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J. E. Kerley Home

Submitted by Steve Broadway
©2012

Home of J. E. Kerley

"High Street was laid off for sale of lots in 1904. and choice lots advanced one hundred per cent. This was the finest view of any location in Portland.  J. E. Kerley bought and improved the first lot on this street, erecting a beautiful modern cottage home. This style of building has been adopted by others, and it adds greatly to the beauty of the residences on this charming street. It is almost solidly improved, and the property on this street is steadily advancing regardless of panics and hard times. It is a delightful street on which to locate."  (From "Formation and Settlement of Richland, Afterwards Called Portland, January 8, 1943" from the Upper Sumner Press submitted by Robyn Collins).

James Eldon Kerley owned a store in Simpson County, Kentucky when he opened the new Kerley Store in Portland.  He was also the founder of Kerley Hardware and Furniture Stores in Columbia and Lewisburg, Tennessee.  He was born on 30 September 1854, son of Daniel Kerley and Sarah Reed. He married Mary Ella Harris, who was born in 1858.  Their children were:  Clarence, John Vernon, and Charles Kerley.  Clarence was a senior partner of Kerley Furniture Store in Columbia and Charles owned the Lewisburg store.  John Vernon served as Mayor of Portland from 1942 - 1947 and served as President of the Farmers Bank in the 1960s.  He operated the store in Portland until his death in 1965 and then his daughters continued the tradition for many years. J. E. Kerley died on 21 August 1935 and his wife, Mary Ella died 4 November 1941.  (obit of Ella Harris Kerley) They are both buried in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Portland.


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