This well-known subject was born in Orange county, N. C., June 17,1824. At sixteen he received the appointment to West Point Military Academy, and entered same class with Gen. Hancock. He was compelled to leave school, however, on account of ill health, and returned to North Carolina. There he entered Caldwell Institute, John Wilson, D.D., president, and took a regular collegiate course. At the outbreak of the Mexican war, young McKerall volunteered and was elected first lieutenant of Co. E of the North Carolina regiment, which company he served with during the war, latterly as acting captain. On one occasion, Lieut. McKerall commanded a detachment on escort, and conducted a supply train 180 miles without loss or mishap, except guerilla skirmishes. He was introduced to Gen. Taylor, and made his report on the same day the Missouri volunteers under Col. Doniphan were returning from the arduous campaign in New Mexico. After the battle of Buena Vista, his regiment encamped 14 months on the plains there, and was subsequently garrisoned at Saltillo, where Lieut. McK. Studied Spanish under Dr. Gregg, of St. Louis. Still later, he served as regimental inspector and commissary. He was honorably discharged at Old Point Comfort, Va. He then settled in Louisiana, where he studied law. In 1850, he went to Texas, locating near San Augustine (East Texas), where he practiced law, and there joined the I. O. O. F. He moved to Waco in 1854, and engaged in merchandising and cattle raising. The same year he was appointed to fill an unexpired term as judge of the probate and common pleas courts of McLennan county. In 1859, he was elected to same office. A stock company of seven was formed in 1868 to operate a cotton and woolen mill, and Judge McK. was for some time financial agent of the concern. At the close of the civil war he was appointed district deputy G. M. to reorganize the I. O. O. F. lodges in the western district of Texas. In the summer of 1868, he came to Greene county, Missouri, and on November 1st of that year, married Mary A., only and accomplished daughter of Josiah F. Danforth, and settled on lands inherited by his wife from her father, eight miles northeast of Springfield. Judge McKerall has added to this by subsequent purchases till he now owns an estate of 700 acres, one of the finest in the county, including the well-known “Brick-House Farm,” formerly owned by Josiah F. Danforth. Besides farming, Judge McKerall also runs a steam saw-mill and threshing machine. He is the father of two sons and two daughters, named Fannie E., Josiah, Daisy, and John Wilson, all except the last and youngest attending the Springfield schools at this writing.
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