Friday, September 29, 2006

The Tribe of the Twelve Benjamins    (part 1)

Note:   Following in four installments, posted as other news permits, is a paper written by Gerald Jones of Tucson, Arizona concerning the Berry Plain Berrys family, posted with his permission in the hope that it may be of assistance in the resolution and determination of which Benjamin Berry was where, and when.

*    *    *    *    

Twelve is a rather magical or mystical number.   There are the twelve Apostles, the twelve days of Christmas, the twelve months of the year, and twelve hours in the day, or at least one-half a day.   And, of course, there were the twelve tribes of Israel, which included the youngest and most beloved son of Jacob, Benjamin.

The Berry family must have had many beloved sons because they named many of them Benjamin.   From 1720 to 1820 we find at least twelve closely related Benjamin Berrys, a number of whom often congregated in the same place.   Since there are two Benjamins in our ancestry, we must try to untangle who is who.   Failure to untangle has created a number of mistakes in attributing events to the wrong Benjamin.   This is particularly true of our earliest Benjamin ancestor born in 1724, second son of Joseph and Catherine.

These are some of the erroneous events attributed to him:
   -He was the founder of Berryville, now the county seat of Clark County, Virginia.
   -He went to Kentucky with Daniel Boone before the Revolutionary War and was
     lucky to escape massacre by Indians.
   -He was in Boonesboro, Kentucky before 1790.
   -He went with his son, Benjamin, Jr., to Kentucky in the 1790s.
   -He died in Henderson KY in 1820.

Some of these events did occur, but they did not involve our Benjamin ancestor, just other Benjamin Berrys. To sort this all out, I will describe each of the Benjamins perhaps reducing confusion (probably an unattainable goal).   To keep them straight in this paper, I will assign them each a number 1 to 12.   This is not in order of their births, but only in the order described here.

Benjamin 1, sometimes referred to as Benjamin Prince Berry, is our first ancestral Benjamin born in Stafford County, Virginia in 1724.   He married Elizabeth Thornley before 1758 when they made a deed selling property in King George County on the Rappahannock.   This sale was in concert with a sale by his older brother Joseph, who then left for Frederick County in the northwest of Virginia.   Benjamin apparently stayed in King George until 1770 when he sold additional land there and left to join his brothers Joseph and Thomas in Frederick.
Benjamin 1 had seven sons who lived to maturity and several daughters, one of whom was Winifred who will later play a part in this report.   Benjamin remained in Frederick until after the 1810 census.   He died there in 1814-1815.   This is proved by the Frederick County personal and real estate tax lists and a lease document of 1792 regarding which the children of Benjamin 1 assigned their interests on 15 March 1815.      (to be continued...)
Responsibility for this report is solely with the author, Gerald Jones.   Please send any additions or corrections to or phone me at (520) 825 0728 in Tucson AZ.
Copyright January 2006, Tucson AZ
Revised:   23 Sep 2006


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