Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dad's Dad, My Grandfather Joe

Joe Lee "Poppie" Kerr was born July 25, 1881 in Williamsburg, Kentucky.  At the age of 18 he married Almeada "Meade" Adkins also 18 years old.  How they met was told to me by my Uncle Joe Edward.  Poppie was working in a field with a friend when Meade and her friend rode up and let their horses drink in the creek.  Meade dropped the horses reins and asked Poppie to hand her the reins.  Poppie reached down and held the rein and said he would hand them to her if she would marry him.  They were married two weeks later in Clinton, Kentucky.  Meade died in May of 1909.  The recently widowed Mary "Mollie" Williams was hired as a housekeeper and nanny for Poppie and Meade's 2 children.  Care of Mollie's son Ernest was also included in the arrangement.  Again the practical yet impulsive Poppie is on his way to church with 3 children and their nanny when he asked Mollie to marry him since she was already taking care of his house and kids.  It turned into a prolific match (an additional 10 children) that lasted until his death in 1945.  This picture is Poppie in 1939 next to his Plymouth Business Coupe,

Another story that gives you some insight into what kind of man my Grandfather was is this one, that I transcribed from a story printed in the L & N Railroad Employees Magazine, December 1938.

On August 9, 1900, Joe Lee Kerr walked a little matter of fifteen miles to work a half-day on the Knoxville Division section gang.  It took Joe Lee five hours to walk this distance and report for work.  Mr. Kerr says this initial working day for the L & N Railroad was a real letter day for him, even though for a half day's work he received only fifty cents.  By the end of August he had out an even sixteen dollars - three five dollar gold pieces and one in silver.  From the back end of the old pay car Mr. Kerr was handed this gleaming treasure, and although his pay-days since have been considerably larger, this was the biggest payday eh ever received.  Mr. Kerr has recently rounded out 38 years of service with Old Reliable.  In all the time he has not been injured enough to lay off a day nor has he caused any other employee to be injured.  A cinder in his eye has been the extenet of his injuries.  The accompany picture was taken on August 15, 1938.  Mr. Kerr is employed today as a brakeman on the K & A Division from Etowah to Corbin.  He has a farm near Edgewater, Ten. which he plans to live on when he retires from service.  His biggest thrill and hobby is swapping horses.

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