My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Monroe County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

Benjamin F. Kerr is one of the early residents of Monroe County, and is a retired merchant and planter of Clarendon. He was born in what is now Hale County, Ala., in 1830, his parents, John W. and Margaret (Dial) Kerr, having been born in Lincoln County, Ky. and Newberry District, S. C, respectively, the former’s birth occurring in 1798. Their nuptials were celebrated in Greene County, Ala., and in 1852 they came to Monroe County, but the father did not long live to enjoy his new home, as he was taken sick while en route to St. Louis, and died in that city in 1855. He was a very successful man of business, having been a planter and merchant, and at the time of his death was quite wealthy. His father, James Kerr, was born in Scotland, and when a young man came to the United States and settled in Kentucky, where he made his home until his death. David M. Dial, the maternal grandfather, was born in the ‘‘Emerald Isle,” and died in Sumter County, Ala., in 1834, having been a wealthy farmer. Benjamin F. Kerr is the second of six children, and although his youth was spent at hard labor on the farm he succeeded in acquiring a good education, and after attaining his twelfth year attended school at Bridgeport, Conn., for two years, then Middletown, Conn., two years, and spent the three following years at Danville, Ky., graduating from a school at that place in 1849. He spent the following eight years with a wholesale house of St. Louis, and in 1855 came to Monroe County, Ark., and settled at Holly Grove, where he farmed until 1875. Since then he has resided in Clarendon, and, until March, 1877, he was engaged in the mercantile business, but since that time he has been retired from the active duties of life. He is quite well off as far as worldly goods are concerned, and has a fine farm of 300 acres and a good house in town. His wife, whose maiden name was Kate May and whom he married in Sumter County, Ala., in 1851, was born in Marengo County of that State, and by Mr. Kerr is the mother of four sons and two daughters. She is a daughter of Asel and Charlotte May, natives, respectively, of Alabama and Kentucky. The former died in his native State in 1835, and the latter’s death occurred in Rankin County, Miss. Mr. Kerr was a Whig prior to the war, but has since been a Democrat. He served the Confederate cause in the commissary department until 1863, and afterward went to Little Rock, where he was made recruiting officer. He was captured near Helena, in 1864, and was imprisoned at Camp Chase, Ohio, until just before the close of the war, when he was exchanged. He is a Knight Templar in the Masonic fraternity.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 86 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Monroe County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Monroe County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Monroe County, Arkansas family biographies, click here

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.