Theo F. Kerr

Theo F. Kerr, M. D. This gentleman is the pioneer physician and surgeon of Griggs county and has built an extensive practice throughout that region, and is widely known as an exemplary citizen and skillful practitioner. He has resided in Cooperstown since the early days of its history and has been liberal in rendering aid to all public projects. He is intelligent and progressive and therefore popular as a physician and social friend of his fellows. He has always labored for educational advancement and is one of the promoters of the school systems of that region.

Our subject was born near Owosco Lake, in Cayuga county, New York, May 29, 1846, and was the fifth in a family of eleven children, four sons and seven daughters, born to Alexander and Harriet (Hammond) Kerr. His father was a native of New Jersey and was married in Cayuga county. New York. A brother of our subject, John F., was a soldier in the Civil war, enlisting during 1864, and he was killed at Kinston, North Carolina, March 8, 1865.

Our subject remained in his native county until ten years of age, when he removed with his parents to a farm near Ann Arbor, Michigan. He attended the city schools and graduated from the high school, and then entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he took a degree in literature and art. He then went to California and accepted the chair Academy at Oakland, which position he filled from 1S69 to 1871 and during the next year he was principal of one of the public schools of Buffalo, New York. Here he began the study of medicine in the office of Dr. Thomas Lothrop, a prominent physician of that city, and then returned to Ann Arbor and took a course of lectures, and afterward pursued his studies in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and later in the Columbia University, graduating in the medical class of 1874. He then began the practice of his profession in Detroit, Michigan, and continued there until he went to North Dakota in the early 1880s. He located in Cooperstown before the railroad was built through that locality and experienced many hardships in the practice of his profession through that country. On one occasion he traveled about twenty-five miles to visit a sick man and upon his arrival found him in a dying condition in a sod hut, where Mr. Kerr was stormbound three days. The patient died, and a young man, who was his partner, and the Doctor were forced to stay with the corpse and subsist on meager rations three days before the storm broke sufficiently for the Doctor to return, and when he did he made the journey through a foot of snow the entire distance. Such experiences are of the past and Mr. Kerr now enjoys an extensive and remunerative patronage.

Our subject was married, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1874, to Miss Eliza Hill, a native of Washtenaw county, that state, and a daughter of Fitch and Martha Hill. Mrs. Kerr's father was a farmer and contractor and builder. Two children, both of whom are deceased, were born to Mr. and Mrs. Kerr, named Kenneth and Theo. Mr. Kerr was the first superintendent of schools of Griggs county and held the office until 1894, and he is one of the foremost men of the county from an educational as well as professional view. He has always affiliated with the Republican party in political faith.

Source:  Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota 1900 Page 409

News & Events