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"William B. Kerr was born in Leechburg, Armstrong County, Pa., on the 20th day of November 1813 and died November 3, 1904, having lived 90 years, 11 months and 17 days. He was the son of Robert Kerr, a native of New York, and a grandson of William Kerr who was born in Ireland.
He acquired his education in the subscription schools of his native county common at that day, but at the age of 17 he was apprenticed to a capenter and after mastering the occupation, he followed it as long as his sight would permit. In 1842 he determined to try his fortune beyond the Mississippi and chose the territory of Iowa as the scene of his future labors. He built a keel boat, loaded with his worldly possessions, attached the same to a raft and floated down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Louisville, Ky., where he found that further progress was impossible on account of the river being blocked with ice. Deterred from his purpose of making the journey by river, he went by steamer to Nauvoo, Ill., where he remained through the winter. In the following spring he removed to Bonaparte where he has since resided and where he erected many of the homes of the early settlers.
Mr. Kerr was married twice. E're leaving the state of his nativity he was united in marriage to Miss Susie Johnson. To this union were born five children, three of whom are living. He was called upon to mourn the loss of the wife in 1851. His second union was with Miss Cynthia Robb, and this marriage was blessed with four children, three of whom are living, but she, too, was taken away in 1885.
When in active business he was always interested in the development of his town and community, ever ready to help in any enterprise for the advancement of the community at large. Several years ago he lost his eyesight almost completely, but has born his affliction with fortitude and cheerfulness.
There remains to mourn his loss six sons: Hiram of Charleston, Washinton, Wm. B. of Knob, Calif., John J. of Bonaparte, Robert and Frank of Leadville, Colorado, and Harvey of Chicago, ten grand children and seven great grandchildren."
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