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Berry, John F.
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Berry, John F.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 592-593


John F. Berry residing on section 5, Pleasant Hill township, is one of the prosperous farmers and stock-raisers of Pike county. In his home place he has two hundred and fifty acres of good land, and in addition he owns another tract of one hundred and twenty acres in Martinsburg township. He was born in the house which is yet his home, his natal day being December 12, 1848. His father, Willis F. Berry, was a native of Kentucky, born in 1808 and there he was reared to manhood. He afterward removed to Pike county, Missouri, where he married Arretta J. Wells, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of George Wells. In 1840 Mr. Berry removed with his wife to Pike county, Illinois, and began farming here in the midst of the forest, clearing the land, building a home and developing a good farm. He owned here one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he transformed into highly cultivated fields. He had first a little log cabin, which he afterward replaced by a commodious and substantial modern residence. He also built good barns and added other modern improvements. He remained upon the old family homestead here up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1883. His wife had died some years previously, and he afterward married again. By the first union he had seven children who reached years of maturity, while four are yet living.

John F. Berry, of this review, was reared and educated in Pleasant Hill township, his common school advantages being supplemented by one term of study in McKendree College. Through several winter terms he engaged in teaching in Pike county. He remained with his father and assisted in carrying on the farm until he had attained his majority. He was first married in 1878 to Miss Mary E. Oxley, a native of Linn county, Iowa, where she was reared, and for several years, prior to her marriage, she followed teaching. As a bride she was taken to the home farm on which Mr. Berry yet resides. He took charge of the place and carried on the work for his father. In March, 1883, he lost his first wife, who died leaving three children: Dr. Orland H. Berry, a practicing physician of Belleview, Illinois; Mary R., who has been a successful teacher of the county; and Frank S., at home. In this county in May, 1886, Mr. Berry wedded Libbie Briscoe, who was born in Martinsburg township and spent her girlhood days in this county, acquiring her education in the public schools. She is a daughter of Jeremiah Briscoe, an enterprising agriculturist of Martinsburg township. By this union have been born four children, of whom three are living: Everett B., who is now pursuing his education in Pittsfield; Emma A., attending the home school; and Henry Burdette Berry.

Politically Mr. Berry has been a lifelong republican, casting his first presidential ballot for General Grant in 1872. He was elected and served as assessor for several years, and has been a delegate to numerous county and congressional conventions of his party. He regards it the duty as well as the privilege of every American citizen to exercise his right of franchise in support of the measures which he deems will prove of greatest good. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he is serving as trustee, while Mrs. Berry is a teacher and earnest worker in the Sunday school. Mr. Berry belongs to the Masonic fraternity, holding membership in the blue lodge at Pleasant Hill and in the chapter at Pittsfield. He is a past master of the lodge, and has represented the local organization in the grand lodge of the state at several sessions. His good qualities are many, and have gained him favorable regard with those with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact. Through many years he has been an interested witness of the growth and development of the county, and is classed with the substantial farmers and influential men of Pleasant Hill township. His integrity stands as an unquestioned fact in his career, and his business capacity is manifest in his capable management of his large farming interests. The consensus of public opinion concerning Mr. Berry is favorable, and that his entire career is worthy of respect is indicated by the fact he is best liked where best known.

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Submitted: 07/02/09

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