52 Ancestors --2015 Edition: #9 My Paternal 2nd Great Grandfather Henry Kerr

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition:  #9 My Paternal 2nd Great Grandfather Henry Kerr

Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small is back hosting the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series in 2015. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link: Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.

Theme for Week #9:  Close to Home. Which ancestor is the closest to where you live? Who has a story that hits “close to home”?

My Kerr family line has been at the forefront of my thoughts and research lately. I didn't want to veer off course at this time and so I decided to opt out of using the theme for this week. I decided to highlight some of the things I learned so far about my paternal 2nd great grandfather, Henry Kerr.

My previous post,  Amanuensis Monday: The Estate Record of Henry Kerr picked up with the end of Henry Kerr's life. In that estate record, there was a written affidavit that was signed by Henry's wife, Tina Jane Kerr. Tina renounced the rite to administer the estate of her husband and passed that privilege on to her son Henry T. Kerr. That letter was written in November 1909. So it appears he died earlier in that same year.

My preliminary research seems to point to an area called Tomahawk, NC in Sampson County as to being the place where my Kerr family line called home. 

Image courtesy of Google Maps.

Henry Kerr was born in January 1854 in Sampson County to Jacob and Clara Kerr. I was able to find Henry and his parents in the 1870 Federal Census listed in Franklin, New Hanover County, NC.

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Source Citation:  Year: 1870; Census Place: Franklin, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1151; Page: 213A; Image: 137; Family History Library Film: 552650

So it looks like my 2nd great grandfather Henry was one of at least 15.  Wait a minute, 15!! My 3rd great grandmotherm Clara, certainly deserves some respect for birthing that many babies.

Source Information: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Source Citation:  Year: 1880; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: 981; Family History Film: 1254981; Page: 67B;
 Enumeration District: 192; Image: 0596

I haven't been able to find a record of the marriage of Henry Kerr and Tina Jane Murphy yet but I do know that by 1880 Henry and Tina were a couple living together next door to Henry's parents. I am guessing they were probably married sometime around 1877 or 1878 based on the age of their first child. 

Another thing I happen to know is this.

Image courtesy of Sampson County Register of DeedsDeed Book 46, Page 506

Deed for purchase of land by Henry Kerr from John D. Kerr

Deed Jno. D. Kerr to Henry Kerr.

This indenture made this 23rd day of May 1879 between John D Kerr of the first part and Henry Kerr of the second part. Witnesseth, that for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and thirty five dollars to him in hand paid by the party of the second part has bargained sold and conveyed unto the party of the second part viz:  Henry Kerr and his heirs one certain tract or parcel of land lying in Sampson County and adjoining the lands of Jack Henry, John Johnson Luther Cromartie and myself and bounded as follows: Beginning at a pine in Jack Henry's line and runs to 42 1/2 E 35 chains & 39 links to Jack Johnson's line thence So 76 1/2 W with Johnson's line 58 chains to Luther Cromartie's line and Jack Henry's line to the beginning containing 15 acres, more or less. To have and to hold unto the said Henry Kerr and his heirs forever and the said Jno D Kerr does hereby warrant the title to the said land against the lawful claim of all persons to claim or claiming the same by through or under me. Witness my hand and seal this 23rd day of May 1879.

Test Jerry Johnson                                        Jno D Kerr  Seal
     C. C. Sikes

Sampson County:  In the Probate Court.
The execution of the foregoing Deed from J D Kerr to Henry Kerr was this day duly acknowledged before me by J D Kerr the grantor. Let the same and this certificate be registered 
This 26th day of May 1880                       D A Culbreth
                                                                     Probate Judge 

Registered June 2nd 1880           Josiah Robingson Regs.

So my 2nd great grandfather purchased his first piece of land in May 1879. This was really exciting for me to find because I now know I have early property owners on both my maternal and paternal lines.

In 1880, Henry Kerr's occupation was listed as turpentine laborer in the census. I wondered who he may have worked for. What a wonderful surprise to find an article on-line written by Fred C Kerr a descendant of John D Kerr, the man my 2nd great grandfather purchased his property from. To read the article please click on the following link:

The article gives lots of details about the life of John D Kerr. He was a farmer, lawyer, and businessman. One of his businesses just so happened to be a turpentine distillery. I guess I have a pretty good bet who Henry worked for.

Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: 1217; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0091; FHL microfilm: 1241217

With the land Henry Kerr purchased from John Kerr, he went on to have his own farm. He and his wife Tina Jane Murphy Kerr had six children together as evidenced by the 1900 Federal census. Four of those children were still living as of that year. 

Children of Henry Kerr and Tina Jane Murphy Kerr:

Henry Tupper Kerr (b.1878--d.1940)
Murchison Kerr (b.1880--died before 1900)
Ida Kerr Brown (b. 1883--d.1968)
Emma Kerr (b.1886--?)
Ellen "Ella" Kerr Smith Dixon --my great grandmother

I'm still researching my 2nd great grandfather, Henry Kerr. As I learn more, I will continue sharing. 

In the meantime, Happy Researching!


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