Photo of C.B. Kern THE CARL B. KERN FUND
of The Dayton Foundation

established 1987

1401 S. Main Street, Suite 100  *  Dayton, OH 45409
(937) 222-0410  * * *  FAX: (937) 222-0636

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Carl B. Kern was a great-grandson of John George Kern, a native of Berks County, Pennsylvania, who came to Ohio with his family in 1804 and was eventually one of the original settlers of Germantown, Ohio. The story goes that he and three others from Berks County - Philip Gunckel, Christopher Emrick, and David Miller - had made a trip to Ohio the year before in 1803 "to see the country and if they liked it, to buy land, move out their families and goods, and make Ohio their permanent home." [Source]. Additional biographical information on John George Kern can be found here.

Franklin P Kern, one of John George Kern's grandsons and an uncle to Carl B. Kern, continued a westward trek to Missoula, Montana in the 1870s. "He rode a steamboat up the Missouri River to Fort Benton. He walked from Fort Benton to Missoula. Frank became a Blacksmith and had a blacksmith shop next to the Missoula Mercantile on Front Street." Many members of these Kern family relatives continue to reside in the Missoula area. [Newspaper article]

Timeline of Events in the Life of Carl B. Kern (links open in new window/tab)

  • 1880

    • February 10th? 20th? - Born in Jefferson Township, Ohio

      Carl B. Kern's birthday is listed as February 10th in the Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 and February 20th in the Dayton YMCA's tribute booklet. According to the 1880 census, he lived with his parents and older brother Robert in Jefferson Township, just northeast of Germantown, Ohio. - 1880 Census.

  • 1898

    • May 19th - Graduation from Germantown High School

      "The commencement exercises of Germantown High School will occur on Thursday evening, May 19th. There will be nine graduates, seven gents and two ladies. They are J. Stanley Shuey, Carl B. Kern, Martha E. Sharritt, Lena M. Haag, Chas. E. Smith, Frank Wolpers, Wm. Gunckel, Samuel D. Judy, Milward Huber. Excellent music is promised." - The Dayton Herald, 17 May 1898, page 2. [Clipping]

  • 1900

    • June 12th - "Day Laborer"

      According to the 1900 census, Carl B. Kern was a 20-year-old Day Laborer, living with his parents, George (a Blacksmith) and Mary Kern, four brothers and a sister in Germantown, Ohio on Plum Street. - 1900 Census.

  • 1900 - 1901

    • Tool Maker, Apprentice in Dayton

      The 1900 and 1901 Dayton Ohio City Directories list Carl B. Kern as a 'tool maker' and an 'apprentice', respectively, residing at 625 S. Warren both years. - Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1900, 1901.

  • 1902 - 1904

    • Assistant Secretary, West Side Y.M.C.A

      The 1902 Cleveland Ohio City Directory lists Carl B. Kern's occupation as 'asst. sec.', residing at 396 Franklin Ave. The 1903 and 1904 Directories also list that he is working at the West Side Y.M.C.A. (also known as the West Side Boys' Club) on 376 Franklin Ave. The Secretary of the West Side Y.M.C.A. at the time was Matthew D. (M.D.) Crackel, who founded the Branch in 1901 and who lived down the street with his widowed mother Harriet Ayers and a half-sister Elizabeth Ayers, also at 396 Franklin Ave.... - Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1902, 1903, 1904.

  • 1904

    • August 17th - Personal Note from Elizabeth Ayers to Carl Kern's Mother

      "This is a little gift from one who loves your boy more than all the world and who loves his mother for his sake." - Note

  • 1905

    • Member of the 1905 Springfield College Football Team

      "A photograph of the 1905 Springfield College football team outside infront of a set of bleachers. The team was led by Head Coach Charles E. Street and team Captain Appleton Mason ('06). The members of the team include [in no order]: Percy Holmes ('04), George Peckham ('06), William Young ('07), Aruthur Briggs ('07), Herbert Smith (Manager, '06), Fred Honhart ('08), Franklin Gray ('06), Edward Werner ('07), Harry Cook ('08), Harry Carrell ('07), Chauncey Shean ('07), Joseph Wright ('07), Carl Kern ('07), and John Lawson ('06). The team finished the season with a record of 3 wins and 5 losses." - Springfield College Digital Collections

  • 1906

    • Member of the 1906 Springfield College Football Team

      "A photograph of the 1906 football team at Springfield College. The team was led by Head Coach Charles E. Street and finished the season with 1 win, 5 losses, and 3 ties. The members of the team include [in no order]: Joseph Wright (Captain, '07), Percy Holmes ('04), William Young ('07), Arthur Briggs ('07), Herbert Smith (Manager, '06), Fred Honhart ('08), Edward Werner ('07), Harry Cook ('08), Harry Carrell ('07), Chauncey Shean ('07), Carl Kern ('07), George Pratt (Manager, '08), Jay Bailey ('08), Eugene Allen ('09), Edson McClaflin ('09), George Fleming ('09), Oscar Marks ('07), Ernest Moller ('10), George Crispin ('08), and Jesse Miller ('08)." - Springfield College Digital Collections

  • 1907

    • April 13th - Poughkeepsie Y.M.C.A. Wants C.B. Kern

      "The board of trustees of the Y.M.C.A. has selected Charles P. Angle as a committe of one to go to Springfield, Mass., and make an effort to secure C.B. Kern as secretary of the Boy's Department of the Y.M.C.A..." - Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, 13 Apr 1907, page 6. [Clipping]

    • April 23rd - A Secretary Secured

      "The Y.M.C.A. management has been for some time looking for a secretary of the Boys' Department to fill the place of Ivan P. Flood.... They have now secured Mr. C.B. Kern, who is at present a student at the Y.M.C.A. Training School at Springfield, Mass., who they think will be the right man for the place. Mr. Kern will take up his work here in the fall. He will graduate from the training school this summer. Previous to entering the training school he was assistant secretary in boys' work in an Ohio Y.M.C.A." - Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, 23 Apr 1907, page 8. [Clipping]

    • Summer - Graduation from Springfield College (formerly the International YMCA Training School)

      "A lantern slide of the International YMCA Training School, now Springfield College, alumni. Included are Edgar Robinson (class of 1901), Clarence McLaughlin (class of 1901), Harvey Smith (class of 1893), Carl Kern (class of 1907) and Arthur Cotton (1895). The image is an arrangement of five oval portrait photographs with Kern in the center and (clockwise from upper left) Robinson, McLaughlin, Cotton and Smith. All five alumni graduated from the Training School and became involved in Boys' Work." - Springfield College Digital Collections


  • 1908

    • August 26th - C.B. Kern Marries Miss Mary Elizabeth Ayers

      • "C.B. Kern, secretary of the boys' department of the Y.M.C.A. will wed Miss Mary Elizabeth Ayers, daughter of Mrs. Harriet Ayers, of Cleveland, O., at Chautauqua on Wednesday, August 26th." - Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, 18 Aug 1908, page 6.

      • "Owing to the illness of the bride's mother, the wedding was a very quiet one and only a few of the intimate friends of the bride and groom were in attendance. The ceremony was performed in the parlors of the Washington Cottage, where Mrs. Ayres and her daughter have been stopping during the summer. Miss Ayres was a former Cleveland school teacher. It was in that city that she met Mr. Kern, who was then engaged in the boys' work under the direction of the Y.M.C.A. in that city." - Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, 27 Aug 1908, page 5. [Clipping]

  • 1909

    • August 27th - Secretary Kern Resigns

      "The Local Y.M.C.A. is to lose the services of Carl B. Kern, the popular secretary of the boys department, as Mr. Kern has sent in his resignation which is to take effect on September 1. From here he will go to Dayton, Ohio, where he will take up the position of assistant secretary in the boys branch of the association in that city.... Mr. Kern's reasons for leaving are that he and his wife will be nearer their homes in that section of the country and it will be possible for them to visit their parents more often." - Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, 27 Aug 1909, page 5. [Clipping]

    • September 9th - Loving Cup for Secretary Kern

      "A touching testimonial to his excellent work done in the uplifting of the Young Mens Christian Association in this city and to his character - the highest type of American manhood - and a send off, such as only true friends can give, was tendered Secretary Carl B. Kern of the Boys Department.... The members of the boys department in token of their appreciation of the work done by both, Mr. and Mrs. Kern, presented them with a handsome silver loving cup bearing their names and the date of the presentation.... Overcome with gratitude and hardly able to express his thanks Mr. Kern took the memento of their affection and grasping it tightly in the palms of his two hands stammered that they would always hold it as one of their most treasured assets." - Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, 10 Sep 1909, page 5. [Clipping]

    • September 17th - Reception for New Secretary

      "Seventy-five boys and a number of older people tendered a reception to Carl Kern, the new secretary of the Boys' Department of the Y.M.C.A. Friday evening. The reception was held in the main building.... The party repaired to the Boys' Building, where refreshments were served and music rendered by the Mozart Quartet." - The Dayton Herald, 18 Sep 1909, page 14. [Clipping]

    • September - Arrival of C.B. Kern in Dayton

      Three articles from the Dayton newspapers announce the arrival of Mr. Kern to the Dayton Y.M.C.A..

  • 1914

    • August 13th - Canoe Trip Down the Kentucky River

      "C.B. Kern, boy's work director of the Y.M.C.A., accompanied by Mrs. Kern, will start Thursday on their canoe trip down the Kentucky river. They have already shipped their canoe to Beattyville, Ky., and will paddle from there to High Bridge.... They carry with them a fly and a 50-foot, and make a "lean-to" which serves as a protection when they sleep.... They carry also cooking utensils and buy their provisions as they go along. Last year they started at High Bridge and paddled to Louisville." - Dayton Daily News, 13 Aug 1914, page 2. [Clipping]

  • 1917

    • June 1st - Letter from Carl B. Kern to 14-Year-Old Robert Neff

      Signed by C.B. Kern, this letter was a gentle reminder to Robert Neff to renew his membership. The letter has handwritten notes that Mr. Kern "died from injuries June 3" and was buried June 6th. - Letter.


The Accident

  • 1917

    • June 3rd

      "Carl B. Kern Suffers Fatal Injury at Troy Pike Crossing. An automobile truck, which Mr. Kern was driving, was struck by the 11 o'clock north bound [Dayton and Troy traction] car on the Troy pike just north of the city. Mr. Kern was thrown beneath the wheels of the car and suffered injuries which caused his death in Miami Valley hospital at 3:30 Sunday afternoon." - The Dayton Herald, 4 Jun 1917, page 3. [Clipping]

      "Car Kills Carl Kern At Dayton - Former Secretary of Local Y.M.C.A. Boys' Department Victimm of Crash - Honored And Loved By All. Word has been received in Poughkeepsie from Dayton, Ohio, announcing the tragic death of Carl B. Kern, former secretary of the local Young Men'd Christian Association. Mr. Kern visited this city about two weeks ago and called on friends." - The Evening Enterprise, 7 Jun 1917, front page. [Clipping]

    • June 4th - Editorial - "A Friend of the Boys"

      "Carl B. Kern sought no greater honor than to be accounted worthy the friendship of the hundreds of young fellows who were under his personal care and attention in the boys' department of the Y.M.C.A.... Camp Ozone, at Ft. Ancient, where hundreds of these full-of-life young chaps were accustomed to spend their vacaton days, will stand as a permanent memorial to the aggressive activities of Mr. Kern.... And so today the boys of the Y.M.C.A. are grieving because one of their number has gone away. It will be a rather difficult task to fill the vacancy that Carl Kern's death has created. His loss is a personal one in hundreds of Dayton homes." [Full Text] - Dayton Daily News, 4 Jun 1917, page 6. [Clipping]

    1917 Carl B. Kern Tribute Pamphlet

    "Every kid in town wuz friends to C.B."

    • A document including a portrait of Carl B. Kern surrounded by a pen and ink drawing of a boy mourning the portrait. The words "Every kid in town wuz friends to C.B." also appear on the image. On the bottom reads "Ashbrook in Dayton Herald". A handwritten caption in the back of the photograph reads "Carl B. Kern Class of 1907 Boys' Secretary at Dayton, Ohio Died June 3, 1917" - Springfield College Digital Collections