KERN, John Worth, (1849 - 1917)

Senate Years of Service: 1911-1917
Party: Democrat

Courtesy U.S. Senate Historical Office

KERN, John Worth, a Senator from Indiana; born in Alto, Howard County, Ind., December 20, 1849; attended the common schools and the normal college at Kokomo, Ind.; taught school; graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1869; admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Kokomo; unsuccessful candidate for election to the State house of representatives in 1870; city attorney of Kokomo 1871-1884; reporter of the Indiana Supreme Court 1885-1889; member, State senate 1893-1897; special assistant United States district attorney 1893-1894; city solicitor of Indianapolis 1897-1901; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Governor in 1900 and 1904; unsuccessful candidate for Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket with William Jennings Bryan in 1908; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1911, to March 3, 1917; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1916; Democratic caucus chairman 1913-1917; chairman, Committee on Privileges and Elections (Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth Congresses); died in Asheville, N.C., August 17, 1917; interment on the Kern estate near Hollins, Va.; reinterment in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Ind., in 1929.


Dictionary of American Biography; Oleszek, Walter J. “John Worth Kern: Portrait of a Floor Leader.” In First Among Equals: Outstanding Senate Leaders of the Twentieth Century, edited by Richard A. Baker and Roger H. Davidson, pp. 7-37. Washington: Congressional Quarterly, 1991; Sehlinger, Peter J. “John W. Kern: A Hoosier Progressive.” In Gentlemen from Indiana: National Party Candidates, 1836-1940, edited by Ralph D. Gray, pp. 189-217. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1977.