White River Valley Historical Quarterly

Volume 3, Number 5
Winter 1969


"Joe of the Ozarks" and Family
Key to Pictures on Opposite Page by Pearl Hodges.

1. Joe McGill of the Ozarks with his mother, taken March 8, 1916. Joe spent his last years at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. Is buried there.

2. Part of the family of Thomas J. Berry. Joe McGill married the eldest daughter, Ida, about 1900, (his second marriage). Ida is standing in the back row. Seated (left to right): Sally Berry, deceased; Reuben Berry, San Bernardine, Calif.; Thomas J. Berry; Ida's daughter, Bessie Kaneaster (by her second marriage), now Mrs. Frank Overman of Willow Branch, Indiana; and Maude Berry, Mrs. Ralph Barker of Branson. Mr. and Mrs. Barker have two boys: Morris of Anaheim, Calif. and Dick Barker of Hollister. A son, Rufus died while in high school, and a son, Wayne, executive vice-president of the Security Bank of Branson died in heart surgery in 1965. Reuben Berry has two daughters, Ione Stainer of Los Angeles, and Virginia Sterchi of North Hilands, Calif.

3. Thomas J. Berry, born Dec. 4, 1839, at Cape Girardeau, Mo., died Feb. 6, 1902, in Branson. The first 31 acres of Branson, known as Lucia were from his farm homesteaded during the first part of the Civil War. He and Reuben S. Branson were in partnership in the first general merchandise store in the town. Berry was also a farmer and blacksmith. Worried over a debt of $300, which he could not pay during the drought of 1902, he was driven to ill health and eventual suicide Berry married three times and fathered nineteen children. The first wife, Mary Chenoweth, was born, married and buried on the site where Skaggs Hospital now stands. Six children born to this union were: Ida, Agustus, Henry, Sally, and two sons who died as infants. Ida has told of her mother carrying hard biscuits in her pocket to feed the children during the Civil War. Berry's second wife was Missouri Elizabeth Jones. Their children:

Main, Delacy, Mary Frances, Ora, Cora, Flora and Grover. Maude Berry Barker and Reuben Berry were born to the third wife, Mary Malisa Morris Stephens. The other children were Charles, Mary, Thomas and Leslie.

4. Ida Belle and James McGill, children of Joe and Ida. Another son, Joe, Jr. died in infancy. Ida Belle is now on the faculty of the University at Flaggstaff, Arizona. James and family live at Phoenix.

5. Ida Berry McGill (May 16, 1864-March 12, 1937) was also married three times. The first marriage to Joseph Waugh ended about seven years later when he was killed in a logging accident in Colorado. Here are Ida and children by this marriage: Mary Florence, mother of Pearl (Mrs. Frank Hodges) of Mt. Branson and Gracie, mother of Isobelle (Mrs. Buck Cummings) of Walnut Shade, Mo. Gracie and Albert Renshaw had four other children: Roy (deceased); Mrs. Lee (Hazel) Allen of Texas; Ellen (Mrs. Herschel Gruber), Willow Branch, Indiana; Glen Renshaw, also of Willow Branch; and a baby, Freddie (deceased).

6. Ida Berry's second marriage was to Alexander Kaneaster. Born to them were Elizabeth, Mrs. Floyd Eaves of Phoenix, Arizona; Rosa, Mrs. Ben Layton (deceased), mother of Mrs. Pauline Layton (Mrs. Ben Barton), Branson; Mrs. Mildred Davidson, Omaha, Arkansas; Vernon and Harold Layton of Hollister; Lee and Lucille Layton, (deceased). The third daughter was Bessie. Pictured are Ida and five of her daughters from the three marriages: Rosa, Ida Belle, Elizabeth, Gracie and Bessie. The girls grew up on the old Kaneaster farm on Lakeshore Drive, Branson.

7. Grandchildren taken at the McGill home in Crane, Mo. about 1920.

8.,9.,10 and 11. The family of Ida's eldest daughter, Florence Waugh McFarland: Frank, Long Island, New York; Eunice Rae, (Mrs. John T. Bicknell), San Bernardine, Calif.; Leslie, Rockledge, Fla.; Pearl, (Mrs. Frank Hodges); twin brother, Earl (deceased); Hiram Lee, Prairie Village, Kansas; Pearl; Florence and Hiram S. McFarland, who were married in Forsyth on July 20, 1897. Both died in Kansas City, Mo. in the 1950's.

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'Joe of the Ozarks' and Family


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