Biographical Sketches
Kerens, Navarro County, Texas


Biography Index || City of Kerens Index

Originally published in "The Navarro County Scroll", 1985
Reprinted with permission of the Navarro County Historical Society

H. G. ASKEW was a St. Louis Railroad official from Tyler, Texas.  He bought one of the BLOCKS in the downtown section of Kerens on the first day of sale for speculation.  In 1884 he also bought all of the remaining unsold LOTS then owned by Sam Frost and his partner, Bryan Barry.

BRYAN F. BARRY  married Odore E. ____ and their son, Charles Thomas Barry was born 2-27-1875.  Bryan Barry was the Law Partner of Sam Frost in Corsicana.  The townsite of Barry, Texas was named for him.

James Young CARROLL  (born 1844, died 1909) married Sallie W. ____.  She died in 1877.  They are both buried in the Jimmerson cemetery south of town.


EZEKIEL CHERRY(born around 1817 in Louisiana) and his wife Mary Jane, settled in the Kerens area with a number of their children.  Descendants still in Kerens are Lucille Anderson Reese, a great granddaughter; Peggy Anderson Brown, a great, great granddaughter; Laura Brown, a great, great, great granddaughter; Karen Crawford, a great, great, great, granddaughter; Michael Crawford, a great, great grandson Ben Russell Cherry, and great great grandson and his wife, Mary Nell Shelton Cherry, their son Benny Cherry and his wife, Sherry Cherry and their two children.  Benny Cherry has been actie on the Kerens School Board and on the Kerens City Council.

WILLIAM LAFAYETTE "FATE" CHERRY was a son of Ezekiel Cherry.  He married Willie ____.  They had no children.  He erected the first business building in Kerens on LOT 5, BLOCK 47.  In this building the first Post Office for Kerens was situated in 1883, with S. P. Day serving as the Postmaster.  Colonel Day, as he was called, had lived in Wadeville where he also served as the Postmaster and his wife taught school.

JOSEPH ARTHUR LEWIS LOWRY CLEMENTS (born around 1826) married Sarah W. Brown.  He was on the 1860 US Census as living in Rural Shade.  They were among the first purchasers of LOTS in Kerens, buying all of BLOCK 88.  Their daughter, Mary E. Clements, married Washington Ingram.  Descendants of this family living in Kerens in 1985 are: Walker Pittman "Red" Ingram (and wife, Maggie Norris Ingram) - a grandson: (sic) Marilyn Coates Tekell (and husband, Billy Bob Tekell) - a step-great granddaughter; Glenda Tekell Sessions (and husband, Kenneth Sessions) - a step great, great, granddaughter and their two children, Misty Michelle Sessions and Ryan Tekell Sessions; Tanya Tekell Hobbs (and husband, Leroy Hobbs, Jr.) - step-great great granddaughter and their two children, Kelly Milia and Leroy Hobbs, III; Billy Ruth Arnold Coates - a step-great granddaughter-in-law and her granddaughter, Tandy Coates.


  • b. 5 December 1823, d. 20 January 1893, buried at Ingram family Cemetery, Rural Shade, Navarro Co., TX.  Married Sarah W. Smith on 30 January 1845 at Telfair Co., GA by Judge Cullen O'Neal.  Married Mary A. (Millie) Paul on 7 May 1876 at Rural Shade, Navarro Co., TX.

CLAUDE COATES, the red headed daughter of W. P. Noble.  They had one child, Travis Coates.  Following Ora's death Claude, with the help of his brother, raised Travis in Kerens where they continued to run a livery stable.

DR. WASHINGTON FORD COATES graduated from Tuland Medical School and married Elizabeth Polk.  They had only one child, Les M. Coates, who owned Rush Creek Ranch, southeast of Kerens.  After Elizabeth's death Dr. Coates married Sarah Moore and they moved to Van Zandt County.  He wrote a letter to his Coates' relatives during the Reconstruction Era and encouraged his brothre, Wiley Burton Coates and his three sons, William W. Coates,  and his family, and Bruce Coates, and Robert Coates to come to Navarro County.

ROBERT HIRAM DANIEL (born 5-17-1859, died 1-17-1938) was the younger brother of T. S. Daniel.  He married [Virginia] Jennie Stokes and they had four children.  He was in the mercantile business with his brother, T. S. Daniel.  he was active in the Presbyterian Church.

THEOPHILUS SMITH DANIEL, SR. - (born 9-24-1851, died 5-15-1933) came to Navarro County in 1856.  He married Lelia Weisner in 1878.  They had 5 children.  He was elected to the first City Council as an Alderman in 1888.  He was responsible businessman and was President of the first Bank established in Kerens.  His son, Josiah Martin Daniel, Sr. (Born 1-27-1880, died 2-20-1968) served as the Mayor of Kerens, was President of the Chamber of Commerce and was very active in the American Legion and the Navarro County Historical Society.  Another son, Theophilus Smith Daniel, Jr. (born 9-24-1890, died 7-9-1956) also served as Mayor.  His youngest son, Jere Augustus Daniel, Sr. (born 12-20-1895, died 11-7-1963) served as an Alderman.  One of his grandsons, John Keitt Beck, Sr. (born 1920) served as an Alderman, was the Navarro County Democratic Chairman for 16 years and is on the Session and its Treasurer of the Kerens Presbyterian Church.  Descendants of T. S. Daniel living in Kerens in 1985 are: Eleanor Files Daniel, the widow of Jere A. Daniel, Jr. who was a grandson; John Keitt Beck, Sr. (and his wife, Kenna Watson Beck) - a grandson, and their two children, Nancy Clyde Beck and John Keitt Beck, Jr.


SAM ROMULUS FROST (born 1846, died 1908) married Mary Winkler in 1872.  They had 9 children.  He was a lawyer in Corsicana.  He was the first County Judge under the Constitution of 1876, after serving as the County Attorney in 1871.  The townsite of Frost, Texas was named after him.

DR. J. H. HERRING married Maria Acker in 1856.  They came from Limestone County.

RICHARD B. HUBBARD was from Tyler, Texas and was a "silent partner" in the purchase and development of Kerens.  He served as Governor of Texas from 1876-1879, after serving as Lieutenant Governor from 1873-1876.

RICHARD C. KERENS  (born 1842 in Ireland, died 1918) was a St. Louis Railroad Director and was another "silent partner" in the purchase and development of the townsite.  He was a devout Catholic.


Richard C. Kerens was born in Killberry, County Meath, Ireland in 1842. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War and was a member of the Republican National Committee from Missouri, 1892-1900. Kerens also served as U.S. Ambassador to Austria-Hungary, 1910-13.

Kerens was prominent in the railroad industry. In 1881 the Texas and St. Louis Railway built a narrow gauge line through Navarro County, Texas, and established a 270 acre town site in the county. That community, which still exists, was named for Kerens, reportedly a silent partner in the venture, although it is believed he never saw the town.

In association with Col. Ennis Ward Taylor, Arkansas Governor Powell Clayton and others, Kerens next project was the construction of a railroad from Seligman, Missouri, to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. In 1883, passenger train service between the towns commenced. The spur connected to a major line running between Chicago and parts of south Texas, including San Antonio, thus making it easier for many vacationers to travel to Eureka Springs. The development of Eureka Springs as a tourist attraction sprang from the building of this short railroad. The earnings of the road for eighteen months were set aside for the benefit of its development, for which was organized the Eureka Improvement Company and the building of the magnificent and palace-like Crescent Hotel of Eureka Springs, which opened for business in 1886.

St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, began as a chapel Kerens built in memory of his mother, whose name was Elizabeth and whose patron Saint was Elizabeth of Hungary. According to a 1907 article in the Arkansas Traveler, the chapel was completed in 1906. Kerens, one of the builders of the Crescent Hotel, also donated the land below the hotel for the Eureka Springs Carnegie Library. He eventually built the remaining section of the structure of St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church, which was dedicated in 1909. The church is connected to the memorial chapel and is in memory of both of his parents.

Kerens died September 4, 1916.

WILLIAM WASHINGTON LOOP (born 1836 in Indiana) married Cathreine Naudain in Athens, Texas in 1853.  They had 9 children.  He was a Navarro County Commissioner from 1878-1881.  They settled in Rice, Texas.  He was a land speculator in Kerens in 1881 and did not live in Kerens.


FRANCES MARION MARTIN (born 1830, died 1903) first married Mary Hodge.  They had 7 children.  Following her death he married Angie Harle in 1877 and they had three children.  He came to Navarro County in 1853, was elected as a State Senator in 1859 and became Lieutenant Governor in 1882.  During the Civil War he was the Captain of the local military group with headquarters in Wadeville. 


DR. RICHARD J. MAYS (born 11-23-1848 in Kentucky, died 6-8-1894) married Addie Root on 11-29-1876.  They had three children.  He bought all of BLOCK 84 for his home and was the first to move into his new residence at this site.

CHARLES KIMES MELEAR married Ella Daniel, the sister of Theophilus Smith Daniel and Robert Hiram Daniel.  They had nine children.  From Kerens they moved to Waco, Texas and settled there.  He was elected to serve as an Alderman on the first City Council in 1888.

AHBELL GREEN McCLUNG (born 1856, died 1946) had nine children.  he was the brother of Will Cowan McClung and the son of Cowan M McClung.  The widows of two of his sons, Andrew (Mrs. Ellen Seale McClung) and Ashbell Green McClung, Jr. (Mrs. Hazel Kimes McClung Weedin) still live in Kerens.

COWAN M. McCLUNG was the father of 11 children.  He served as the Justice of the Peace in the Kerens area in 1888 and was appointed as the Election Judge for the April, 1888 election to incorporate Kerens.  many of his descendants followed his example and were active in civic affairs.  A son, Arthur, served as a County Commissioner.  Another son, Will C. served as one of the first Aldermen.  A grandson, Earl Monroe McClung, served as a Councilman and also as the City Secretary for many years.  A great, great grandson, Russ Crawford, is a present Councilman [1985].  Descendants of Cown McClung living in Kerens in 1985 are: Hazel Kimes McClung Weedin, Ellen Seale McClung, and Margaret Ivy McClung (all widows of his grandsons, Ashbell Green McClung, Jr., Andrew McClung, and Drew McClung); George Washington Speed, a grandson of his son "Buck McClung; Laurette McClung Kittley (and her husband Wayne), a granddaughter of his son "Buck"; Hayden Bond, a grandson of his daughter Sarah McClung McKinney; Ellen Tanner, a great granddaughter of his daughter Sarah; Ruby Doris Moore (and her husband Curtis), a granddaughter of his son Will C. McClung; and their grandchildren, Keri Fields and Brian Fields; Adren "Lip" Crawford, a grandson of his son, Will C., his son Stacy Crawford and their daughter Cathy Crawford Spicer Auerbach (and her husband Gary Auerbach) and their children, Jeremy Spicer, Niki Spicer, and Blair Auerbach; Dawin "Ickey" Crawford (and his wife Joyce Shelton Crawford), a grandson of his son Will C. McClung, their son Russ Crawford (and his wife Lynelle Williams Crawford) and their three children Courtney, Katy and Kelly Crawford.


WILL COWAN McCLUNG (born 8-23-1851, died 11-17-1891) married Emma Selman.  They had 8 children.  He was elected to serve as an Alderman on the fist City Council in 1888.  They bought all of BLOCK 86 for their home.  A granddaughter, Ruby Doris Crawford Moore (and her husband Curtis Moore) presently resides in Kerens, as does two of her grandchildren, Keri Fields and Brian Fields.  A grandson, Adren "Lip" Crawford, his son Stacy Crawford and daughter Cathy Crawford Spicer Auerbach (and her huband Gary Auerbach) and their children Jeremy Spicer, Niki Spicer, and Blair Auerbach all live in Kerens.  Another grandson, Dwain "Ickey" Crawford (and his wife Joyce Shelton Crawford) lives in Kerens, as does their son Russ Crawford (and his wife Lynelle Williams Crawford) and their three children, Courtney, Katy, and Kelly Crawford.  Russ Crawford, the great grandson, is serving on the City Council in 1985.

DR. HAL C. McKINNEY (born 1847, died 1919) married Henriette Sawyer in 1871.  They had six children. He practiced medicine in Wadeville before moving to Kerens in 1882 to continue his practice.

WILLIAM PITTMAN NOBLE (born 12-5-1830, died 5-13-1893) married Eliza Owen, who was the oldest sister of Preston Owen.  they had seven children.  He was elected as the fist Mayor of Kerens in 1888.  Of his many descendants only one, a grandson, Walker Pittman "Red" Ingram (and his wife Maggie Norris Ingram) remains in Kerens.  W. P. Noble's son, Joseph Valentine Noble, managed the first Cotton Oil Mill in Kerens and his daughter, Ora Noble Coates and her husband Claude L. Coates operated a livery stable in BLOCK 72 around 1890.

PRESTON OWEN (born 8-28-1844, died 9-24-1910) married Anna Fortson on October 22, 1872.  They had five children.  He moved to Navarro County in 1852 and settled in Kerens in 1883.  he was elected to the first City Council as an Alderman in 1888.  His house (BLOCK 114) has been restored and is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Doane L. Fessenden, 407 SW 5th Street, Kerens.

JAMES W. PARAMORE (died around 1890)  He and his wife, Helen, had two sons.  He served as the Financial Agent for the Texas and St. Louis Railway Co. and was another "silent partner" in the purchase of the townsite of Kerens.

ADREN FORD POSEY (born 1831, died 1913) had three daughters, Nettie, Lula and Queen.  Nettie married W. M. Seale and their daughter, ellen Seale McClung still lives in Kerens.

DAVID W. SHERRILL (born 1819) was a settled farmer in the Rush Creek area for the 1860 US Census, with 8 children.  Of his descendants Wade Price (and his wife Gladys Harris Price) a great grandson; Bernice Sherrill Hagler (and her husband Jesse Hagler), a great granddaughter; and Julia McConnico Jones (and her husband Robert D. Jones), a great granddaughter; still all live in Kerens.


  • David Warren Sherrill, married to Mary Gertrude Smith (1820-1908)

WALTER EUGENE SMITH (born 6-19-1860, died March 1936) married Florence Sherrill Wade, the widow of William Wade and the daughter of David W. Sherrill.  They had three children.  He operated a saloon in Kerens for a number of years.  Following the death of his first wife he married Mrs. Mossie Garrett Phillips, he widow of Warren Martin "Ban" Phillips in 1927.  She survives him and still lives in their home in Kerens.  The only descendants of his still living in Kerens are the step-grandchildren and descendants of his daughter, Myrtle Smith Seale (Mrs. K. W.).  John Seale, her step-grandson, and his wife, Hester, their son, David Seale (and his wife Becky Scott Seale) and their son, John David Seale, all live in Kerens.

O. W. STONE married Marion Martin, the daughter of Frances Marion Martin and his second wife, Angie Harle Martin, in 1872.

GEORGE RETTIE WASHBURN (born 1809, died 1911) married Louisa A. Bosworth in 1875.  They had five children.  He operated the first Drug Store in Kerens.  Three of his grandchildren, Gwendolyn Washburn McCown (Mrs. F. E.), Elise Washburn McDowell (Mrs. Gid), and Tom Burton Washburn (and his wife Dovie Lena Jackson Washburn still reside in Kerens.

JOE TOM WASHBURN (born 1852, died 1929) married Mary ___ (born 1866, died 1919).  They had 5 children.  A great grandson, Richard Holiman and his wife, Johnnie B. Radney Holiman, their daughter, Tammy Holiman Mullen and her husband Kenneth Mullen and their son, Kael Mullen all live in Kerens.  A granddaughter, Jessie Mae Griffis Hancock and her husband Clarence Hancock, one of their sons, Griffis Ray Hancock, his wife, Betty and their daughter Trisha Hancock also live in Kerens.  Joe Tom Washburn operated a cafe in Kerens and bought all of BLOCK 110 for his home in 1883, next to his brother's home (George R. Washburn) which encompassed all of BLOCK 111.

J. T. YARBROUGH (born 1854, died 1928) married Ida Head.  They ran a boarding house-hotel and he had a blacksmith shop in downtown Kerens.  A granddaughter, Lucille Holloway Crofut Scogin (and her husband Ed Scogin) now lives in Kerens, as does her granddaughter Teresa Crofut Jennings (and her husband Gary Don Jennings).  A granddaughter-in-law Wilma Westbrook, the widow of Sidney Westbrook, also lives in Kerens.


Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright February, 2020
Edward L. Williams