Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KERR, James, Canadian jurist, born in Leith, :Scotland, about 1764; died in Quebec, 5 May, 1846. He was educated at Leith and at the University of Glasgow, and in 1785 entered at the Inner Temple, London, where he was admitted to the English bar. In 1794 he removed to Canada, and in August, 1797, he was appointed judge of the vice-admiralty court at Quebec. He was made a judge of the king's bench in 1807. in 1812 was called by Sir George Prevost to the executive council, and in 1821 by the Earl of Dalhousie to the legislative council. During the absence of Chief-Justice Sewell in England, at various periods between 1814 and 1827, Judge Kerr presided in the court of king's bench, and in 1826-'7 was speaker of the legislative council. KERR, John, clergyman, born in Casswell county, North Carolina, 14 August, 1782; died 29 September, 1842. He was licensed to preach in August, 1801, and after travelling as an evangelist in South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia, he settled in Halifax county, Virginia, in 1805. In 1812 he was elected as a Democrat to congress, and served two terms, from 24 May, 1813, till 3 March, 1817. Returning to Halifax, he preached in the churches at Arbor and Mary Creek until March, 1825, when he became pastor of the 1st Baptist church in Richmond. His eloquence attracted a large congregation, and produced revivals in 1826-'7 and 1831 that added about 700 members to his church. Yet in 1831 a schism arose in consequence ef the preaching of Alexander Campbell, who had been invited to occupy the pulpit while attending the State constitutional convention in Richmond. The separation of nearly half his society caused Mr. Kerr to resign at the close of 1832.--His son, John, jurist, born in Pittsyl-vania county, Virginia; died in Reidsville, North Carolina, 5 September, 1879, was educated in Richmond, Virginia, studied law with Judge John S. Pearson, of North Carolina, and practised at Yanceyville, North Carolina He was the Whig candidate for governor in 1852, but was defeated by David S. Reid. The same year he was elected to congress, and served from 5 December, 1853, till 3 March, 1855. In 1858 and 1860 he was a inember of the legislature. During the reconstruction conflict he was arrested by the military authorities. Chief-Justice Pearson refused to issue an attachment against Colonel George W. Kirk, who held Mr. Kerr and other prisoners in custody under order of Governor William W. Holden (q. v.), on the ground that the power of the judiciary was exhausted; but Judge George W. Brooks, on 25 August, 1870, issued a writ of habeas corpus, and on its return ordered the prisoners to be released. Kerr's arrest and imprisonment brought hint into notice, and led to his election, by the legislature in 1874, to the bench of the superior court.
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