Days Gone By - stories from the past

UPDATED – Berry, Alabama owes its existence to the railroad –

Each year the city of Berry, Alabama has a Heritage Festival in the spring when the downtown area is buzzing with fun activities.

Berry is a town in the southeastern part of Fayette County, Alabama about 15 miles east of Fayette, the county seat. Robert Berry, Sr. was a Revolutionary War Soldier and many of his sons settled in Berry County, Alabama.


Unidentified family,  Berry, Alabama from rootsweb.ancestry.com

Unidentified family from Berry, Alabama from rootsweb

Berry Family came from North Carolina

Robert Berry, Jr. left North Carolina with his wife, Mary Camp, in the 1820s and moved with several of his children to Fayette County. The neighborhood in which they settled became known as Berry Station (now Berry), AL. But the town may have been actually named for Thompson Berry (b. Dec. 18, 1801, in Orange County, North Carolina) who later settled in Fayette County, Alabama. Thompson Berry was a large landowner in the area and owned a cotton gin as well as a gristmill.

Location of Berry, Fayette County, Alabama

250px-Fayette_County_Alabama_Incorporated_and_Unincorporated_areas_Berry_Highlighted

In the early 1880s, the Georgia-Pacific Railroad came through the town when they built a line connecting Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama to Columbus, Mississippi. The Berry family donated land for a depot and town. The town was incorporated in 1883.

Alabama Christian College sign

Schools in Berry

The first school was built in 1891, but it burned and was rebuilt in 1895.

(From the July 27, 1905 Fayette Banner)

In 1912, the Church of Christ opened the coeducational Alabama Christian College in the town of Berry in the eastern portion of the county. John Taylor, Robert Logan, Hugh White McCaleb, and Elisha Randolph were instrumental in organizing the church and college. Trustees of the “Alabama Christian College were: J. C. Shepherd, John Tomlin, Mose P. Bailey and O. C. Dobb.” The college continued to operate in Berry until 1922.

Artist rendition of the old Alabama Christian College Building in Berry, Alabama by Artist: Earl Kimbrough – (See more Photographs and story from Alabama Christian College at Berry)

Artist rendition of the old Alabama Christian College Building in Berry, Alabama by Artist Earl Kimbrough

Fires destroy town

Fires in 1902 and 1913 severely damaged the business district, but the town was rebuilt both times. The present courthouse was built in 191.  According to the 2010 census, Berry’s population was 1,148.

The Theron Cannon and Company building was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in April 2010; a year later, it was destroyed in the massive tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011. Constructed in 1905, the Theron Cannon and Company was the oldest original building and the first store to operate in the town of Berry.

The old Theron Cannon and Company Store that advertised of having “Everything From Cradle To Grave,” for early settlers is no longer in business and a new town hall stands where it once stood.i

Each year Berry, Alabama has a Heritage Festival in the spring when the downtown area is buzzing with fun activities.

SOURCES

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Pioneers: A Collection of Lost & Forgotten Stories 

Other stories include:

  • The Yazoo land fraud;
  • Daily life as an Alabama pioneer;
  • The capture and arrest of Vice-president AaronBurr;
  • The early life of William Barrentt Travis in Alabama, hero of the Alamo;
  • Description of Native Americans of early Alabama including the visit by Tecumseh;
  • Treaties and building the first roads in Alabama.

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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10 comments

  1. Pace Freely

    Patsy Deavours Compton

  2. Shirley Guthrie

    Danny Farris would you post a song on Facebook ! I was telling my husband of 38 years who I love very much ! How you used to sing at school ! I had the the biggest crush ! He didn’t even no I exist !

  3. Thanks for the article on Berry, but you had numerous mistakes in the story.

    1. Thanks Jana. The information came from the sources indicated and probably needs to be updated. If you would like to correct the errors, I can post them at the bottom of the story with your name as the source. Email your corrections to [email protected] and I’ll post them as soon as possible.

  4. Im almost positive the quote on Cannon’s store was “From a Cradle to a Coffin”.

    1. You are correct…

  5. Also, the new Town Hall was built before the Cannon building was removed. So it can’t be in the same place.

  6. Susan Fowler

    I’ve been to Berry numerous times.

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