Biography of Charles Henry Berry
Winona County, MN Biographies

CHARLES HENRY BERRY, one of the lawyers who located at Winona at an early day, is still living. He was born at Westerly, Rhode Island, September 12, 1823, and is the son of Samuel F. and Lucy (Stanton) Berry. Both parents were descended from Huguenot ethigrants, who left France on the repeal of the edict of Nantes in the time of Louis XIV. The grandfather of our subject, Samuel Berry, held the office of justice of sessions in the county of Kings, Rhode Island, under the Colonial government. His commission bea.rs date May 7. 1774, is signed by Gov. Joseph Wanton, and is issued in the name of “His Most Sacred Majesty George the Third.” He was known as a conservative at the beginning of the war of the revolution, but held his office until after the peace of 1783, and did efficient service in the cause of independence. Samuel F. Berry, in October, 1828, removed with his family to Steuben county, New York, and settled in what was then a dense wilderness. about five miles from the present village of Corning. The tourney from Rhode Island was over four hundred miles, wholly by emigrant wagon. The route crossed the "North River." as the Hudson was then generally called, at the village of Hudson, thence over the Catskill mountains to and down the Susquehanna and up the Chemung. The subject of our sketch has a distinct remembrance of this removal, and of the solemn and tearful farewells between his mother and her friends as she departed for the "up country," none of them expecting to meet her again. A removal was at that time a serious thing. The first to be done in their new home was to clear the land of its heavy forests of hemlock, pine and hardwood timber, a stern rugged task, in which parents and children alike joined. But however cheerless the prospects of the pioneer to the parents. it was not more promising to the children. Their communion was with nature, their pleasure in the pathless woods; schools, all the appliances of civilized life, were only what the hardy settlers could improvise. But the boy had health and strength, and played, with his companions, his part in the short winter school and the rougher labors of the year. When seventeen years old he went to reside at Maine village, Broome county, where he attended an excellent private school conducted by Rev. William Gates. Alternating between this school and other employments, he passed the time until the fall of 1843, when in his turn he tried his hand at teaching. In fact a school was at this time a common employment for the winter. In Prof. Gates' school, and from forced self-instruction, he acquired the rudiments of an education, which was continued at the Canandaigua Academy, where he completed an English and scientific course, graduating in July, 1846. At this time he had begun to read law in the office E. G. Lapham. of Canandaigua (now United States senator). and after reading about one and a-half years in this office he entered the law office of Hon. Alvah Worden, in the same town. Here lie remained until admitted to the bar; as SOOfl as admitted he went to Corning. in 1849 he opened an office among the friends of his boyhood, and practiced alone until in May, 1851, he took as a partner the late Hon. 0. W. Waterman. The firm of Berry & Waterman continued, first at Corning, then at Winona, until the close of the year 1871, when the junior partner retired, he having been elected district judge. Mr. Berry came to Winona to make it his home in May, 1855, and on the 17th of that month secured an office. He dates his business life in Winona from that time, though he, in fact, returned to Corning to make final arrangements for removal, and did not get back to Winona until in June. Since that time, as member of the firm of Berry & Waterman, then alone, and now of the firm of Berry & Morey, he has here practiced his profession without interruption. He was attorney of record in the first judgment docketed in Winona county, Frederick S. Barlow vs. Charles S. Hamilton, for $1,544.60, rendered and docketed August 7, 1855. Though an attorney, his desires have always been for peace, and not for controversy; and it is but just. to say that he has rarely allowed a dispute to be litigated if in his power to secure a settlement. On November 14, 1850, at Corning, New York, he was married to Miss Frances Eliza Hubbell, who is also still living. They have one child, Kate Louise, born August 25, 1857, who is the wife of his law partner, Mr. C. A. Morey. Mr. Berry, with his family, attends the Episcopal church, to the establishment and support of which he has ever been a reliable contributor. Born and reared in the democratic thith, he has generally acted with that party, though from 1847 to the dissolution of the "free soil party," he was a zealous advocate of its anti-slavery doctrines. He, however, refused to go with the abolition wing into the republican party and settled back into the old line. He cannot be said to have sought office, and yet from time to time has held office. He has been state senator, was the first attorney general of the state. and has held other offices, but the one we believe he attaches the most importance to was his connection with the public schools of the city. He was from 1870, for eight years, president of the board of education, during which time the "Madison" and "Washington" school buildings were erected, their grounds laid out and set with trees, and the schools themselves elevated to a high standard of excellence. With his equally willing associates in the board, he and they may long enjo the pleasure of seeing these institutions growing in beauty and in power of usefulness; the product of the liberality and enlightened spirit of the people who furnished the means, as well as of the fostering care of the builders. He also rendered efficient service in securing the location of the first state normal school at Winona, and in the legislature in defeating the attempt made in 1874 to eliminate normal schools from the educational system of the state. In works of internal improvement of the state, as well as in all things pertaining to the advancement of every real interest of the city and county, he has ever taken an interest, and generally given active and efficient aid.


FROM:
The History of Winona County
Together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, Etc.
BY: A. T. Andreas
H. H. Hill and Company, Publishers
Chicago 1883.

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