Saturday, January 24, 2015

James Kerr

James Kerr
Alma, Inkermann, Sebastopol and Balaclava.
born circa 1834
died 1 March 1879, Temuka, South Canterbury, New Zealand aged 45 years
reg. 1879/5235
buried Addington Cemetery, Christchurch, plot number: 148C

Ann Williams Bartlett

Death of Sergeant-Major Kerr.
A very serious and melancholy accident, attended with fatal results, happened to Staff Sergt.-Major Kerr, near Temuka, on Thursday afternoon. He had hired a buggy at Nicholas' livery stable, Temuka, and was driving out to Winchester to superintend the firing of the Temuka Volunteers for the district prizes when the accident occurred.

Several people noticed that the horse was going along the main road of Temuka at an unusual pace, and swerving from side to side as if it had got beyond the control of the driver. On nearing a part of the road known us Wheelband's corner, it is supposed that one of the wheels of the buggy came in contact with a large stone, as it was seen to bound upwards and throw the Sergeant-Major out on the road, where he fell heavily on his head. 

The horse then turned the corner sharp and overturned the buggy, breaking one of the shafts. Mr Wheelband and two others who saw the accident ran to Mr Kerr's assistance and picked him up. They discovered that he had a bruise on the head, and was quite insensible. Dr Hayes was sent for, and he arrived promptly and had the unfortunate man conveyed to the Royal Hotel, where, with the assistance of Dr Rayner, honorary surgeon to the Temuka Volunteers, he received every attention.

The patient had severe concussion of the brain, and he remained insensible during the whole of the night. It was thought that there was a possibility of his regaining consciousness, but death intervened at about 5 o'clock this morning. Deceased was quite insensible from the time of the accident till his death. The occurrence gave quite a shock to the people of Temuka.

Sergeant-Major Kerr leaves a wife and eight or ten children in Christchurch. He had done a great deal of service in his time, having been through the Crimean war and in the Indian mutiny. He was much respected in Christchurch and Lyttelton, and indeed in all other places where he was called upon to do duty as a Volunteer officer. An inquest on the body will be held at Temuka to-day.
Star, Issue 3398, 1 March 1879, Page 4


Star, Issue 3398, 1 March 1879, Page 3

Death of Sergeant-Major Kerr. 
We regret to learn that Staff Sergeant-Major Kerr died at five o'clock yesterday morning at the Royal Hotel, Temuka, from the injuries he received in the accident of the previous day.

Drs Hayes and Rayner did all that surgical skill could suggest, to ameliorate his condition, but their best efforts proved unavailing, the deceased never having recovered consciousness, and he breathed his last at the above-mentioned hour.

Staff Sergeant-Major Kerr was 45 years of age, and his death has cast quite a gloom over the township of Temuka, and indeed the whole district, where, owing to his connection with the Volunteer corps, he was well-known and highly respected.

His connection with the Imperial army was an eventful one. He was for fourteen years in the Royal Artillery in Captain Massey's battery, and went through, the whole of the Crimean war, taking part in the battles of Alma, Inkermann, Sebastopool [sic], and Balaclava. In these engagements he distinguished himself, and received the English Crimean medal with four bars and the Turkish Order of Medjijie [Medjidie].

He came to New Zealand with his battery during the war, and received the New Zealand war medal. He obtained his discharge in the Colony about ten years ago, and since that time has filled the post of Drill Inspector to the Artillery Volunteers in the Canterbury district, in which capacity he earned the esteem and regard of all who knew him.

He leaves a wife and nine children to mourn his loss. Mrs Kerr and his eldest daughter arrived from Christchurch yesterday, and were met at the Railway Station by Dr Rayner and Captain Young, who had the painful duty of breaking the sad news to them.

An inquest will be held to-day at Temuka, after which the deceased will, be removed to Christchurch for burial, probably by the express train, in which case a party of the C Battery, N.Z.A. will escort the body to the railway station, and a number of the T.A.V. Cadets will join the cortege.

We should mention that the late Sergeant-Major won four medals in all, those above enumerated, and a fourth, the name of which we are unable to learn.
Timaru Herald, Volume XXX, Issue 1387, 1 March 1879, Page 2

Turkish Order of the Medjidie

The Inquest. An inquest on the body of Sergeant-Major Kerr was held at the Royal Hotel, Temuka, on Saturday, before A. Le G. Campbell, Esq., Coroner, and a jury, of whom Alex. Wilson was chosen foreman. The facts elicited in evidence were substantially the same as already reported, and the jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death."

After the inquest the body of deceased was followed to the railway station by a large number of volunteers from Temuka, Winchester, and Timaru, most of whom went by the express train, which conveyed the body to Christchurch, so as to be present at its interment.  

The Funeral.
The funeral took place yesterday afternoon, and was marked by the customary military honours. The procession was announced to leave for the Presbyterian Church, Addington, at 3 o'clock, and prior to that hour all the headquarters companies of Volunteers, as well as the No. 5 Canterbury Rifles and Constabulary, paraded at the drillshed under the general direction of Captain J. Cr. Hawkes. The Artillery Company, was in charge of Captain Craig, the Engineers under Lieut. Woolf, City Guards under Lieut. Perran, Christchurch Cadets under Captain Johnson, Constabulary under Supt. Hickson, and the Fire Brigade under Supt. Harris. The members of the Masonic Lodges of Christchurch and Lyttelton, and members of the Oddfellows' Order, and a large number of citizens and friends were also in waiting at the drillshed.

Precisely at 3 o'clock the coffin, covered with the Union Jack and bearing the busby, sword and accoutrements of the late Sergt.-Major, was brought out from the Artillery orderly room and placed on a gun  carriage.

The procession then moved slowly away from tho Drillshed in the following order:- Toomer's and the Yeomanry Cavalry Bands gun-carriage, drawn by two horses, and driven by artillery gunners; mourning carriage; Artillery Company (with arms reversed); Engineers City Guards No. 5 Company Canterbury Rifles; Cadets; Constabulary; Masonic, and other Friendly Societies; Fire Brigade, and general public.

The cortege moved up Cashel street, Oxford Terrace, and Lincoln road, towards the Addington Cemetery, the Bands playing the Dead March in Saul the while. As the procession passed through the streets named, every spare foot of ground was covered by those eager to see or take part in the mournful proceedings, and the cortege, before reaching its destination, assumed larger proportions than has been known in Christchurch for some time past.

At the Cemetery gate, the Volunteers and Constabulary turned inwards, and the coffin, borne by some members of the Battery of which the deceased was Sergeant Major, and headed by the Rev C. Fraser was conveyed down the lane to the grave, prepared for its reception. The Rev C. Fraser very impressively conducted the burial service, which was listened to attentively by an immense congregation of people. The customary three volleys were fired over the body, which was then lowered into the grave, and the mournful ceremony terminated.

Star, Issue 3399, 3 March 1879, Page 3

family of James and Ann Williams Kerr:

1. Annie Kerr (eldest daughter) married 25 March 1881 at "Inkermann Cottage" St Albans, by the Rev. D. Bruce, Edwin Clark of Rakaia.

2. James Charles Kerr, born circa 1864, reg. 1864/21032, died 15 October 1893, Melbourne aged 29 years

3. Catherine Kerr born circa 1866, reg. 1866/15042 

4. Christina Kerr (third daughter) born circa 1868, reg. 1868/27777, married 30 March 1887 at the residence of the bride's sister, Union Street, Dunedin by the Rev. Dr. Stuart, Henry Trott, Esq. Springston Canterbury, late of Somerset, England   

? 5. George Bartlett Kerr born circa 1869, reg 1869/29849

6. Elizabeth Frances Kerr (fourth daughter), born 25 October 1871 Lyttelton, reg. 1871/11521, married 30 June 1891 at the Alford Forest Hotel, Henry Thomas Knight, eldest son of Henry Knight of Alford Forest.

7. Margaret Ellen Kerr, died about 28 March 1873, buried Addington Cemetery, plot number 148A

8. Dixon Major Kerr, born at "Inkermann Cottage" St Albans, Christchurch 18 April 1874, reg. 1874/28426, died circa 1954 aged 80 years, buried Bromley Cemetery, married 1901 Mabel Elizabeth Compton, born circa 1873, New Zealand, died 2 June 1954, buried Bromley Cemetery.
          a. William Dixon Kerr, born circa 1902, reg. 1902/3474 died 1965 aged 63 years, married 1929, Elizabeth Ella Habgood Sabiston
          b. Henry James Kerr, born circa 1903, reg. 1903/19949 died 1970, married Vera May Caesar
          c. Kathleen May Kerr born circa 1904, reg. 1904/632 
          d. Eric George Kerr, born circa 1905, reg. 1905/18900, found drowned at Sumner in 1928 aged 22 years 
          e. Leslie Francis Kerr, born circa 1908, reg. 1908/14907 
          f. Trevor Patrick Kerr, born circa 1914, reg. 1914/5216

9. Edward Richard Kerr born 6 December 1875, St Albans, reg. 1875/14359

10. Joan Kerr (Tottie), born circa 1877, Christchurch, reg. 1877/2144, died about 22 March 1910, buried Addington Cemetery plot number 148B, aged 32 years married 3 June 1909 by the Rev N. Turner, at residence of Mrs Kerr, Bealey Ave., Christchurch, Charles Henry Preece (tailor), son of John Preece and Emma Pugh.

11. Emily Kerr (seventh daughter) born 2 October 1878 "Inkermann Cottage" St Albans, reg. 1878/8995, died at "Inkermann Cottage" St Albans aged 18 days, buried Addington Cemetery, plot number 148A.


James Kerr's widow married secondly 22 December 1884 at Christchurch Phillip Tisch, he died sometime before July 1892, Ann Tisch, formerly Kerr died 6 December 1900 at the residence of her daughter, 25 Gloucester Street, Linwood, buried Addington Cemetery.

Press, Volume XXXI, Issue 4253, 17 March 1879, Page 3

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