A. H. Berry’s Travels
A Story about Alexander Howard Berry and most of his family
Generation 1 Robert and Mary Williamson Berry
Generation 2 Robert and Elizabeth Cate Berry
Generation 3 Robert Jr and Mary Camp Berry
Generation 4 George and Susan Berry
Generation 5 John and Mary Howell Berry
A.H. Berry by Hettie Berry Clark
A.H. Berry, his wife Josephine(Gregory) with four of their six children, Willie, John, Griff and Leona and two passengers, O.B. Williamson and Hugh Morrow a nephew of Josephine’s,came to Borden County, Texas. They came the first of December, 1906 in a wagon pulled by horses from Hasting, Oklahoma to Gail, Texas. They had been in Oklahoma since 1884 where they participated in the Oklahoma Land Rush and received a patent on the land in the Indian Territory on July 15,1904. They sold the land in 1906 to move to Borden County. They moved to Oklahoma from Henrietta, Clay Co.,Texas.
A.H. (Alexander) Berry’s father, John, had moved to Rusk County, Texas from North Carolina with a stop in Alabama to’ marry a woman named Mary Howell. They had two children while still in Alabama, but the next four were born in Rusk County. They arrived in Texas in 1844 or 1845.
When A.H. arrived in Texas, he rented a house for his family in Gail where they lived until Christmas Eve, 1906. They then rented the Jeff Crawford farm which had a two story frame house and was three miles north and three miles west of property he had purchased on an earlier trip to the area. His son, Willie, had also purchased a quarter section,but there were no houses on them, A.H.’s piece was a half section which he paid $2.50 per acre for, The land was in the northwest part of Borden County. With lumber brought from Big Springs, a small two room house was built on each of the parcels and the families moved there in September of 1907.
The following spring, l9O8, a school was organized with A.H. Berry, Asa Jones and James E. Benham as trustees. The first school teacher was Miss Hancock,the maiden aunt of Homer Hancock.
Other teachers through the years included Brown Bishop, Mr. Stephenson, Blanton Street, Mrs. Sammie Pierce, Miss Juanita Parker, daughter of Jim Parker, Mr. and Mrs. Hambrick, Miss Anna Griffith, Mr. and Mrs. Otis Parr and many more.
The school and the community were named for A. H. Berry and for Willie Berry who donated the land on which the first school and the first Baptist Church were built. It was called Berry Flat, Texas. Other families in Berry Flat at that time were, the Riley Rains, Jim Parkers, Milt Simpsons, Millers, Tom Smith, father of Ned Smith.
In the summer of 1908, the Baptist Church was organized at the old Plainview school and moved to Berry Flat in 1913. Josephine Berry, her son Willie, Mr. and Mrs. Doc Howell and Mrs. Howell’s parents were charter members, A. H. Berry was Methodist,but joined the Baptist Church in August 1910 with his children,Griff and Leona (Onie) and some others, Brothers Braswell, Burns, Ratliff, Isbell, Williams and others have pastored the church over the years.
John Cleveland Berry, also the son of A.H. and Josephine Berry along with his sister Etta and her husband Hal Johnson and their children went to Grady, New Mexico in early 1907. John Berry and Hal Johnson filed for homestead rights on Government land there.
The Hal Johnsons remained there, but John Berry returned to Texas. While in Texas he met a young woman by the name of Georgia Beach, who lived in Lynn County about six miles north of the A.H. Berry farm. On May 19,1907 John Berry and Georgia Beach were married after a whirlwind courtship. They went on their honeymoon (by covered wagon), back up to Grady, New Mexico where John had filed for the homestead land.
That winter both families the Hal Johnsons and the John Berrys, became very ill, There was no doctor nor medicine of any kind-available and the sickness was very hard on them, The Hal-Johnsons lost two small sons within one week of each other from the measles.
In the spring of 1908, John And Georgia Berry moved back to a little place in Lynn County called ‘Draw’, There they bought a quarter section of land and lived on it, The place was about six miles north of the A.H. Berry place.
Hal Johnson and his wife Etta and family also returned and moved to a place called Fluvanna,just below the caprock in Borden County. Their son Albert was born there in July 1908. There was no post office in Fluvanna and as the custom was in those days,the place of his birth was listed as Gail,which was the County seat of Borden County.
From there the Johnsons moved to Posts Texas and while they were living there another song Matthew, was born on July 20, 1911.
Willie Berry married Sarah May Benham,daughter of James E. Benham in February 1909. They moved to Post, Texas where the Hal Johnson family was. Willie’s first son, Alexander (Alec) was born there in December 1909. Sometime before the birth of their second child,a daughter named Hettie,born on April 9, 1912 the Willie Berry family returned to Berry Flat.
The Hal Johnsons moved to a little place just outside Post called ‘Ragtown’. Again, no post office. Their daughter WillEtta (Willie) was born there in 1915 and their daughter Leola (Ola) in 1917,
Some of the people in Berry Flat at this time were the Charles Etters, J.J. Walks, the Howells, Ed Russells, Bob Austins, Henry Suits, Jim Weems, Frank Hughes, Sank Gleghorns, W.A. Treadways and the Bill Platts. Mrs. Nettie Gregory, mother of Josephine Gregory Berry,also an Indian of either the Cherokee or Shawnee tribes came to live with her daughter after the death of her husband,Griffin Gregory, In 1909. She had previously lived out in the country about five miles from Oklahoma City with her son, Jeff, Her children Maude, Griffin (Jeff), and John went back to the Indian Reservation in Oklahoma, claimed their Indian heritage, lived out their lives and were buried there, ‘Nettie Gregory died in Borden County August 29, 1912 and was buried in the old Plainview Cemetery.
Griff Berry married Minnie Suits,daughter of Henry Suits, April 6, 1911 and lived on a rented farm between Berry Flat and O’Donnell for a year. A.H. Berry gave them the quarter section north of his own place and they built a house on it and lived there until 1920. At that time they sold the place and moved six miles south and four miles west,where they bought another place and lived until 1924, at which time they moved to O’Donnell.
Leona (Onie) Berry married Ben Summers,January 4, 1911 and moved to Dermont, Texas where they lived until December 1913gat which time they moved to the A.H. Berry place.
In the fall of 1916 a family by the name of C. L. Johnson moved onto the old place one mile north of A.H, Berry’s place. They were not kin to Hal Johnson.
The drought had begun and Hal and Etter Johnson had gone from Post to Gomez, Texas looking for work. It was now 1918.
The family heard there was work in Colorado so the A.H. Berrys, the Willie Berrys with son Alec, daughter Hettie and a second son, Willie Howell Jr., born June 2,1917, the Ben Summers family with three children, Newborn, born 1913, J.C., born 1915 and Maggie born 1917, the Hal Johnsons and seven children, Myrtle, Edith, Lula, Matthew, Albert, WillEtta, and Leola,and the C.L. Johnsons all loaded into covered wagons and went to Pueblo, Colorado. When they arrived at Pueblo,the Hal Johnson,and Ben Summers families loaded their belongings into boxcars and continued on to Rifles Colorado. A.H. Berry was not well and decided to continue on in the wagons. He was accompanied by the Willie Berry family, The C.L. Johnson family stayed in Pueblo.
Rifle was across the mountains from Pueblo and when A.H. and his group reached Salida, Colorado the altitude was too high and he could not breathe. They backed the wheels of the wagons into the river to turn around as the road was too narrow, and returned to Pueblo. When they arrived there was a message waiting for Willie from Hal Johnson asking them to wait as they were returning on the same train they had gone on. They had unloaded nothing but the horses, After they returned to Pueblo the group found jobs and went to work. In a few months A.H. became homesick and wanted to return to Texas. The A.H. Berrys and the Willie Berrys did so at that time, August 1918, but the Johnsons and Summers families did not return with them. Those who stayed in Colorado all came down with the influenza and Ben Summers died. So many people were dying that it was almost a week before he could be buried in Pueblo.
A few months after Ben Summers death, Hal Johnson and his family and Leona (Onie) Berry Summers and her children loaded their livestock and belongings into a boxcar and rode the train back to O’Donnell. That was December 1918. When they returned to Texas they again settled in Borden County. Leona and her three children moved into the house with her parents.
The Hal Johnsons moved onto the old place formally occupied by the C.L. Johnsons. It was there that their youngest child, a daughter named Juanita was born March 1, 1920.
In 1920 A.H. Berry and his wife Josephine built a small house on the east side of their property and moved into it letting Leona and her children live in the one he originally built. On November 27, 1920 Leona (Onie)Summers married Montgomery (Dick) Simpson in Tahoka, Texas. They continued to live on the Berry place,
Willie Berry and his family moved to Amherst, Texas in 1924, Hal Johnson moved his family there in 1925. A.H. Berry died in 1926 while visiting his son, Willie and is buried there. Griff Berry and his wife Minnie (Suits), separated. The children were left with their grandmother, Mrs. Henry Suits, until 1932 when they joined their father in Amherst, Griff Berry died July 29, 1952 and is buried in Amherst.
Josephine (Gregory) Berry was bitten twice by a diamond-back rattle snake while picking wild plums near Pampa, Texas. She died the next morning, July 9, 1930 and is buried beside her husband in the Amherst Cemetary.
James E. Benham died in Littlefield, Texas in 1938. His wife Hettie Rice Benham died in 1942 while living with her daughter, Mrs. Willie Berry in Amherst.
John and Georgia Berry moved to Lynn County in 1908 where they lived until she died August 23, 1954. She is buried in the Draw Cemetery. He lived with his daughter in Lubbock until his death October 13, 1963, Both died of coronary heart failure. He, too, is buried in the Draw Cemetary.
Hal Johnson died September 5. 1942 and is buried in Amherst, Etta Berry Johnson died in Casa Grande@ Arizona in 1958, but is buried in Amherst, Texas,
Willie Berry died in Amherst, November 7. 1958, He is buried in the Littlefield Cemetary. His wife Sarah May Benham Berry died in Littlefield at the Knight Rest Home, October 22,1979- She is buried beside her husband in Littlefield.
The Dick Simpsons lived on the Berry place and reared the three Summers children and five Simpson children, Clarence born 1921, Betty Jo born 19269 Mona Lee born 1929, Billy Ray born 1933 and Fern born 1935.They lived there until May 1961 at which time they sold the farm to John Stephens and moved to Lubbock because Mr. Simpson was in poor health. He died in the V.A. Hospital in Big Springs, November 3. 1968 and is buried in the Peaceful Gardens Cemetary, south of Lubbock. Onie Simpson continued to live in her home until July 31, 1970. She stayed in the hospital or at Ray’s Hospitality Home from that time until her death July 20, 1971, She is buried beside her husband in Peaceful Gardens.
The above correction to the article from Berry Flats 1976,
comes from Hettie Berry Clark and WillEtta Johnson Comer, May 1986
Both lived in Phoenix, Arizona Both have passed on.
Willie Berry did not come from Indian Territory with A.H. and Josephine, He went back and got them. Willie moved to Sterling City Sterling County near San Angelo in 1900. He went back to Hasting in 1906 and helped the family move to Borden County, It became Oklahoma in 1907.
W.H. Berry Jr.