Alexander County/Illinois Genealogy Trails

Please send your anniversaries of fifty years or more to be included on this page.

KERR, Robert and Nell

NEWELL, Glenn and Mildred

THOMAS, Mr. and Mrs. Sid 


Robert and Nell Kerr say they can't put their finger on the secret to a long, happy marriage, but the couple, who have been married for 66 years, believe common interests can go a long way.
"We've always gotten along well, but I don't know if that's the secret," said Nell Kerr.  "And we've always had a lot in common."
The two, both retired school teachers, said they went into their marriage on June 2, 1925, with the idea that it would be forever.  They grew up on farms just three miles apart in Oakdale, Ill.
"I think that so many of the couples these days don't think marriage is something that's supposed to last," she said.  "A lot of people just think that if it doesn't work, they'll just get a divorce," said her husband.
But staying together wasn't something the Kerr's ever considered especially difficult.  "I think it was easier to stay together back then," she said.  "And divorce was just unheard of."
Being together is something the Kerrs are good at.  They attended college together after they were married and taught in the same two-room schoolhouse for several years.  During the summers they attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where Nell earned a bachelor's degree and Robert earned a master's degree in education.
"We couldn't afford to go while we were teaching," she said.  "So it took us a lot of years to get those degrees."
Robert, 89, and Nell, 92, admit that a two-career couple was unusual at the time they were first married.  In fact, female schoolteachers were often forced to quit teaching after they were married.  But Nell Kerr said she was lucky.  "The schoolhouse wanted a husband and wife, so I was allowed to stay on," she said.  "I was known as a pretty strict teacher, too."
Eventually, the two moved to Tamms, Ill., were they lived until moving to Cape Girardeau in 1980.  Though their marriage has been good, Nell Kerr said it hasn't been without it's problems.  "We've disagreed now and then," she said, "but nothing I would consider serious."  We never go to bed mad," her husband added.  "You should never do that."
The two were in their early 20s when they tied the knot, some thing they think may have contributed to their long lasting union.  They also dated for seven years before they decided to take the plunge.
Good friends also make a difference.  One couple the Kerrs have been friends with for more than 50 years, Mr. and Mrs. John Abercrombie of Tamms, have been married for 79 years.
Robert Kerr says that the fact that they both had careers has always worked for them.  Nell said she earned $40 a month when she first started teaching, but in those days that was considered to be a pretty good salary.  "Bread was a nickel a loaf, people didn't have cars, and everything was just less expensive."
Though the couple never had children of their own, they said their students over the years have stayed in touch.  "We hear from them a lot at Christmas and our birthdays, sometimes on Valentine's Day,"  she said.
Since retiring in 1962, the Kerrs have traveled extensively, something they, as a couple who "started with nothing" never had a chance to do earlier.  "We were different than young folks today, " she said.  "They think they should have everything their parents have right when they start out.  When we got married we were on our own."
--Source:  An article in the Southeast Missourian, Feb. 14, 1991, entitled "A Lifetime of Love;" submitted by Joy Varner.

NOTE:  Robert S. Kerr was born Dec. 10, 1901 and died Sept 25, 1992.  Mrs. Nell Kerr was born Oct 24, 1899 and died June 8, 1994 at the age of 95.


Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Newell of Tamms will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with an open house at the Tamms Community Center on February 5 (1984) from 2 to 4 p.m. Glenn and the former Mildred Sheffer were married on January 31, 1934 at Ullin. The event is being given by their daughter, Mrs. Dorothy (Melvin) Smith of Tamms, and sons, Raymond of Anna, James of Tamms, David of Noble, and Michael of Cape Girardeau, Mo. The couple has 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Mildred and Glenn celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 1994 with a family dinner at Porky's Restaurant in Ullin.


Mr. and Mrs. Sid Thomas Celebrate 55th Anniversary

Contributed by Donna Dailey Knight

Mr. and Mrs. Sid Thomas of Cairo celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary Sunday with an open house at their home.
Their two children, Mrs. Beulah Griffith and Capt. Sid E. Thomas, Jr., and their families were present for the celebration.  Mrs. Griffith makes her home in St. Louis and Capt. Thomas lives in Lone Oak, Ky.
Thomas is a retired rural mail carrier.  He worked for the U. S. Post Office Department for 39 years and eight months.
Before moving to Cairo 51 years ago, the couple made their home on the old Thomas farm south of Elco.  They have lived at their home at 3609 Elm Street, Cairo, since that time.
The couple attends the 37th Street Assembly of God Church.
Others attending the celebration were Mrs. Joe Whitely and her husband of Poplar Bluff, Mo., Mrs. Pansy McCrite of Tamms, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond McCrite and family of Tamms, Mr. and Mrs. Melton McCrite of Olive Branch.  Mrs. and Mrs. Paul Crosnoe and children of Cape Girardeau, Mo., Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Griffith and family of Bridgetown, Mo.  

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