George Wilbert Kerr, who is enjoying a marked degree of prosperity as a farmer and stock raiser of Louisa county,
comes of a hardy race of pioneers and was horn in Henry county, Illinois, April 21, 1865, a son of Thomas Walker
and Amanda (Henninger) Kerr, the former of whom was born in Pennsylvania and the latter in Ohio. The parents were
married in 1859 and the father engaged in farming in Illinois. He died February 29, 1896, and his faithful wife
passed away November 11, 1908. In the family were nine children, namely: Ella, who married F. O. Withrow, of Geneseo,
Illinois; Amy, the wife of James Burton, of Kalispel, Montana; George Wilbert; Lena, who married E. E. Withrow,
of Los Angeles, California; Mina, who is the wife of Percy Davis, of Geneseo; James,
who lives in Louisa county; Thomas and William, both of whom are deceased; and Harry Z.,
of Louisa county.
The paternal grandfather of our subject was one of the very early settlers of Henry county, Illinois, arriving
in that part of the state when wild animals roamed at will over the prairies and the Indians were camped on the
streams. His wife counted as many as thirty five deer passing the door of their cabin in a single morning and the
settlers were obliged to constantly watch their fields in order to prevent the deer and other wild animals from
destroying the wheat.
Mr. Kerr of this review was reared under the favorable conditions of farm life and in his boyhood attended the
district schools. He continued at the homestead until he was twenty two years of age, when he bought fifty acres
of land in Henry county, later acquiring forty acres additional. After five years he sold out and invested in eighty
acres at Eldorado, Kansas, but remained in Geneseo for three years, being engaged in the real estate business.
He then bought eighty acres in Bureau county, Illinois, and also rented seven hundred and fifty acres, which he
cultivated to good advantage, ultimately becoming the owner of the old homestead of eighty acres at Geneseo, Illinois.
He made various investments, among which may be named the purchase of two hundred acres of good land in Louisa
county, Iowa, about 1908. In 1911 he traded all his properties in Illinois for one hundred and eighty four acres
in Louisa county and is now the owner of three hundred and eighty four acres in this county, all of which is in
Columbus City township. He carries on general farming and stock raising, and as he is prepared to do so upon an
extensive scale there is no doubt that his efforts will meet with abundant reward.
On the 18th of July, 1889, Mr. Kerr was married at Geneseo, Illinois, to Miss Fannie E. Farber, a daughter of Paul
and Anna (Ulan) Farber, the former of whom was born in Ohio and the latter in Pennsylvania. They are both now deceased.
The father arrived in Illinois in 1830 and entered land from the government upon the site now covered by the town
of Hillsdale in Rock Island county. This was in the early days of the state, when there were few settlers and the
country was largely unoccupied. He often told of having gathered the eggs of wild ducks and geese by the basketful.
At one time he drove an ox team to the mill at Rock Island and on the return trip the team became frightened and
ran away and the entire wagonload of grist was lost in the river. Later he moved with his family to Henry county.
There were two children in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Farber: Fannie E., now Mrs. George W. Kerr; and Catharine,
who married Warren Sykes, of Stoneville, South Dakota. Mr. Farber was twice married, his first wife being Mary
Ann Hill, a daughter of James Hill, for whom Hillsdale, Illinois, was named. By that union there were five children:
James W., of Mulvane, Kansas; William H. and Edward, of Geneseo, Illinois; Jane, the wife of Robert Clausen, of
Alpha, Illinois; and Sheldon, of Stoneville, South Dakota.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kerr were born nine children: Charles Wilbert, who was born July 6, 1890; Grace Gertrude, born
December 3, 1891; Paul W., born July 29, 1893; Bernice Amanda, born February 6, 1898; F. Everett, born February
28, 1900; Roy R., who was born February 28, 1902, and died February 29 of the same year; Irma, who was born May
9, 1904, and died the same day; Willis, born March 16, 1906; and George Samuel, born June 19, 1908.
Mr. Kerr inherited from sturdy ancestry many worthy traits of character that have assisted him materially in his
life work, He has witnessed many great advancements in agriculture and stock raising during the past twenty five
or thirty years and as he has through life been intelligent and progressive in his methods, he is now fully abreast
of the times in all details connected with his work. He is the fortunate owner of one of the valuable farms of
Louisa county, which is known as one of the most favorable agricultural regions of the state. Politically he is
a supporter of the republican party and fraternally is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America.
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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