from reprint of Â“Clarke Co. HistoryÂ”, Lewis Pub., Chicago, 1886. p. 19
ADAM KERNS, of Fremont Township, is a native of Morrow County, Ohio, born July 14, 1831 a son of James and Sarah (Fansler) Kerns. When he was fourteen years old his father was killed by a falling tree, and he was then thrown on his own resources and started out to fight the battle of life alone, with no one to counsel or guide. He left the old home barefooted and with clothing barely sufficient to cover him, and first found employment with an old gentleman named James Blokson. He remained with him three months, receiving $12 a month for his services. He then worked by the day at Mt. Gilead, at anything he could find to do, and for a time was employed in the saw-mill of Peter Doty, who proved a warm friend to the orphan boy.
When twenty-three years old he came to Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa. He had saved about $500 of his earnings, and this he gave for the proceeds of a half interest in a saw-mill, and at the end of a year had $2,200. He then bought a mill of Cooper and Clark, of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, and erected it in Fremont Township, but soon after sold it to Bennett & Crawford and went to Missouri, and on the day of James BuchananÂ’s election to the presidency, put up a mill for Williams & Co.
He then went to Adair County, Iowa, and then to Burt County, Nebraska, but was unsuccessful in his ventures and returned to Osceola, and bought a mill in company with Nathan McGrew. This partnership continued about eight years, with good results. His first purchase of land was 160 acres in Fremont township. This is still his home, but he has increased his acreage by subsequent purchases to 380. His land is all under cultivation and his improvements are among the best in the township. Mr. Kerns is purely a self-made man, his accumulations being due to his persevering industry and strict business integrity.
He was married in October, 1863, to Miss Mattie R. Johnston, daughter of F.W. and Electa (Barrs) Johnston, of Osceola. To them have been born seven children-- Julia, Lilly, James, Walter, Kittie, Leona Viola, and Frederick. The latter is deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Kerns are members of the Missionary Baptist church. In politics he is a Republican.