Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


JAMES A. BERRY. Since James A. Berry, well-known farmer and stock breeder of Franklin township, Greene county, located in this vicinity over sixty years ago he has noted many changes--among others, a change of climatic conditions--the seasons are not so dependable now as formerly, consequently, the farmer has had to change his methods. One of the most serious conditions now to be met with is a drought at some period during each growing season. But he, with others, have learned that when crops are grown in rotation and proper tillage methods are followed, they will suffer less from dry weather than when they are grown continually, that crop rotation is usually of more importance than the method of tillage used in this respect, although both are important.

Mr. Berry was born, January 1, 1842, in South Carolina. He is a son of William B. and Martha (Latham) Berry. The, father of our subject was a native of Alabama and was a son of Robert Berry, who located in South Carolina when a young man, where he married, after which he moved to Tennessee, remaining in that state until 1852, when he emigrated to Greene county, Missouri. The subject of this sketch was two years old when he left his native state with his parents, and his early boyhood was spent in Tennessee. William B. Berry was a life-long farmer, and owned a good farm in Greene county, and here his death occurred on the homestead September 21, 1892. Politically, he was a Republican, but was never active in public affairs. The mother of our subject was also a native of South Carolina, and her death occurred on the home farm in Greene county in 1891. She was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church at Mt. Comfort, and she and her husband were both buried in the cemetery near that church. They were the parents of eight children, named as follows: James A., of this sketch; Mrs. Calverna Ann Runnells, deceased; Mrs. Emily Runnells, deceased; Mrs. Mary Jane McCurdy; Mrs. Dora Lay lives in Center township, this county; Mrs. Etta Newton, deceased; the two youngest children died in infancy.

James A. Berry was eleven years of age when he accompanied the rest of the family to Greene county, Missouri, and he worked on the home farm in Franklin township, and was educated in the township schools. He remained on the home farm until his marriage, then moved to his present farm of one hundred and twenty acres. He also owns forty acres west of his home farm, which lies near the old home place. He has been very successful as a general farmer and live stock raiser, making a specialty of grain and trading in horses and mules, and formerly he raised large numbers of hogs annually, but of late years has not made such an extensive effort along this line. He has an excellent group of buildings. In the fall of 1912 he built a breeding barn, thirty-six by forty-eight feet, with box stalls--modern and complete. He is one of the best-known horse breeders in this part of the county and owns some fine stock, including a beautiful black Percheron stallion, "Charley," which is a splendid saddle horse, registered. He also owns "Roscoe," six years old, fifteen hands high; weight, fourteen hundred pounds. He also owns two fine jacks; one, "Black John," is a coal black, seven years old, and fourteen and one-half hands high.

Mr. Berry was married on December i8, 1860, to Elizabeth Katherine McCurdy, a daughter of Thomas and Nancy M. (Appleby) McCurdy. Mr. McCurdy Was born in Tennessee, December 5, 1820, and removed from that state to Arkansas when he was eleven years of age. Remaining in that state until he was twenty years old, he came to Greene county, Missouri, married the following year and located on a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, of well-improved land in Franklin township, and here his death occurred August 28, 1904, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. His wife was born in Tennessee, July 27, 1821, and died on the home farm in Greene county, Missouri, July 3, 1901. Thomas McCurdy was a soldier in the Civil war, having enlisted in Company K, Seventy-second Missouri Volunteer Infantry, in 1861. He did guard duty mostly, and was kept with the garrison in Springfield most of the time. He had several very narrow escapes from serious wounds and at one time holes were shot through his hat and cape, and at another time a grape-shot narrowly missed his foot, but he went through the conflict unscathed, and was honorably discharged in 1865.

Fourteen children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Berry, namely: Leroy McClelland was killed by a falling log at the age of seventeen; Oliver DeWitt lives in Franklin township; Rolland Pate lives in Pittsburg, Kansas; Mrs. Calverna Ann Patterson lives in Springfield; Gustavus Antioch Finklinburg is a memberof the real estate firm known as the Ozark Land Company, Springfield; Mrs. Fidelia Cornell lives in Springfield; James Blaine lives in Springfield and is a member of the firm of the Ozark Land Company, being in the real estate business with his brother; John Logan lives in Springfield; the other six children died in infancy.

During the Civil War Mr. Berry enlisted for service in the Federal army in 1861, in Company K, Seventy-second Missouri Volunteer Infantry. He drove a team most of the time, however he took part in the battle of Springfield when Marmaduke and Shelby attacked the town, on January 8, 1863, and he was also in several skirmishes. He did guard duty for some time about the commissary. He was mustered out and honorably discharged, August 20, 1865. He remained in Springfield during his entire service. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He has always been a Republican but now votes independently in local affairs. His wife is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church at Mt. Comfort. When a young man, just before the breaking out of the Civil war, Mr. Berry hauled lumber for the old court house, also hauled sand from the James river for the same, driving six yoke of oxen. He recalls many interesting reminiscences of the early days, and it is a pleasure to visit his home.

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