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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
John McKerrall


JOHN McKERRALL, one of the well known and substantial citizens of Chatham, is a worthy representative of one of the pioneer families of County Kent, one which brought from Scotland the habits of industry and thrift which are necessary contributions to the prosperity of any community. 
 
John McKerrall, the grandfather of the above named John McKerrall, was born in South End, Argyllshire, Scotland, and there married a daughter of the McNaughton family.  They became the parents of these children:  Hugh; John; Peter; Jennette, who married John McKay, and is now deceased; Katherine, who became Mrs. Donald McCorvie and is now deceased; and Dougald, who was the father of the subject of this sketch.  The father died in Scotland, and his widow accompanied some of her children to Kent County, about 1828, and they settled in what is now the township of Chatham.  This pioneer mother died there in 1835. 
 
Dougald McKerrall was the eldest son, and was born in Argyllshire, Scotland, October 9th, 1792, and he died in Chatham, Ontario, April 6th, 1880.  In 1817 he was married to Jane Breckenridge, who was born February 6th, 1797, in Argyllshire, and died in February 1872.  In 1850 they came to Ontario and followed farming in the township of Chatham for many years.  Their son Peter now owns and resides on the old homestead, located about eight miles from the city of Chatham.  To Dougald McKerrall and wife were born these children:  Hugh, born October 16th, 1821, resides on Victoria avenue, Chatham; Margaret, born January 1st, 1825, married Alexander Ralston, and now resides in the State of Illinois; John, born October 29th, 1826; Jennette, born November 12th, 1832, became Mrs. Brodie, and is now deceased; Jane, born May 25th, 1837, became Mrs. McCoig, and is deceased; and Edward, born March 27th, 1839, is a well-to-do farmer in Harwich township near the City of Chatham.  Hugh Breckenridge, the maternal grandfather of this family died in Scotland and his widow some years later, in the State of Ohio.
 
In 1848, John Kerrall, the subject of this sketch, preceding his parents to Ontario, settled in what is now known as Scotch Settlement, in Chatham township.  In 1849, in parternship with his brother-in-law, Alexander Ralston, he purchased 100 acres of land in that township, this property now being owned by his brother Peter.  Later he sold his interest to his partner, and, in 1854, moved to Chatham, at which time, the beautiful and stately Victoria avenue was a cow pasture.  Mr. McKerrall purchased a lot at the north-east end of the Fifth street bridge, and there carried on business for twenty-six years.  About 1880 he retired from active life, built his comfortable residence on Victoria avenue, and there enjoys the evening of life surrounded by the comforts provided by his years of industry.
 
In 1856 Mr. McKerrall was married (first) to Miss Mary McLean, who died on March 3, 1860.  Four children were born to this union, of whom only Jane, the wife of James Holmes, Esq., survives.  In 1862 Mr. McKerrall married Jane Paxton, who was born in 1838, to whom two children were born, one of these being deceased, and the other John A., a merchant in Chatham.  For several years Mr. McKerrall has been an elder in the First Presbyterian Church in this city, and is held in universal esteem.  In politics he is of the Liberal faith.
 
p. 295

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