In the death of Joseph H. Kerr in 1895 Sacramento county lost one of its prominent and highly respected citizens. His career was a long, busy and useful one, devoted to the agricultural interests of this section from pioneer days, and while promoting the material welfare of the community he also gave an active and liberal support to those measures which tended to advance its intellectual and moral status. His life was filled with good deeds and kindly thoughts, and all who knew him entertained for him the highest regard, by reason of his upright, honorable career.
Joseph H. Kerr was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, March 18, 1824. In 1852, accompanied by a brother, the late George H. Kerr, he left his native state for the then far-away land of California, making the journey by the isthmus route, and on their arrival located in Nevada City, where he obtained employment in a quartz mill, thus continuing until 1856. In that year he came to Elk Grove, Sacramento county, and engaged in farming and blacksmithing, continuing the latter occupation, however, only a short time, but agriculture continued his life calling. For several years Mr. Kerr also devoted some attention to grape culture, while later, in addition to his farming, horticulture claimed a share of his attention, and in all these many occupations he met with a fair share of success. He was, however, distinctively the architect of his own fortunes. He was true in every relation of life, faithful to every trust and stood as a type of that sterling American manhood which our nation delights to honor. He was among the original promoters and founders of the Elk Grove Union high school, donating the ground on which the buiding is located, and was every a stanch and true friend of education.
On the 23d of December, 1858, Mr. Kerr was united in marriage to Angeline Worthington, a native of Jackson county, Iowa, where she was born April 20, 1842, a daughter of William W. and Nancy (Gammel) Worthington, natives of Pennsylvania, the former of English and the latter of Scotch descent. When eight years of age Mrs. Kerr's mother died in Iowa, and in 1853, with her father and the other members of the family, she came across the plains to California, the family home being for a short time in San Jose, after which they came to Sacramento county in 1855, settling near Elk Grove on the north, where the daughter grew to years of maturity and in 1858 gave her hand in marriage to Mr. Kerr. They reared two adopted children: Harry J., residing in San Diego, California; and Eva, at home. The latter is a graduate of Mills College in Oakland. Mrs. Kerr is a member of Elk Grove Friday Club, also of the Methodist Episcopal church, and is numbered among the noble pioneer women of Sacramento county. Mr. Kerr gave his political suppport to the Republican party, and in his religious affiliations was a member of the Presbyterian church. His life's labors were ended in death on the 23d of April, 1895, but his memory is still enshrined in the hearts of his many friends.
Source: History of the New California - Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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