52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #13 Clara Kerr -- She And Her Husband Were Together For Quite Some Time
Amy Johnson Crow, the author of the blog No Story Too Small, is the host of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link: Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.
I've chosen to go with my paternal 3rd great grandmother, Clara Kerr, for this week's ancestor. Much of what I know about her I've already shared on my posts regarding her husband, Jacob Kerr, and son, Henry Kerr. I know where she lived, the names of her children and who she married. What I didn't know was how long she had been married to her husband Jacob. Thanks to an update on Ancestry.com, I now have that information.
If you weren't aware of it, Ancestry.com has launched North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741--2011. For more information regarding this please check out the following link to the Ancestry blog: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/04/01/north-carolina-county-marriage-records/
Anyway, I can now say I know approximately when Clara and Jacob considered themselves married.
Image courtesy of Ancestry.com Source Information Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.
Jacob Kerr and Clara Kerr were both slaves prior to the Civil War. They weren't officially able to record their marriage until September 10, 1866 in New Hanover County, NC. They had lived as man and wife since 1843. Jacob would have been approximately 23 years old and Clara 16 years old at the time of their union. Jacob and Clara's oldest child, Daniel was born in 1844 so this seems to corroborate the marriage record.
It would seem to me that since they were married for such a long period of time and that they shared the same surname prior to their marriage that they had probably been enslaved together. I believe their probable slave owner was a white man named James Kerr of Sampson County, NC. This would be the very same James Kerr that Jacob and his son Gabe Kerr entered into a bond with in 1871 to purchase land. You can read more about that land purchase in my post Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land.
Clara Kerr was born around 1827 in most likely New Hanover County, NC. She was born a slave. She was a wife to Jacob Kerr and mother to at least 15 children. Clara most likely predeceased her husband because there's no mention of her in his will which was recorded in 1895 in Sampson County, NC.