p.15; Loggie family data; tombstone; World 2 Dec 1905, 2 Oct 1909, 6 Oct 1909


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