Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Grandfather's Education and Career

Columbian Quartette
R.P. Kerr, K.S. Mesick, H.H. Savereide, and M.E. Kerr
(click to enlarge)

When I found the photo above, taken by a photographer in Valparaiso, Indiana, it raised a question in my mind. Had my grandfather and his brother gone to college there? On a driving trip in the spring of 2002, I stopped briefly at Valparaiso University, where I hoped to find some records indicating my grandfather's attendance there as a student. I was not disappointed.

The archivist brought me a large record book of students' credits for 1911-1912, and on page 355 I found Rosmer P. Kerr listed as a student in the Commercial program. During second term, December 12-March 2, his grade for Actual Business was 80, and in Spelling he earned a 93.

Rosmer's brother Milton E. Kerr was a student in the Commercial program also. I found his record on p. 346. During the first term, he studied 1st Rhetoric (85), Mental Arithmetic (99), 3rd Type [typing, I presume], Parliamentary Law (80), and Debate (9N [I don't know what that means--possibly it was an illegible two-digit grade?]). Second term Milton studied III Phonography (94) and II Rhetoric [in my notes I've written "8 wks?" after this entry].

In April 1910, at the age of 17, Rosmer worked as a hotel clerk in Topeka, Kansas. His brother worked at the same hotel as a steward. After college, Rosmer lived in Detroit with his mother. In 1916 he was a clerk at Michigan Malleable Iron Company. That was the year he married my grandmother, Evelyn Hauer.

Rosmer was working as a metal polisher for Burroughs Adding Machine Company by 1917.

The following year, according to the Detroit City Directory for 1918, he was a stock tracer. But he soon settled into the career he would eventually retire from, that of purchasing agent for the City of Detroit.

In the foreground, Rosmer P. Kerr,
purchasing agent for the City of Detroit.
Dig those crazy socks!

Interestingly, in the early 1950s after his retirement, Rosmer returned to the hospitality industry in which he'd found his first job. He and my grandmother managed a motel for a time near Lexington, Michigan. I remember visiting them there. The motel was up on a bluff beside the highway, a block or two from a stony Lake Huron beach. There were Adirondack chairs, which I'd never seen before. They must have seemed odd to me, and very intriguing, as I remember little else about the place or our visits there.


Jasia said...

I love those crazy sox!

I enjoy the Lexington area. I've visited there a couple times and it always seems idylic to me.

Juliane's granddaughter said...

This is truly wonderful - a timetable of the life of your grandfather with his various educational and work pursuits. You do have a massive amount of great keepsakes. How lucky you are!

T.K. said...

Jasia, I love that those crazy sox were propped up on the desk so we could get a good look at 'em! Hah!

Jul's, I picked up a few more keepsakes while I was at my dad's... I feel a memorabilia post comin' on!

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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