Our cousin Don Severs sent me
quite a treasure trove today by U.S.
It's "Aunt Matt's Family Tree," copyright
1934, revised in 1935 and
twice in 1939. For 38 typewritten pages, Martha Elizabeth Kerby Porter
recounts the tales of her branch of the southern Iowa/northern Missouri Kerby
family, circa 1880.
The account starts out: "Three brothers, Jesse,
soldier, Asa and Solomon, came from England before the Revolutionary War and
settled in the eastern part of the United States. They later settled in Warren
County, Kentucky, about the year 1795. Solomon Kerby married Frances Ellison
about 1794 and their first child was David R. Kerby, born Sept. 24. 1795 (died
Other sources indicate that the first of our line on
American soil was
Thomas Kerby III, who arrived in 1634 and had a son, Robert Kerby, born May 1,
1662 in New Pocoson, York County, Virginia - our first direct ancestor born in
America. We, I have been told, are descended from his second son, John Kerby,
born July 19, 1693 in Charles Parish, Virginia, also known as "Old John."
Old John married Johanna Owens in 1729. They had ten
sons: Francis, David, John Jr., Henry, Josiah, Jesse and William; and three
daughters, Joanna, Susannah, and Mary. David was born July 14, 1738 and during
the Revolutionary War took the Oath of Allegiance and is listed in the
Daughters of the American Revolution's Patriot Index.
David and Elizabeth had ten children, Solomon, Jesse,
Samuel, Sarah, Zepphor, Elizabeth, Asa and Isaiah, according to The Virginia
Genealogist, Vol. 23, published in 1979, compiled by Larry Blackman.
Are these the Solomon, Jesse and Asa referred to by
Aunt Matt? The
names are uncommon enough for this not to be coincidence, right? We'll just
assume she didn't have the story straight about their origin.
One of the first stories she relates is about
Solomon's son David:
"David R. Kerby was 17 years of age when he
married Mary Rowland. they
had six children. Ewing Jefferson Jackson Rowland Torrence Kerby was their
first child. The father, thinking he might be the only child, named him for
his favorite presidents and relatives. When Weing was a boy, his friends used
to call him Ewing Jefferson Jackson Rowland That Tormenting Kerby. Of course,
changing the Torrence to Tormenting as children will do. Ewing married Sarah
Rollin (Aunt Sally), a cousin of his mother. They had two children, the first
being the first white child born in Appanoose County, Iowa, about a mile north
of Cincinnati, Iowa. Their names are as follows . . .
The first section of "Aunt Matt's Family
Tree" is mostly the children
and grandchildren of David R. Kerby. The second section is titled "Incidents
about David R. Kerby." Among them:
"In November 1833, David Kerby and Mr. Duncan
were sitting around a
campfire after a day of hunting. They were about startled out of their wits by
the unusual meteoric display. Mr. Duncan and another man were playing cards
and thought the falling stars heralded the last day, so they threw the cards
in the fire and got down by a log and went to praying. Grandfather said he
never head a man pray so hard in his life."
Allegedly the meteor storm had the same effect on a
American woman who "was going down to the spring for water the night the stars
fell. She threw her bucket down and started up the hill shouting,
"Hallelujah, I'se gwine farther up de hill to meet Jesus."
What follows are quite a few anecdotes -- many of
them of the Foxfire
nature, describing how early Kerbys made their own ink, how school was taught
(with kids studying aloud as well as the alternative "silent" method) and how
boys teased girls in the 1800s. It describes Aunt Matt making dye and spinning
cotton. There's a story of an Uncle Ike who told stories about knowing Daniel
Boone, pranks, and the story of a little sister who killed a pet chicken,
angering her bigger sister who loved the animal.
On which side were our forebears during the War
Between the States? I
was always raised with Southern sympathies. According to Aunt Matt, the Kerbys
On page 19, Aunt Matt tells:
"When Uncle Asa died, he left two old feeble
darkies. His daughter
Nancy said she would take care of them and they should never be sold as long
as she could take care of them. The old darkies were named Uncle Pete and
Uncle Joe. It was rather hard to get enough coffee, but Nancy's daughter
Melissa said that if anyone got coffee, it would be old Uncle Pete, who was
most feeble. So every morning, she would pour the coffee out first for him and
take it to his cabin."
Aunt Matt also relates the mysterious murder of a
young Tommy Kerby in
1863, which is followed by this reference to his grieving mother: "Tommy's
mother said she never had anything she loved but that it had been taken away
from her. When she was small, her father had given her a little negro girl as
her own to play with. She had great times with the child and one day missed
her. After searching, she found her drowned in a spring."
There are recollections of David Kerby's beautiful
ability to pray, his
career as a preacher, and his very low opinion of Mormon leader Brigham Young.
On page 22, there's this tidbit:
"Old Aunt Tilda" told Aunt Matt the reason
she married a Kerby was that
the Kerbys were the "Royal Family."
The stories continue -- more Foxfire-type stories of
such things as how
to deal with tobacco worms. Then there is this on page 27:
"Aunt Matt says that no record is known of any
Kerby being convicted of
crime, in jail or divorced."
Here's a cute story: "Sam Kerby was always the
pet of the family. One
day, he and his brother Dave were out in the field. They plowed up a nest of
baby rabbits. David fixed them back as best he could. During the night, Dave
heard Sam crying and he asked him what was wrong. He said, "Why, that old
mother rabbit never will find those little rabbits." So Dave got up and
dressed himself and Sam and took the lantern and sent out in the field where
the rabbits had been. they were gone. (Aunt Matt said the dog probably ate
them.) Dave said, "See the old mother rabbit has come and gotten them." So
that satisfied Sam and he went home and was asleep in no time.
There are several poems by various relatives.
On page 38, it all wraps up with this story:
One time there was a boy in the neighborhood who was
thing. He wanted to go a-sparking. So. he went to a neighbor's house and asked
the girl who was about 15 to go with him to a meeting [church service] five
miles away. he had a big long legged horse for the girl to ride with a side
saddle. His own mount was a little pony. A wagon load of Kerby children were
going to the meeting, too. they saw the two riders ahead of them. All at once
they saw the girl slip over sideways in the ditch. The girths slipped and the
girl, saddle and all went over. the boy didn't know enough to ride on the side
facing the girl, but was on the right side with her back to him. When she went
over, he stood up in the stirrups and peered over to see what had become of
her. David said disgustedly "Well, why don't he get down and help her up?" She
was lying flat on her back in the ditch. Cousin Mac Sawyer said, "Well, he is
a-trying to find her." They were all so tickled they laughed the rest of the
evening. The meeting didn't do them any good, they were so tickled.
All, in all, this is fascinating, colorful stories,
rich detail of life
in the late 1800s and Aunt Matt's personal thoughts on who is related to whom.
Some of it is a little sparce. As to my family's direct line, she recounts the
sons and daughters of David Robert Kerby, and their marriages and children and
grandchildren. Of my line, she notes that David Robert's son "Ervin married
Susan Bland, she died, he married Margaret Sumpter, 2 c: Dave married Ota
Wells, 2 children, Ford, Ellen Wells; Josephine married Perkins, 5 children:
Ruth (I met Ruth aged 13 at time of Glenwood reunion, 1935) . . ."
Well, that is accurate, but a little meager. Erven
Jasper Kerby was
born Sept. 9, 1836 in Putnam County, Missouri. He had four children with his
first wife, Elizabeth, who died in 1854, then four more with his second wife,
Erven Kerby's eldest son, David Marion Kerby, was
born in 1880 in
Appanoose County, Iowa. His youngest son, Ford Erven Kerby, born in 1899 and
died in 1987, was my grandfather.
Is "Aunt Matt's Family Tree" a good read?
Send me a self-addressed envelope with enough postage
to tote 38 pages
your way and I will send you a copy. I will even pay the postage of the first
person who offers to type it in to post to the Kirby-Kerby database.
Let me know if you are interested.
Green Forest, Arkansas
*David R. Kerby, 1795 - 1882, was a
Baptist preacher, fiddle maker and player, and a cooper. He was born in Kentucky amid the
pioneers there, including Daniel Boone, who was his neighbor. He moved his family to
Monroe County, Missouri, then to Randolph County, around 1818, then to Putnam County in
about 1842. He had 26 children by his three wives. He was a man of extraordinary physical
prowess and physique and he loved hunting. He loved to tell the tale that, as a young man,
he could carry a freshly-killed deer in his teeth while he climbed a tree to put the deer
out of reach of bears and other animals. His descendants are legion, and many of us stay
in touch through the Annual Kerby Reunion in Glenwood, Missouri each Fathers Day.
(If this mailing was addressed to you, then you are probably descended from Grandpa David.
Thanks to the Kerby/Kirby discussion group on the Internet, weve also found quite a
few descendants of Davids siblings, Asa Kerby and Agnes Hudson, as well as many,
many cousins descended from his great grandfather, John Kerby, 1693 - 1792.)
Family Patriarch Receives His Reward
David R. Kerby, preacher, farmer and
father of 26 children, departed this life on Tuesday, June 13, 1882, having attained the
age of 86 years, 8 months, and 29 days. Grandpa David, as he was known throughout the
county, was of keen mind, resolute spirit, and firm physique until the last days of his
life, when he grew weak and died in his sleep. He was born in 1795 in Warren County,
Kentucky and moved his family to Monroe County, Missouri, then to Randolph County, around
1818, then to Putnam County in about 1842. He married his first wife, Mary Jane Rowland,
in 1814 and they were united for ten years. She bore him 6 children, dying at age 30
during the birth of a daughter, Mary, who also died at birth. He then married his first
wifes niece, Nancy Johnson, and they celebrated 25 years of marriage before she died
at age 44. Nancy bore him 12 children, 9 of whom lived to maturity. He then married Sarah
Ann Humphrey, 33 years his junior, and they had been married 31 years when Mr. Kerby died.
She was an excellent mother to his 14 living children, as well as bearing him 8 more. In
all, his wives gave him 26 children and he provided for them all, materially and
spiritually. He left many to mourn his passing, including his wife, Sarah Ann Humphrey
Kerby, a brother, Wade Kerby, 17 children, 88 grandchildren, 77 great grandchildren, and 2
great, great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first two wives, 3 brothers
and 3 sisters, 9 children, and 15 of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was
interred on the family farm in Putnam County near the Iowa border.
Recent joys of note illustrate the
invaluable legacy Grandpa David left to us. His 26th and youngest child,
Winifred, just had her first child, a girl, Lutie, in April of this year. His son, Erven,
is expecting his 6th child, due at any moment. A grandson bearing Grandpa
Davids name was born earlier this year. And a great grandson, Mora Joseph Stevens,
was born the very day of Grandpa Davids passing. These gifts of abundance surely are
blessings from our Creator honoring this faithful servant, husband and father.
Don Severs <email@example.com
Greetings, I'm looking for information on
an Asa B./Acey KERBY born about 1842
in (according to Frank's death certificate) Chilcautha (I believe they were
trying to spell Chillicothe), Missouri. Wonderful internet people have filled
in a lot of the gaps for me, and now I'm up to this much info. Frank KERBY is
my great grandfather. This info is so new it's not even up on my web page yet!
If you might have any info to help, I would sure appreciate it! Or would be
glad to share any of the info I have with a cousin!
Descendants of Asa B. Kerby
Generation No. 1
1. Asa B.1 Kerby was born Abt. 1842 in Chillicothe, MO, and died
1902 in Jackson Co., Oregon. He married Katherine Wooldridge Bef. 1868.
Children of Asa Kerby and Katherine Wooldridge are:
+ 2 i. Joseph M2 Kerby, born January 18, 1868; died July 15, 1926 in Jackson
+ 3 ii. William F. Kerby, born Abt. 1869 in OR; died October 31, 1930 in
Jackson Co., Oregon.
+ 4 iii. George H Kerby, born Abt. 1874 in OR.
+ 5 iv. Frank Kerby, born May 04, 1877 in Junction City, OR; died December 23,
1937 in Jackson Co., Oregon.
Generation No. 2
2. Joseph M2 Kerby (Asa B.1) was born January 18, 1868, and died July 15,
in Jackson Co., Oregon. He married Ada B. Abt. 1889.
Children of Joseph Kerby and Ada are:
6 i. George O3 Kerby, born Abt. 1891.
7 ii. Charlie Kerby, born Abt. 1893.
8 iii. Grace M Kerby, born Abt. 1905; Adopted child.
3. William F.2 Kerby (Asa B.1) was born Abt. 1869 in OR, and died October
1930 in Jackson Co., Oregon. He married Emma E. Abt. 1891.
Children of William Kerby and Emma are:
9 i. Leora P.3 Kerby, born Abt. 1892.
10 ii. George Asa Kerby, born March 12, 1892; died May 23, 1965. He married
(2) Ada Belle Williams June 19, 1921.
11 iii. Annabel Kerby, born Abt. 1894.
12 iv. William H. Kerby, born January 15, 1898; died September 23, 1902.
13 v. Mabel V. Kerby, born Abt. 1900.
14 vi. Eva L. Kerby, born Abt. 1909.
4. George H2 Kerby (Asa B.1) was born Abt. 1874 in OR. He married
Child of George Kerby and Florence is:
15 i. Emmet E3 Kerby, born Abt. 1906.
5. Frank2 Kerby (Asa B.1) was born May 04, 1877 in Junction City, OR, and
December 23, 1937 in Jackson Co., Oregon. He married (1) Mary Cabler October
12, 1895 in Yreka, CA. He married (2) Edna Etta Kingery March 17, 1910 in
Jackson Co, OR, daughter of Frederick Kingery and Edna Decker.
Notes for Frank Kerby:
In the marriage notice of Frank and his first wife Mary Cabler in Yreka, CA,
it said they were both from Talent, Jackson Co, OR.
Frank is buried in Stearns Cemetery, Talent, OR.
Marriage Notes for Frank Kerby and Edna Kingery:
Their marriage is V9, P 545 (or S45) by James R Neil, Co judge.
Child of Frank Kerby and Mary Cabler is:
16 i. Tollie3 Kerby, born October 03, 1896; died December 24, 1917.
Child of Frank Kerby and Edna Kingery is:
17 i. Ila Faye3 Kerby, born June 08, 1911 in Talent, OR; died March 29,
Jackson Co, OR. She married Jesse Debbs Williams December 16, 1929 in
Below is information I have recently found in my search for the parents of Asa
B. KERBY who wound up in Oregon. I don't have any facts to support William
KERBY and Polly BARTEE as the parents of "my" Asa except that the ages and
locations match up.
Does anyone have any information on these families which might help?
Williams, Grow, Kerby, Kingery, Edmunson, Akers
I have been working on trying to find
relatives of my family name of Kearby. I
have not been very successful, and was just wondering if you have any
information on the spelling of "Kearby," my grandparents (both of which are
now deceased) lived in southeast Missouri. I do know that my grandfather
William Frank Kearby moved to Missouri from French Lick, Ind., but I have not
been able to find any other information on this spelling. Thought maybe you
had run across it in some of your research.
Looking for Sophia Kerby (Kirkby) (Curby) b. 05/28/1835 Lafeyette
Co., MO. Married Moses Defreece 04/17/1853 in Atchison Co., MO.
Eventually settled in Fremont Co., IA.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I think that a very strong case could be made for your Asa to have been
the son of William & Polly (BARTEE) KIRBY. William married
Polly BARTEE on
20 Dec 1832 in Howard Co., MO. Their son Asa was born in 1834. I have
always assumed that he was born in Howard Co (or possibly Linn Co., MO).
Incidently, the town of Chillicothe was not formed until 1837. Anyway,
Polly died in about 1834. I have always suspected that she died in
childbirth or shortly afterwards. William then married Polly FINNELL on 06
Aug 1835 in Howard Co., MO and they moved to Linn Co., MO. William died on
11 Oct 1851 after being thrown from a horse while returning from church. I
do not know where he was buried; but it is probably in an unmarked grave in
Parsons Creek Cemetery. He was a deacon in the early formation of that
By the 1860 census, his children were distributed out among their aunts
and uncles. I have been able to trace most of the children (with the
exception of Asa). I also have found no further information on Polly
Finnell after William's death. Since Asa would have been 17 when his father
died; it is quite probable that he then struck out on his own.
I would be very interested in any further information that you find on
Asa and his ancestry. William's brother Asa is my gggrandfather and his
wife Eliza is Polly (FINNELL) KIRBY's sister.