Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.] p. 566-567 transcribed by Justin Legg, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, on September 12, 2000

Hanford Lester Kerr

HANFORD LESTER KERR, a well known real estate dealer of Kansas City, is a citizen of the type the state likes to call representative and is a native Kansan. He is conspicuous not alone of his own achievements, but as the son of that well remembered gentleman, Hanford Newell Kerr, the prominent Democratic statesman, banker and good citizen, whose admirable and striking personality has left its mark in many ways.

Mr. Kerr, of this review, was born in Johnson county, Kansas, June 19, 1860, and is the son of Hanford Newell and Sarah Ann (Morris) Kerr. Both father and mother were natives of Miami county, Ohio, the father having been a farmer and stock dealer in the vicinity of the little city of Troy. About 1856 they followed the tide of migration westward and took up their residence in Bloomington, Illinois, where they remained for about two years, subsequently removing to Wyandotte county, Kansas. Hanford Newell Kerr rented land and engaged in agricultural pursuits for a short time, then going on to Johnson county, where he remained until 1864, and about that year returning to Wyandotte county. Here he purchased one bundred and five acres of land from an Indian named Jacob Whitechaw, for this good sized tract paying what seems now the infinitesimal sum of thirty-three and one-third dollars in gold. This land is now within the city limits of Kansas City, Kansas.

Mr. Kerr's father was one of the most conscientious and industrious of men, and with enough of the practical about him to be successful. He was prominent and popular in Democratic politics and served one term in the state legislature. He was progressive in many lines and he and three other prominent men organized the first bank in Wyandotte county, known as the First National Bank. In 1873 the bank met with reverses on account of the financial panic of that year, but it is characteristic of the elder Mr. Kerr that all obligations were faithfully met, the bank suspending business. In matters religious Mr. Kerr was a free thinker; he was noted for his charity and benevolence; and by all his associates was held in high esteem. It was the fortune of this worthy man to live to ripe old age, his demise occurring at the age of eighty-nine years, while the mother's span of life was almost equal, her years being eighty-five when she was sommoned[sic] to the Great Beyond.

The children of H. N. Kerr and his wife were eight in number, the subject being the youngest in order of birth. Sarah Ann, now resident in Florida, became the wife of T. W. Coombs, now deceased. James Wayne, who passed his life in this vicinity, died some twelve years ago, leaving a wife and five children. Laura married John Miller, resided for a time in Brown county, then came with her husband to this locality, and then to Oklahoma, where she died in 1889, the mother of five children. Emma became the wife of David Taylor, of Wyandotte county, and died in 1880. Corydon Weed is now in the real estate business in Kansas City, Kansas. One daughter, Abigail, died at the age of eight years and another died in infancy.

As previously mentioned, Hanford Lester Kerr was the youngest of his father's children. He received a common school education and found play for his youthful energies in the manifold duties to be encountered upon the farm. On the 30th day of November, 1883, he assumed the dignity and responsibilities of a married man by his union with Miss Nettie Cash, a resident of Wyandotte county. Their two children are Kenneth, who graduated from the high school of Kansas City, and is now at home, assisting his father in his business, and Orrel, the daughter, is still in attendance at the high school.

Mr. Kerr is fortunate in owning thirty acres of the original homestead, the circumstance of whose purchase has been told. He has erected a beautiful and picturesque residence, one of the most attractive hereabout, which is so situated as to command a fine view of Kansas City and the surrounding country. On his valuable little tract he has engaged very successfully in the raising of fruit and has eleven acres in grapes. For many years he has been buying and selling real estate and has built and sold many beautiful residences in the city. He and his family enjoy popularity and esteem. In religious conviction he, like his father before him, is a free thinker.

Biographical Index