Collection processed by Don Walker and Leigh Johnsen
1998 and 2012 San Joaquin County Historical Society
11793 North Micke Grove Road
Lodi, CA 95241
Phone: (209) 331-2055
Fax: (209) 331-2057

Kerr-Hurd Family Collection, 1824-1962

Collection number: Ms42

San Joaquin County Historical Society
Processed by:
Don Walker and Leigh Johnsen
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Leigh Johnsen
San Joaquin County Historical Society. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Kerr-Hurd Family Collection
Date: 1824-1962
Date (bulk): 1849-1899
Collection Number: Ms42
Location: Erickson Vault
Extent: 2.8 linear feet
Contributing Institution: San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum
11793 North Micke Grove Road
Lodi, CA 95240
Language of Material: Records written in English
Abstract: The Kerr-Hurd Family Collection affords insights into medicine, society, politics, education, and family life in San Joaquin County, California, during the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It includes correspondence, diaries, account books, published material, memorabilia, medical books, and other material collected by San Joaquin County physician William Reed Kerr (1813-1861); his wife, Frances Brown Kerr (1849-1866); and other family members.

Access Information

Collection is open for research by appointment.

Conditions of Use

The library can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claimants of literary property.
Preferred citation: [Item name], Kerr-Hurd Family Collection, Ms42, San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum, Lodi, California.


William Reed Kerr (1813-1861) studied medicine at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. During this period, he married Frances Brown of Maytown, Pennsylvania. After receiving his license to practice (1843), Kerr moved with his wife to Miami, Ohio, where they produced a son, John Brown (1847-1922), and a daughter, Emma (1848-1941). After living in Ohio about five years, Kerr heard about the discovery of gold in California and resolved to go West with his family to offer his medical services to the miners of California. The Kerrs traveled to the Golden State via New Mexico and Arizona (1849), and, after many difficulties, including trouble with Indians and with quicksand along the Gila River, they arrived in San Joaquin County. There they established themselves on a ranch east of Stockton called "Sheltered Oaks." From this base, Kerr became a "circuit-riding doctor," traveling from mine to mine, ministering to the needs of the sick. Kerr also opened a pharmacy in Stockton. During their years in California, the Kerrs had other children, including William Jr. (1851-1872), Benjamin E. (1855-1897), Sarah (Fish) (b. 1857), and Louis C. Kerr. Kerr and hs wife were good friends of another prominent early physician in San Joaquin County, Dean Jewett Locke, who lived in the nearby hamlet of Lockeford. Both families participated in temperance society activities and in the establishment of the Republican Party in San Joaquin County (1856). Although William Kerr contracted typhoid and died suddenly at the age of forty-eight, his widow survived well into the twentieth century (1918). She later married a Mr. Russem. Kerr's eldest daughter, Emma California, attended the University of the Pacific and San Francisco Normal School, subsequently teaching school briefly in Merced County before marrying Charles E. Hurd of Stockton (1870). Hurd owned a dairy on the site of the present University of the Pacific campus near the Calaveras River until 1900. The family then moved to Lodi, where Hurd operated a ten-acre farm until his death (1935). The Hurds had eight children: Lila, Nell (Bessac), Clarence W., Frances (Manning), Ethel (Comfort), Lester K., Algae (Trewhitt), and Charles Jr. The Hurds' second daughter, Nell, married a Mr. Harry.

Scope and Content

The Kerr-Hurd Family Collection spans the years 1824 to 1962, with the bulk falling between 1849 and 1899. It consists of three series: 1. Family Papers, 2. Notebooks and Assorted Publications, and 3. Medical Books, each arranged in alphabetical order. The collection includes books, diaries, and account books of William Reed Kerr and his wife, Frances Brown Kerr (1849-1866), as well as mid-nineteenth century correspondence, diaries, and memorabilia produced or collected by their daughter, Emma California Kerr Hurd, and other family members. The collection also contains genealogical resources on the Kerr family, biographical material, a variety of guides and publications, and twentieth-century memorabilia relating to Emma Hurd, her siblings, and descendants. Of special interest are medical reference works that Reed collected during his career as a physician.

Access Points

Personal Names

Bessac, Henry William
Bessac, Nell Hurd (1888-1989)
Fish, Sarah Kerr (b. 1857)
Hurd, Charles E. (d. 1935)
Hurd, Emma California Kerr (1848-1941)
Kerr, Benjamin E. (1855-1897)
Kerr, Frances Brown (d. 1918)
Kerr, William Reed (1813-1861)
Kerr, William Reed, Jr.


California--Politics and government--1850-1950
San Joaquin County (Calif.)--History
Overland journeys to the Pacific
Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )--History
Temperance societies

Collection Contents


Series 1 Family Papers 1824-1962

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence, journals, diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, petitions, legal documents, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, advertisements, business cards, invitations, receipts, recipe books, and certificates. Arranged alphabetically.
Box 1, Folder 1

Bessac, Harry W. Letterhead as San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools, Undated

Box 1, Folder 2

Brown, G. W. Correspondence to Emma Kerr Hurd, 1863

Box 1, Folder 3

"Dawn at Rosewild," Unsigned Tribute to Grandmother, 1931

Box 1, Folder 4

Eureka Drug Store Advertising, Undated

Box 1, Folder 5

Hurd, Algae. Correspondence to Sister, 1899

Box 1, Folder 6

Hurd, Emma Kerr. Correspondence to Family Members, 1860-1875

Box 1, Folder 7

Hurd, Emma Kerr. Journal, 1860

Box 1, Folder 8

Hurd, Emma Kerr. Notebook on Kerr Family Life in San Joaquin County, 1849-1862

Box 1, Folder 9

Hurd, Emma Kerr. Notes on Family Genealogy, Undated

Box 1, Folder 10

Hurd, Emma Kerr. Notes on How William R. Kerr Was Cheated, Undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Jones, A. D. Account of Death and Funeral of William R. Kerr, 1861

Box 1, Folder 12

Kerr, Benjamin E. Documents and Awards Related to Penmanship, ca. 1877-1892

Box 1, Folder 13

Kerr, Benjamin E. Notebook of Students, 1875-1883

Box 1, Folder 14

Kerr, Benjamin E. Scrapbook, 1877-1878

Box 1, Folder 15

Kerr, Francis Brown. Ranch Account Book, 1852-1866

Box 1, Folder 16

Kerr, Sarah Jan Francis. Autograph Book, 1881-1893

Box 1, Folder 17

Kerr, William Reed. Diary of Trip from Colorado River to San Francisco, 1849

Box 1, Folder 18

Kerr, William Reed. Letter Regarding Stockton Beaver Supply and Farming Matters, 1855

Box 1, Folder 19

Kerr, William Reed. Notes on Organization of Republican Party in San Joaquin County, 1856

Box 1, Folder 20

Kerr, William Reed. Petition for Road Intersecting Upper Sacramento Road and Calaveras River, San Joaquin County, 1861

Box 1, Folder 21

Kerr, William Reed. Ranch Diary, 1853-1859

Box 1, Folder 22

Kerr, William Reed, and Benjamin E. Bessac, Account and Memoranda Book, 1885-1943

Box 1, Folder 23

Kerr, William Reed, Jr. Life Insurance Policy, 1871

Box 1, Folder 24

Kerr-Hurd Family Biographies and Newspaper Clippings, 1824-1962

Box 1, Folder 25

Kerr-Hurd Family Correspondence, 1904-1945

Box 1, Folder 26

Kerr-Hurd Family Memorabilia, 1840-1939

Box 1, Folder 27

Lodi Eastern Star Rosters, 1931, 1946

Box 1, Folder 28

Smith, Barbara Day. Correspondence to Emma Kerr Hurd, 1866

Box 1, Folder 29

Unattributed Manuscript Fragment of Two Boys Names Donald and George, ca. 1880

Box 1, Folder 30

Unattributed Recipe Book, ca. 1900

Box 1, Folder 31

Unsorted Invitations, Announcements, and Programs, 1873-1941

Box 1, Folder 32

Unsorted Business Cards and Advertisements, Undated

Box 1, Folder 33

Unsorted Receipts, Notes, and Certificates, 1864-1913


Series 2 Notebooks and Assorted Publications 1837-1937

Scope and Content Note

Includes books, pamphlets, notebooks, sheet music, catalogs, and periodicals. Arranged in alphabetical order.
Box 1, Folder 34

Blue Book for the Use of Subordinate Divisions of the Order of the Sons of Temperance. Cincinnati: C. Clark, 1853.

Box 1, Folder 35

California Nursery Company Price Lists, 1935-1937.

Box 1, Folder 36

College of the Pacific, Stockton, California, 1942, Football Facts. Stockton: College of the Pacific, 1942.

Box 1, Folder 37

The Debater: Official Journal of the Debating League of California, November 1913.

Box 1, Folder 38

Improved Class-Book for Sunday-School Teacher's Minutes. Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, Undated.

Box 1, Folder 39

Kerr, William Reed. Notes on Medical Lectures, 1837-1842.

Box 2, Folder 1

Kerr, William Reed. Notebook of Prices for Medicines and Herbs, Undated.

Box 2, Folder 2

The Nation in Tears! Dirge, in Memory of the Nation's Chief, Abraham Lincoln, 1865.

Box 2, Folder 3

Overland Monthly, June 1926.

Box 2, Folder 4

Services for the Use of the Grand Army of the Republic. Philadelphia: Town, 1917.

Box 2, Folder 5

Stockton, California, Daily Argus, August 15, 1856.

Box 2, Folder 6

Stockton, California, Free State Fair, June 26th-July 4th, 1900, 1900

Box 2, Folder 7

Stockton, California, Newsletter, 1904

Box 2, Folder 8

Stockton, California, Temperance Champion, February 1872.

Box 2, Folder 9

Ure, Andrew. Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines. New York: D. Appleton, 1847.


Series 3 Medical Books 1836-1852

Scope and Content Note

Includes medical reference works. Arranged in alphabetical order by author or title.
Box 3, Folder 1

Beach, W. The American Practice of Medicine. 2d ed., vol. 2. New York: Kelly and La Tourrette, 1836.

Box 3, Folder 2

Carpenter, William B. Principles of Human Physiology. 2d American ed. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1845.

Box 3, Folder 3

Combe, George . Elements of Phrenology. New York: William H. Colyer, 1843.

Box 3, Folder 4

Curling, T. B. Practical Treatis on the Diseas of the Tesis. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1843.

Box 3, Folder 5

Hastings, John. The Practice of Surgery. Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1850.

Box 3, Folder 6

Horton, Howard. An Improved System of Botanic Medicine. Columbus, Ohio: Horton J. Howard, 1836.

Box 3, Folder 7

McClellan, George. Principles and Practice of Surgery. Philadelphia: Grigg, Elliott, 1848.

Box 3, Folder 8

Ralph, Joseph. A Practical Private Treatis on the Diseases of the Genital Organs. New York: H. Long and Brother, 1852.

Box 3, Folder 9

Ricord, Ph. Practical Treatise of Venereal Diseases. Philadelphia; Lea and Blanchard, 1843.

Box 3, Folder 10

Wilson, Erasmus. A System of Human Anatomy, General and Special. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1843.