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Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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.

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Asa Kerby, one of the prominent citizens of Polk County, Mo., was born in Howard County, Mo., in 1829 (October 4), his parents being John and Mary (Whorton) Kerby, who were born in Kentucky and Virginia, respectively. They were married in the “Blue Grass State,” February 2, 1825, and there continued to reside until 1828 when they came to Missouri, and located in Howard County, where they spent the rest of their days. The father was born February 2, 1806, and died February 16, 1870. The mother was born the 17th of January, 1806, and died in 1882. They were members of the Missionary Baptist Church for many years, and took great interest in church work. During the late war Mr. Kerby served in the Confederate army, and was at the battle of Silver Creek, where he was wounded in the shoulder by a musket ball. He was soon after captured, and after taking the oath of allegiance returned to farm life, at which he was quite successful. He was a Democrat throughout life, but was never an aspirant for office. His father, John Kerby, was born in Virginia, and died in Howard County, Mo., having followed the occupation of farming throughout life. The Kerby family are of English descent. Asa Kerby, the immediate subject of this biography, received his early education in the old log school of early times, and, as he has been very fond of reading all his life, he is now one of the intelligent and well posted men of the county. After remaining at home until he attained his majority, he hired out as a farm hand for eleven months, but since that time has successfully farmed on his own account in Howard, Randolph and Polk Counties. He moved to Randolph County in 1855, and to the latter county ten years later. Previous to the late war he was a Democrat in politics, but since 1860 he has affiliated with the Republican party, by whom he was elected to the office of public administrator in 1872, and held the position four years. February 13, 1851, he was married to Susan J. Warford, a daughter of John and Mary Warford. She was born in Howard County, Mo., November 28, 1832, and her union with Mr. Kerby has resulted in the birth of six children, four living: Mary A., wife of D. K. Griffen, a farmer of Meade County, Kan.; Sarah E., wife of George W. Edmiston, a farmer of Laclede County, Mo.; John W., farming near home; and Fanny M., wife of H. J. F. Caldwell, a farmer of Polk County, Mo. Those deceased are James B., who was five years of age at the time of his death; and Jennie M., who was about four years old. Since twenty-one years of age Mr. Kerby has been an earnest member of the Missionary Baptist Church, of which he has been a deacon for a number of years, his wife being also a member of that church. He belongs to the Agricultural Wheel. During the late war he espoused the cause of the Union, and for a short time served in the State militia. His family were all Southern sympathizers.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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