KERR, Joseph, (1765 - 1837)

Senate Years of Service: 1814-1815
Party: Democratic Republican

KERR, Joseph, a Senator from Ohio; born in Kerrtown (now Chambersburg), Franklin County, Pa., in 1765; was privately tutored; moved to Ohio in 1792; employed by contractors furnishing supplies to troops in the Ohio Valley; surveyor; justice of the peace at Manchester, Adams County, Ohio, in 1797; appointed as a judge of the first quarter session court of Adams County, Northwest Territory, in 1797; elected clerk of the board of commissioners of Adams County; moved to Chillicothe in 1801, and farmed; deputy surveyor of the Virginia military lands in Ohio; became a leading industrialist, shipping produce by a fleet of boats to New Orleans for export; elected to the Ohio senate in 1804 and 1810, and to the Ohio house of representatives in 1808, 1816, 1818, and 1819; appointed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1806 as one of the commissioners to survey the road from Cumberland, Md., to the Ohio River; adjutant general of Ohio 1809-1810; appointed a brigadier general of Ohio Volunteers during the War of 1812; operated a hotel, slaughter house, salting establishment, cooperage, boat building works, and general merchandise business; supplied provisions to the Army of the Northwest during the War of 1812; elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Thomas Worthington and served from December 10, 1814, to March 3, 1815; was not a candidate for reelection; returned to Chillicothe, Ohio, and was proprietor of an inn 1815-1826; lost his extensive farm and was forced into bankruptcy; in 1826 moved to Tennessee, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits near Memphis until 1828, when he moved to Louisiana and purchased a homestead near Lake Providence, Carroll (now East Carroll) Parish; also purchased a plantation near Bunches Bend, La., and was engaged as a planter until his death at his homestead near Providence, August 22, 1837; interment in the family burying ground.


Dickore, Marie Palla, ed. General Joseph Kerr of Chillicothe, Ohio: Ohio's "Lost Senator". Oxford, Ohio: Oxford Press, 1941.