William Ker

William Ker was, with his brother, Geordie, who were right at the heart of the arrival and explosion of football in Scotland. Geordie, George, started in senior football with the North Glasgow team, Alexandra Athletic, in 1876 before joining Queen's Park and from 1880 winning three consecutive Scottish Cup with the club and five international caps. William had been captain of the South Glasgow club, Granville, playing at Myrtle Park by Cathkin , which would begin football in 1872, but also join Queen's Park at some point after 1870 but in time, aged just twenty, to be at right-back in the team essentially from that club that represented Scotland in the first official international in November, 1872.        

William, born in Edinburgh in 1852 and in 1871 working in banking, whilst significantly now living by Cathkin in Cathcart, and Geordie in 1860 in Partick, where they had previously stayed, were sons of the lecturer in mathematics and renown physicist, John Kerr and their lives would continue to intertwine. Both would die in the United States, in Washington, the former in D.C. in 1925 and the latter in Washington State in 1922. In the meantime William had, after also playing for Scotland in the second international, first emigrated to Canada later in 1873, there in 1876 marrying a cousin of the inventor in 1876 of the telephone, fellow Scot Alexander Graham Bell. He then, probably in 1877, returned to Britain, to Leeds, where he managed the opening of the first telephone-exchanges in Yorkshire. It may be coincidence but football came to Leeds on Boxing Day, 1877.

However, the elder, footballing Ker brother would return to North America with three children were all born in Canada, in 1877, 1880 and 1882, as he for five years became General Manager of the Pennsylvania Telephone Co., his elder brother earlier also having emigrated to the Keystone state. But at this point William would change tack completely. He moved right across the USA to Yakima in Washington State, there establishing a large farm, the management of which he would later pass on to his younger brother, Geordie having himself moved to the States in 1884. William then returned east, finally to settle in the US capital until his death and working as an "estate broker". There he is buried with his wife, who survived him by almost two decades, and his eldest son in the District's Rock Creek Cemetery.   

Birth Locator:

1852 - Edinburgh


Residence Locator(s):

1861- 9, Great Kelvin St, Govan, Glasgow

1871 - 2, Cathkin Terrace, Cathcart


Grave Locator

Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington D.C., USA




Other Sources:


And there is always the inestimable Andy Mitchell's:

Scottish Sports History 


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