HON. LAMBERT B. KERN, attorney-at-law, resident in DeRuyter, is a native of Eaton, Madison County. Skilled in legal and in political law, quick-witted, keen, an able pleader at the bar, he is one of the most popular and successful lawyers of the county. His father, George Kern, and his grandfather, John Kern, were natives of Ireland, whence they came to America. in 1806. Sailing up the Hudson in a keel-boat to Albany, they there took teams for Madison County, then mostly a forest covered wilderness with a few scattered inhabitants. Uncleared land was for sale at ten shillings per acre. The family camped in the pine woods while the elder Kern prospected for a farm. He finally secured a tract of timber-covered land in the north-east part of what is now the town of Eaton, and built a log cabin as a temporary home for his wife and children. Like other pioneer farmers, he cleared the land for the plough by cutting and burning timber, and then raised flax, as well as a variety of food products, and kept cattle and sheep; while the good house-mother, equally diligent in well-doing, cooked and carded, spun and wove, made butter and cheese, and attended to other domestic details.
The Kerns came from the north of Ireland with other families of Irish Protestants, so well known to history as a self-reliant, liberty-loving, law-abiding, thriftful people, mainly of Scotch descent, than whom no better class of immigrants has ever set foot on American soil. Having cleared his land, John Kern erected substantial and commodious frame buildings, and resided there until he was called from the scene of his earthly labors. After his death the homestead passed into the hands of his son George, who bought out the interest of the other heirs, and occupied it as long as he lived, having added thereto other land in the vicinity. He married Hester Tooke, who was born in the town of Eaton, and died on the home farm.
Lambert B. Kern was one of the ten children of George and Hester (Tooke) Kern. Fond of his books, he early determined to have a liberal education. From the district school he went on to the Free Academy and to Madison University, now Colgate University, paying his way, as many another student of limited means has done, by teaching. He was graduated from the academy in 1854, and from the university in 1857. After reading law in the office of Hon. Sidney T. Holmes, of Morrisville, he was admitted to the bar in 1862. He continued in the work of his profession in Morrisville till 1865, when he came to DeRuyter, where he has since remained in active practice. In 1867 he married Phebe Arnold, a native of DeRuyter, daughter of Ephraim Arnold. They have two daughters: Gertrude, wife of Frederick Schellenger, Postmaster at DeRuyter; and Mary, wife of Clarence E. Coan, of Syracuse. Mrs. Kern was reared in the Quaker faith, and has many of the quiet Quaker graces of manner and character. In politics Mr. Kern is a devoted Republican, and stands high in the counsels of the party. He was elected District Attorney in 1867, and Member of the Assembly in 1878. In 1893, when the great tidal wave of Republicanism swept over the State, he participated in his party's triumph, and was again elected a Member of the Assembly. He is a valued member of DeRuyter Lodge, No. 629, A. F. & A. M.
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