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Born and reared in Illinois, and obtaining his education in the district schools of that State, while he began the battle of life for himself as a tiller of its rich and productive soil, and so with many incentives to become attached to the State and its institutions, John W. Berry, of Marne, Cass county, is nevertheless, devotedly loyal to Iowa, the commonwealth of his adoption, and rejoices in every phase of its greatness and power, much of which he has helped to create, so far as the locality in which he has lived is concerned.

Mr. Berry was born in Menard county, Ill., on March 29, 1835, and is a son of James and Jane (Rutledge) Berry, and a brother of Argyle F. Berry, a sketch of whom appears on another page of this volume (which see for further particulars, as to the lives of the parents). John W. Berry farmed in his native State until 1867, then moved to Cass county, making the journey from Des Moines to Atlantic by team. On his arrival here he bought a tract of 200 acres of wild land in Brighton township. The place was but slightly improved, there being on it, in the way of buildings, only a little log cabin on the creek and a straw-roofed stable. Settling down to work amid these uninviting surroundings and scant comforts, he at once began to break up his untamed land and bring it to cultivation and productiveness. In time, by assiduous and well applied industry, good judgment and careful study of his land, its capabilities and its needs, he made of it one of the best farms in the township, and as he prospered he bought other land unutil [sic until] he now owns 500 acres as good in quality as can be found in the county, and all improved with first rate buildings and other necessary structures. On this extensive domain he follows general farming, carrying on his enterprise on a large scale, and making it profitable by excellent management, he being accounted one of the leading farmers of his township.

On January 6, 1859, John W. Berry was united in marriage with Harriet Bell, a native of the same county as himself. Her parents were Jacob and Polly (Pullum) Bell, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Virginia. They lived long in Illinois and died in that State. Ten children have been born in the Berry household, and of these five are living: Mary J., wife of J. D. Peterson, of this county; William B., a farmer, prosperous and progressive, in this county; Robert A., Jr., who is traveling in Nebraska; Cordelia B. wife of J. B. Burkey, of Walnut, in this State; and Iona A., wife of Manley Dunham, of Marne, this county. Mr. Berry is a stockholder in the Fair Association and takes an active interest in its success, as he does in everything which seems likely to promote the welfare and prosperity of the section. He has never withheld his aid from any commendable undertaking for the good of the township or county, or the benefit of their people. His citizenship has been fruitful for the progress and development of this portion of the State, and by all classes of the people he is regarded as an excellent citizen and a worthy man.

From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 268-269.

Another farmer of Menard county, Ill., was John W. Berry, who came to Cass county in 1867, and bought 305 acres of land in section 32, which included the old Meredith farm. There was a house standing on the bank of Indian creek in the northwest quarter of the section, into which he moved and lived one year. He then built a larger and better residence on the southwest quarter of the same section. Eventually he owned a fine 500-acre farm, devoted to both grain and stock raising.

From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pg. 130.

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