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Berry family papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS1024

Scope and Content

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.


  • 1832-1965, undated


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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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.

Administrative/Biographical History

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.


1.76 linear ft. (one document case and one oversize box)



System of Arrangement

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1984

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2012.

Berry family papers
Laura Starratt
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305