Wisconsin, Vol. 5 (Classic Reprint)

Ellis Baker Usher

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Wisconsin, Vol. 5 (Classic Reprint) - Ellis Baker Usher

Excerpt from Wisconsin, Vol. 5

James E. Kernan, who is widely known to the grain trade throughout the Northwest, has steadily worked his way upward in his chosen field of endeavor to a position where his influence is felt in every department of one of the greatest industries the country has produced. As chairman of the Grain and Warehouse Commission, at Superior, he is the active directing head of that authoritative body which has been directly responsible for the promotion of numerous movements and much legislation of a beneficial nature, and among his associates he is recognized as a man thoroughly capable of discharging the duties of his office. Mr. Kernan is a native of the East, having been born in Rockville, Connecticut, January 2, 1853, and is a son of Eugene and Marie (Brogan) Kernan.

Eugene Kernan was born in County Clare, Ireland, in 1825, and on reaching his majority emigrated to the United States on a sailing vessel, landing at New York City. Not long thereafter he drifted to Rockville, Connecticut, where he secured employment in woolen mill as a wool washer or scourer, but in 1858 turned his face toward the West and eventually located at Hudson, Wisconsin. Here he became one of the pioneer farmers of St. Croix county, and continued to be engaged in agricultural pursuits up to the time of his death, in 1880, when he was fifty-five years of age. He was a Democrat in politics, but was a farmer, not a politician, and never cared for public preferment. Mr. Kernan was married in Connecticut to Miss Marie Brogan, who was born in County Meath, Ireland, and she survived her husband some years, passing away in 1893, when she was seventy-one years of age. They were the parents of nine children, of whom James E. was the oldest, and of these four still survive.

James E. Kernan was five years of age when he accompanied his parents to Wisconsin, and his education was secured during the winter months in the district school which was two miles from his home. Like other farmers' sons of his day, he assisted in the work of the homestead during the summer months, being thoroughly trained in the various subjects necessary to the knowledge of a successful farmer. On attaining his majority he embarked upon his career as an agriculturist in St. Croix county, but two years later engaged in the grain business at River Falls, Wisconsin, and was so engaged there until 1878. In that year Mr. Kernan went to Odebolt, Sac county, Iowa, where he spent one year in farming, and following this returned to Wisconsin and passed another twelve months in tilling the soil. Mr. Kernan then went to Crookston, Minnesota, and farmed for another year, and then located in North Dakota, where, until 1908, he had extensive grain and farming interests.

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