Ohio Biographies

Hugh Karr

Hugh Karr was born in County Donegal, North Ireland, of Scotch-Irish parentage, in the year 1772. In 1784 he, in company with his father, Matthew Dennis Karr, and his brothers Charles and Matthew, emigrated to the United States, landing at Philadelphia. Here he remained until the death of his father, who was fatally injured while engaged as a stone-mason, assisting in the erection of a church building in that city. After that he labored at North Hampton, Pennsylvania, where he remained until manhood, meanwhile having been married to Mary M. Shull, daughter of Peter Shull, we believe, a well-to-do German farmer of the vicinity. Meanwhile, having heard of the wonderful fertility of the "Miami country," he, with his brother-in-law, the Shulls, Shoupes and others of the vicinity, set out with their families for Wheeling, where they embarked on "Broadhorns" and Pirouges, floating down the Ohio to North Bend, where they arrived late in the autumn of 1793. During the next winter he, together with others, occupied a portion of the old block-house at that place, and while residing there his oldest surviving son, John Karr, was born in January 1794. During the winter and early spring he selected a tract near the "Goose Pond "neighborhood, in Miami township, where he built a cabin and made a clearing, with the intention of purchasing the same. Here he remained with his family for two years. Meanwhile rumors were rife as to the unstable condition of the title to the lands embraced in the celebrated Symmes Purchase, and becoming discouraged thereat, he decided to remove further westward, and accordingly crossed the Great Miami into the then vast, unpeopled domain west of that river, and again became a squatter upon a tract of land lying near the west end of the present Cleves bridge, in Whitewater township, where he erected a cabin and made a considerable clearing, meanwhile deeming himself secure in his rights as a "Squatter Sovereign." Here he remained until he was ousted by a superior legal title held by a speculator, who had quietly obtained a patent for the lands so occupied from the United States. Soon after this he secured letters patent from the United States Government for the southwestern quarter of section nine, town one, range one, east, in this township, which he entered and occupied as his homestead till the time of his death, August, 1839. His widow, Mary M. Karr, survived him until the year 1860, when she died, aged nearly eighty-eight years. The family of Hugh Karr consisted of five daughters and four sons, who survived him. The former, after marriage, immigrated to different points in the west, one daughter only having deceased in the neighborhood of the old home. All of the daughters were mothers of large families. Of the sons, John and Charles remained in the vicinity of the old homestead, John dying in 1857, aged sixty three, without children, and Charles in 1853, aged forty-six years. James removed to McLean county, Illinois, where he died a few years ago. Joseph at the present writing is residing near Fieldon, Jersey county, Illinois. The three last named brothers were and are fathers of families.


From History of Hamilton county, Ohio, Henry & Kate Ford, L. A. Williams & Co., Publishers, 1881