John Worth Kern was born on Dec. 20, 1849, in Alto. He graduated from the University of Michigan law school in 1869, and was admitted to the Indiana bar that same year. Kern practiced law in Kokomo and served as the city attorney of Kokomo from 1871 to 1884. His other public offices included reporter of the Indiana Supreme Court (1885-1889); member of the Indiana Senate (1893-1897); special assistant U.S. district attorney (1893-1894); and city solicitor of Indianapolis (1897-1901). Kern made unsuccessful bids to be the Democratic candidate for governor of Indiana in 1900 and 1904. In 1908, he was the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket with presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. They lost to William Howard Taft and James Sherman. Kern was elected to the U.S. Senate and served from 1911 to 1917. He died on Aug. 17, 1917, in Asheville, N.C.
- Indiana State Library
- Photo courtesy of Howard County Historical Society