|Death: ||Feb., 1937|
***NOTED EDUCATOR OF THE DEAF***
Lucy Van Meter Kerr was the daughter of Solomon Van Meter and Lucy M. Hockaday Van Meter. Her mother was a daughter of Irvine O. Hockaday & Emily Mills Hockaday. Both families lived in Clark county, Kentucky. Judge Isaac Hockaday, father of Irvine, died in 1819. Irvine settled his father's affairs and moved his family to Fulton, Missouri in 1821. It was the new frontier.
Lucy was raised on Solomon Van Meter's fine farm just north of Lexington. Her father was a man of solid character & reputation; such an expert judge of blooded livestock he was asked by the Northern Kentucky Importing Company to go to England to select shorthorn cattle & other stock for importation. Lucy was only ten when Solomon died. She had already lost her mother, & her father had married Martha Coleman Prewitt. So it is not surprising she would visit her Hockaday grandparents in Fulton where she would meet & fall in love with the handsome, dashing Kentuckian Dr. Edwin Monroe Kerr.
William Dabney Kerr, noted educator of the deaf from Danville, Kentucky had come to Fulton in 1851 to establish the Missouri School for the Deaf & serve as its first superintendent. Edwin was ten when he came to live on the new campus. He graduated from Westminster College & from Belleview Hospital in New York City. Upon return to Fulton he set up a medical practice & on October 18, 1871 Lucy VanMeter became his wife. Kerr hired noted architect M.F. Bell to build an elegant mansion for her, the first in Fulton to have a ballroom. The three story red brick home stood at 614 Market Street, next door to the magnificent home of Edwin's parents which had been built in 1872. Edwin was the school's physician. The young couple was thoroughly involved with the life of the town & the life of the thriving new school where there was much intellectual excitement.
Who could want more than Lucy had? Edwin's practice easily supported them. Grandmother Emily Hockaday lived in her mansion. Edwin's parents included the young Kerrs in ways that made life in a small town more meaningful. Edwin was a trustee of Westminster College & on the Board of Managers of the State Lunatic Asylum in Fulton. Six children were born to them.
In 1883 tragedy struck. Edwin experienced painful intestinal problems & suddenly he was dead. He was 42; Lucy 34. Within the year Edwin's mother died. Six months later, two year old Edwin, Jr. died. Edwin's sister Mollie Brown & her family moved in with William Dabney Kerr, next door and the Kerr children had two cousins at hand. We don't know how Lucy dealth with these losses; but we know that daughter Mary Belle became principal of prestigious Gunston Hall in the DuPont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. Daughters Susan & Elizabeth had long years of service as valuable teachers and advisors at the Missouri School for the Deaf. Daughter Lucy died when she was 23.
Lucy lived to be 88.
Much of the information in this article, including the photo, is taken from "Historic MSD: The Story of the Missouri School for the Deaf", Richard D. Reed, 2000.
(bio by: Anna Jaech)
Solomon Van Meter (1818 - 1859)
Lucy M Hockaday VanMeter (1823 - 1849)
Edwin M. Kerr (1841 - 1883)
Susan Buckles Kerr (1872 - 1935)*
John Stonestreet Van Meter (1845 - 1904)**
Lucy Hockaday VanMeter Kerr (1849 - 1937)
Isaac Cunningham Van Meter (1854 - 1906)**
Nelson Prewitt Van Meter (1857 - 1942)**
Solomon Lee Van Meter (1859 - 1928)**
Created by: PollysGranddaughter
Record added: May 17, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26880694