north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     Born in Yanceyville and educated at Wake Forest College, John Hosea Kerr began practicing law in Warrenton in 1895. Locally he served as town attorney and as mayor. In 1916 he was elected judge of the Superior Court. Judge Kerr, as he was known thereafter, served on the bench until 1923.

     Upon the death of Claude Kitchin in 1923, Kerr was elected to represent the Second District in the United States Congress. He served in that capacity for fifteen terms, until 1952. He was the third generation of his family bearing the name John Kerr to be elected to Congress. In the House Kerr was active in agriculture, appropriation, and public building committees. The Kerr-Smith Tobacco Act of 1934, which he cosponsored, evolved into the subsequent program price supports and allotments for tobacco farmers.

     Kerr sought and received Congressional support in the 1940s for a flood control project on the Roanoke River. The lake created by the $100 million dam at Buggs Island, Virginia, was dedicated in October 1952 as the John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir. Kerr had been defeated for renomination a few months earlier. He died in Warrenton in 1958 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery. His son and grandson served in the state legislature.

William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, III, 356-357 – sketch by John H. Kerr III
John L. Cheney Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585-1979: A Narrative and Statistical History (1981)
Manly Wade Wellman, The County of Warren (1959)
(Raleigh) News and Observer, June 22, 1958
Location: County:

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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources