The House of Kerr of Ardgowan

The Grandfather Kerr Clan


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 DR. KERR'S CAREER TESTIMONY


 DR. KERR'S ARMS & TARTAN


 TULSA RACE WAR:
BACKGROUND


 TULSA RACE WAR OF 1921


 COURTHOUSE LYNCH MOB


 DR. KERR CONFRONTS MOB


 THE GREENWOOK BLACK COMMUNITY


 SANCTUARY FOR THE GREENWOOD BLACKS


. DESTRUCTION OF GREENWOOD


 MAN SAVED FROM LYNCHING


 DR. KERR REJECTS 'INTER-RACIAL COMMITTEE'


 LEGAL RIGHTS OF THE GREENWOOD BLACK


 LEGAL ANALYSIS OF RACE WAR


 DR. KERR AND THE 'COMMON PLAN'


 DR. KERR OFFERS RESIGNATION


 DR. KERR CONFRONTS TULSA LEADERSHIP


 OIL RICH TULSANS


 SCOTTISH CLANS & WHITE TRASH


 KERR REMAINS IN TULSA


 THE WORLD'S FIRST BAG PIPE OPERA


 OUTLINE


In 1907 Rev.  Kerr  rescued a bankrupt Presbyterian  small college, the Henry Kendall  College at nearby Muskogee, Oklahoma, brought it  to Tulsa,  and induced the local  oilmen  to finance this college in order to create a 'School of Petroleum  Engineering'  --  then an unknown  science:  The oilmen gave Rev. Kerr 400 city lots to sell to bring this college to Tulsa.   In 1921 the college was renamed the University of Tulsa . Dr.  Kerr  served as Trustee  of  the  University    of Tulsa for 43  years.  This college was originally  housed in a shed between the Kerr's Manse and the original  First  Presbyterian  Church:  Classes were frequently held in the Manse parlour  while the Kerr  children  played.

First Tulsa home of University of Tulsa, 1907  
Classes  held  in  shed  between  Kerr's  Manse  and  the  First  Church

 Rev.  Charles  W.  Kerr was in the right place at the right  time.  His  fervent  evangelism  and soul-seeking  quickly built up  the  congregation  of  his  First  Presbyterian   Church.    As  he  had  no  other clerical competition in  Tulsa ,   Rev.  Kerr  successfully  recruited  many  of  the  early day  Tulsa  oilmen into  his  congregation.     His  dynamic  evangelic  preaching attracted so many people,  that a second church had  to  be  built in 1911.   Rev. Kerr's magnetic attraction  quickly  outgrew the  second  church,  necessitating the construction of a gigantic new church in 1925,  holding  some  2500  persons,  whose design and construction was informally  supervised  by his  wife,  Anna  Coe Kerr.

1925  Church  designed  by  Mrs.  Anna  Kerr  
Session  of  Elders  gave  Kerr's  carte  blanch  to  design  church
and  agreed  to  go  into  heavy  debt  to  keep  them  in  Tulsa

The Doctor of Divinity  degree was conferred upon Dr. Charles W.  Kerr in 1918 in  recognition of his dynamic evangelic ministry.   By  the  time  of  retirement  in  1941   he  had  built  his  original   little  clapboard  missionary  church  into  the  second  largest  Presbyterian  Church  in  the  United  States.

Dr.  Charles  W.  Kerr  receives  
Doctor of Divinity  degree,  1918

 

 

In 1932  Dr. Kerr was elected 144th Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian   Church  U.S.A., the daughter church  of the Church of Scotland: 

 

The office of Moderator is the national denominational leader of a Presbyterian  church.

          Arms of Dr. Charles W. Kerr                                                                        Seal of Presbyterian  Church  

 

                   144th  Moderator  of  Presbyterian  Church  of  U. S.: 1932

 Jubilant  Black  Presbyterians  presented  Dr.  Kerr  with  a  special  'Ivory  African  and  American  Negro  Gavel'  made from  the  tusk  of  an  African  elephant  in   recognition  of  Dr. Kerr  1932  for  championing  the friendless  Greenwood  Blacks murdered,   arsoned,  and persecuted by racialist  Tulsans during  the 1921 Tulsa  Race  War and  his   later  attempts  to  secure  substantive  justice  for  these racially  oppressed  Blacks:   

The  presentation  of  this  special  ‘Ivory  Negro  Gavel’  to  Dr.  Charles  W.  Kerr  is  recorded  in  The  Presbyterian  Magazine,  Volume  38,  Number 7,  July  1932,  'The  144th  General  Assembly',  p.  341  at  p.  342  re  'Historic  Gavels',  as  follows:

'The  Rev.  I.  W.  Underhill,  a  Negro  minister  from  Corisco  Presbytery,  Africa,  presented  an  ivory  gavel  made  from  the  tusk  of  an  elephant  which  had  been  killed  just  before  he  left.   He  expressed  regret  that  he  could  not  bring  the  whole  elephant  as  an  expression  of  appreciation  to  Dr.  Kerr  for  his  work  for  Negroes'   (Emphasis  supplied.)  

'Ivory  African  and  American  Negro  Gavel':

A  relic  of  Black  appreciation  for  Dr.  Kerr's  championing  the 
Greenwood   Blacks  in  1921 and  attempt  to  secure  full  compensation

This  special  'Ivory  Negro  Gavel' was  inherited  by  his  grandson  and  lawful  heir-of-line,  Prof.  Stephen  Kerr,   a professor of public international law and human  rights.

Dr.  Kerr  served  nine  years  as  a  member  of  the  General  Council  of  the  Presbyterian   Church,  U.S.A..    He  also  served  nine  years  on  the  General  Assembly  Committee  of  Cooperation  and  Union.    Dr.  Kerr  was  an  active  member  of  the  General  Assembly  Evangelistic  Committee,   and  for  many  years  he  was  chairman  of  the  National  Missions  Committee  of  the  Oklahoma  Synod.    He  was  also  a  trustee  of  the  Presbyterian   Sanatorium  at  Albuquerque,  New  Mexico.

Upon retirement in 1941 Dr Kerr served as Chaplain of Tulsa's Hillcrest Memorial Hospital  

A  statistical  summary  of  Dr.  Charles  W.  Kerr's  ministry   includes  the  following:

  •             2,239  Funerals

  •             2,383  Weddings  

  •             5,672  Received  by  Letter

  •             10,007  Converts

  •             1,452  Infant  Baptisms

  •             1,904  Adult  Baptisms

  •             1,939  Sunday  Morning  Sermons  preached

  •             2,420  Sunday  Afternoon  and  Evening  sermons  preached

  •             2,536  Midweek  Wednesday  Prayer  Meeting  sermons  preached  

Dr. & Mrs. Kerr two weeks before
death on  18  July  1951