Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
ANDREW B. KERR. In going through a large establishment like the new Frisco shops in Springfield one is impressed at the sight of such a large number of beardless youths, and this is true all over the country, whether one visits machine shops, factories, foundries or whatever kind of industrial establishment, being constantly reminded that this is, according to the oft quoted phrase, "the age of young men." It is not the mission of the biographer to here expatiate on reasons or causes or explanations why this has come about, but the fact remains nevertheless that elderly men are much in the minority in such places. Andrew B. Kerr, while yet young in years, is discharging the duties of an important and responsible position, that of instructor of apprentices of the Frisco shops.
Mr. Kerr was born February 27, 1885, in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. He is a son of William J. and Margaret (McCracken) Kerr. They were both born in Pennsylvania, the father in 1861 and the mother in 1863, and there they grew to maturity, were educated and married and are still living in Allegheny county, that state, near Pittsburg. After attending a college, which is now the University of Pittsburg, William J. Kerr took up the study of law, but has never followed that profession, devoting his life to railroading. He was a call boy for the Pennsylvania railroad and has since held various positions with this company in the transportation department, and at this writing holds the responsible post as general yardmaster for that road in Pittsburg. His family consists of ten children, namely: Andrew B., of this sketch, is the eldest; John, Katharine, Herman, Margaret, William, Isabel, Herbert, Merideth and Norman. They are all living at this writing. Politically, the father is a Republican, and, fraternally, is a member of the Knights of Malta.
Andrew B. Kerr grew to manhood in his native state and there attended the public schools, but quit school when fourteen years of age and began work carrying mail in his locality. He later learned telegraphy in the railroad office there, and served his time in the Pennsylvania shops at Verona, as machinist, remaining there from May 21, 1901, to January 8, 1906. Not being satisfied with the education he had obtained, he quit the shop in the last mentioned year and entered Purdue University, at Lafayette, Indiana, made a good record and was graduated from that institution June 28, 1910, with the degree of bachelor of science; also received a degree from the mechanical engineering department. After leaving the university he began working as assistant engineer at the car barns of the Pittsburg Street Railway Company at Homewood, Pennsylvania. Later he went to work for the American Steel and Wire Company, in Pennsylvania, as machinist. From there he went to Yoakum, Texas, as a machinist on the San Antonio & Arkansas Pass Railroad, in 1911, being with this company but a short time when he took up a position as instructor and representative of The International Correspondence Schools, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in Yoakum, and in the spring of 1912 went to Omaha, Nebraska, as instructor and text book writer of the educational bureau of the Harriman lines, and in the spring of 1913 came to Missouri. He came to Springfield, Missouri, July 12, 1913, and secured employment as machinist in the Frisco shops. His ability was soon recognized and he was made instructor of apprentices of the shops of this company in Springfield, which position he is holding to the satisfaction of all concerned, being a young man of advanced ideas, capable, energetic and trustworthy. He has charge of all the apprentices, having under his care one hundred and twenty boys at the present time. He makes use of two class rooms, one at the old plant and another at the new plant. Each boy is required to attend his respective class two hours each week. They are given sufficient instruction to enable them to gain a general idea of all shop work. Mr. Kerr is making a great success in this undertaking and has aroused much enthusiasm in the work in his classes.
Mr. Kerr was married July 3, 1911, in Lafayette, Indiana, to Grace Ullman, who is a native of Tippecanoe county, Indiana, and a daughter of Emanuel and Caroline Ullman; the father is deceased, but the mother survives and still makes her home in Tippecanoe county, where Mrs. Kerr grew to womanhood and received good educational advantages.
The union of our subject and wife has been without issue.
Politically, Mr. Kerr is a Republican and a member of the Presbyterian church. He is a young man of fine mind and progressive ideas, and the future evidently has much of promise for him in his special sphere of endeavor.
Springfield-Greene County Library