Berry family papers
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Berry family papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305. 404.814.4040.
Creator: Berry family
Creator: Berry, John Marshall, 1835-1883
Title: Berry family papers
Dates: 1832-1965, undated
Quantity: 1.76 linear ft. (one document case and one oversize box)
Identification: ahc.MSS1024

Biographical/Historical Note

John Marshall Berry (1835-1883) was born in Maryville, Tennessee, to James Enfield Berry (1790-1857) and Rebecca Crawford McChesney (1794-1841). James Enfield Berry was the first mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee. John Marshall Berry married twice, first to Tennessee J. Russell (1840-1860). They had one child, George Russell (1860-1922). John Marshall Berry moved to Rome, Georgia, before the Civil War. During the Civil War he fought with Company E, 8th Georgia regiment, as a volunteer soldier and was released on a medical discharge. After the Civil War he worked as a merchant in Rome until his death. John Marshall Berry married Mary Margaret Rawlins (1845-1931) in 1866 and had four children: Varina (1868-1955), Henry R. (1870-1941), John Marshall (1872-1956), and Mary McChesney (1874-1950). Varina Berry married Charles Scranton Pruden (1861-1917) in 1894. Pruden was a commercial agent for the Central Georgia Railway Company, patented the nut lock, and was First Commissioner of Rome in 1916. Henry R. married Mattie Dortch (1881-1970) in 1908; John Marshall (1872-1956) married Elizabeth Louise (1881-1961); Mary McChesney never married. John Marshall Berry's (1835-1883) brother, Thomas Berry (1820-1887), was also a merchant in Rome and married Francis Margaret Rhea (1838-1887). Their daughter, Martha McChesney Berry (1866-1942), was the founder of Berry College in Rome, Georgia.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains articles, certificates, correspondence, deeds, a ledger, military records, and school assignments. The majority of the records consist of deeds dated 1832-1887 of properties purchased by John Marshall Berry in Rome, Georgia. Included are deeds for one half of a commercial lot bought by Charles H. Smith, former mayor of Rome, Georgia, and one for 22 Bull Street in Savannah, Georgia. There is a merchant ledger dated 1864-1869 perhaps belonging to John Marshall Berry with the initials J. M. and J. C. A. on the spine. It contains handwritten customer accounts, mostly in alphabetical order. There are also family wedding invitations for Varina Berry, Henry R. Berry, and John Marshall Berry. Military records include a medical discharge letter from 1861 and the parole pass from 1865. Clippings include an article describing Varina Berry's wedding and the genealogy of the Berry family beginning in 1746. Also included are school records containing certificates awarded to Varina Berry from the Augusta Female Seminary in Staunton, Virginia, and classroom assignments for a variety of subjects including zoology, biology, and grammar.


This collection is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Index Terms

Berry College.
Berry family--Correspondence
Berry, Henry R., 1870-1941
Berry, John Marshall, 1835-1883
Berry, John Marshall, 1872-1956
Berry, Mary McChesney, 1874-1950
Berry, Varina, 1868-1955
Business records--Georgia
Dortch, Mattie, 1881-1970
Floyd County (Ga.)
Georgia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Louise, Elizabeth, 1881-1961
Mary Baldwin College.
Pruden, Charles Scranton, 1861-1917
Rawlins, Mary Margaret, 1845-1931
Rome (Ga.)
Smith, Charles H., 1826-1903
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Berry family papers, MSS 1024, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1984

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2012.


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Container List




11Articles, undated



MSS OS box 2.41Certificates, 1885-1905
2Correspondence, 1861-1908, undated
3Deeds, Rome, Georgia, 1832-1887
4Deeds, Savannah, Georgia, 1886-1965
5Ledger, 1864-1869
6Military records, 1861-1865
7Newspaper Clippings, 1995
8School assignments, 1903