From Bio Book on Washington County PA 1893
William Kerr, who was in his lifetime a much respected citizen of East Finley township, was descended from Irish ancestry. His grandfather, Hugh Kerr, was a prominent weaver and manufacturer of County Down Ireland.
Andrew Kerr, son of Hugh, was born February 14, 1768, in Ireland, and learned the trade of a weaver. He emigrated to America at the age of eighteen, landing, after a voyage of thirteen weeks, at New York, and thence proceeding to Buffalo township, Washington Co., Penn., where in the spring of 1787 he purchased about six hundred acres of land, situated nearly four and a half miles northeast of Claysville, this county. There in the un broken wilderness he erected his cabin home, and in 1805 was married to Esther Stevenson, born November 18., 1782, near the present village of Coon Island; she was the daughter of James Stevenson, a native of Washington county. To this union were born the following named children: Jane (Mrs. Jessie Bane), born October 30, 1806; Robert (married to Nancy Vanderhuff), born may 6, 1808; James, born December 18, 1810; William (subject of the present memoir); Elizabeth, born December 17, 1816, and Esther, born December 15, 1818, all of whom lived to an adult age. Several years after the marriage of Andrew Kerr, his aged parents left their native land to spend their declining years with their son. His mother was a physician, and successfully followed that profession in this country until 1822, when both she and her husband died of yellow fever. Andrew became a wealthy farmer, but afterward sold the greater portion of his property to “give bail” for a nephew, and this expense almost ruined him. He continued to live on the farm until his death, which occurred July 15, 1850, his wife having preceeded him august 14, 1849. They were both buried in Pleasant Grove cemetery, East Finley township, this county, and their children rest beside them. Mr. Kerr was an active supporter of the Democratic party. In religious connection he united with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and the letter of recommendation which he brought to America in 1786 is still in the possession of his grandchildren.
William Kerr was born December 27, 1813, in Buffalo township, Washington Co., Penn.,, and received a somewhat limited education, spending his boyhood days on the farm of his father. He also acquired a general knowledge of carpentry from practical experience. On October 31, 1837, he was united in marriage with Cynthia Peden, born April 15, 1817, daughter of Joseph and Hannah (Tilton) Peden, and to this union were born children as follows: James, born March 29, 1838 (a skilled carpenter and contractor, residing in Wheeling, W. Va); Robert, born September 26, 1839, farming on the home place; Andrew, born July 30, 1841 (deceased December 5, 1881); and Hannah, born January 28, 1843 (living with her mother on the home farm). After his marriage Mr. Kerr purchased, of David Peden, a tract of land in East Finley township, situated about two miles west of Pleasant Grove, where he lived and followed farming until his death, which occurred May 2, 1890. In politics he was always a Democrat and in religion he was an adherent of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, of which his widow was a charter member, and one of the three who are still living. Mrs. Kerr resides with her son Robert and daughter Hannah, who manage the home farm.