John C. Karr was born 25 September, 1824 on the family farm in the community of Blue Ball near Middletown, Ohio, which spread into both Butler and Warren Counties. He was one of eight children born to Moses Wilson Karr and Ann (Wilson) Karr. John's siblings: Andrew Wilson Karr, Nancy McClintock Karr, Robert Calvin Karr, William Clinton Karr, James Mitchel Karr, Mathew Gray Wilson Karr, and Katherindra Wilson Karr.
John's grandfather, Andrew Karr, was born in Scotland around 1744, immigrating to America in young manhood, and served as a Rifleman in the American Revolutionary War, 2nd Battalion, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Militia. Andrew and his family moved from the Lancaster Pennsylvania area shortly after the war and settled into lands in the area of Blue Ball, Ohio area around 1806. It was there that Andrew and was engaged in farming and was a founder and also a ruling elder of the Blue Ball Presbyterian Church. Andrew Karr died at his farm on 31 July, 1828. Andrew's wife Katherine (Wilson) Karr preceded him on 1 September, 1814. Andrew and Katherine are buried in the Dick's Creek Presbyterian Churchyard Cemetery in Franklin Township, Warren County, Ohio.
John's father, Moses Wilson Karr, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 29 June 1781. Like Andrew, Moses was also one of the founders and ruling elders of the Blue Ball Presbyterian Church as well as a farmer. He subsequently engaged in the mercantile business in Middletown, and in 1837 purchased land in the Liberty Township area of White County, Indiana, to which he removed with his immediate family two years later. There he settled down to agricultural pursuits, in which he continued to be engaged successfully until his death on 20 January,1855. He was a man of high character, and had the esteem and respect of his fellow-citizens. Moses, his wife Ann, and their son Robert are buried together in lot 26 of the old 9th Street Cemetery in Logansport, Indiana. This is the oldest cemetery in Cass County.
In 1839, at the age of fifteen, John and his parents moved to their new farm in Indiana in the areas of what was then Flowerville and now the current-day community of Buffalo. John married 31 May, 1849 to Rachel Marie Moore, who was born in Somerset, Ohio, 18 October, 1828, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Moore (1761-1840), who also served in the American Revolutionary War, and as a young Presbyterian pastor came from Pennsylvania to Somerset, Ohio, and is said to have been the first ordained minister to cross the Alleghany Mountains. The Moore family had also relocated from the Ohio and entered into neighboring lands around 1845.
Born to this union were eleven children: Joseph Andrew Karr, Sarah Ann Karr, Emily D. "Emma" Karr, Moses Wilson Karr, James Power Karr, Matthew Douglas Karr, Isaac C. Karr, Rosa Florence "Rosie" Karr, John Crittenton Karr, Huldah Mariah Karr and Welcome Moore Karr. Of these, Emma and Moses died at a young age.
In an 1883 historical references it was written: "Mr. Karr's farm is located ten miles northeast of Monticello, and consists of 306 acres. In 1876, he erected an elegant two-story brick dwelling at a cost of some $5,000, and the place is otherwise highly improved. He makes a specialty of raising wheat, but pays due attention to other crops and also to live stock. He has been a member of the Presbyterian Church about thirty-five years, and is an indefatigable Sabbath school worker, and a citizen of enterprise and great worth."
In July of 1886, John took a portion of his land holdings and created the town of Buffalo which originally consisted of 30+ residential and various commercial lots which quickly sold. John's son, James P. Karr, later took the remaining Karr land surrounding the town and platted out the rest of the community of Buffalo as it is today, virtually doubling it's size.
While the J.C. Karr house still stands today (just south of town) it is far from the grander days past.
Other community enhancements attributed to the Karr family include what was the Buffalo Presbyterian Church (now church of the Brethren), The Buffalo Cemetery, and the Buffalo School, all of which family lands were donated for their creation.
The Family of John & Rachel Karr
Center: Rachel & John C. Karr
Clockwise from bottom left: Welcome, Andrew, Isaac, Mathew, Rosey, James, John, Sarah, and Huldah.
White County Democrat
Friday, August 11, 1899
Another Pioneer Gone
John C. Karr died at his home at Buffalo, Ind., Aug. 6, 1899, aged 74 years, 10 months and 11 days.
Mr. Karr was born in Ohio, at Middletown, Butler County. He came to White County, Ind., with his parents in 1839. His parents entered a half section of land one and a half miles east of Buffalo. Mr. Karr lived with his parents till his marriage in 1849 to Rachel M. Moore, a sister of Uncle Isaac Moore, of Monticello. He then bought the farm where they lived till death.
The town of Buffalo was laid out by him from a portion of his farmland. Eleven children were born to them – 4 girls and 7 boys – nine of whom survive him. His wife died in 1890. In 1893 he married Mrs. Emily Yount, relict of Alex Yount. She died in 1896. Mr. Karr has been failing in health since the winter of 1896-7, when Lagrippe laid its deadly hand upon him. He never fully recovered from the first attack, which developed into heart weakness with dropsical affection. Until a week before his death he was able to be about the house, then he grew rapidly worse. Three hours before his death he went to sleep never to waken in this world, but to waken to the joys of Paradise and in the presence of Jesus.
Mr. Karr was a strong man morally, mentally, religiously and socially. He was a kind neighbor, a good husband and a kind father. He will be greatly missed from the church, the home and from the community.
Mr. Karr was converted when he was 15 years of age, at a prayer meeting in his father’s house. Afterwards he united with the Monticello church. When the Bedford church was organized he moved his membership to that church, being nearer. Then again, he helped to organize the Buffalo Presbyterian church, donating a portion of his farm land and materials for its construction, and where he became an Elder for many years.
The funeral was held in this church Aug. 8, 1899, being conducted by his pastor, Rev. J.G. Black. The text for the funeral sermon was of his own choosing, Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The same carved on his tombstone where only the date of his death awaits. A very large concourse of acquaintances, neighbors and relatives attended the funeral to pay the last sad rites to the deceased.
Just inside the entrance of the Buffalo Cemetery is the tall monument marking the graves of John C. Karr and his first wife Rachel and his second wife Emily.
More Information on the John C. Karr Family
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A partial list of published family history include:
COUNTIES OF WHITE AND PULASKI, INDIANA, HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL, Published by F.A. Battey & Co, Chicago, 1883
HISTORY OF WHITE COUNTY INDIANA, Hamelle, 1915
INDIANA, ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS OF AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT
Vol. 3 By Charles Roll, A.M. - The Lewis Publishing Company, 1931
EPOCH OF BLUE BALL OHIO, Blue Ball Historical Society, 1987
THE STORY OF A HUNDRED YEARS - The First Presbyterian Church, Middletown, Ohio 1819-1919
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