Sunday, February 1, 2015

William & Margaret Berryman

February 27th marks 130 years since the death of William Mitchell Berryman.
William was born on August 7, 1807, the son of William Berryman and his second wife, Patience Clarke.  His father, whose family came from Virginia, was serving as a trustee of the Lutheran Church in Reisterstown when the church was incorporated by an Act of the Maryland General Assembly in 1821.

On October 9, 1834, William married Margaret Wheeler, the daughter of Edward Wheeler and Hannah Parish.  By the 1850 census, the couple were living in Carroll County and had five children, ranging in age from two months to fourteen years old.  William had no occupation given, though he was most likely a farmer or a farm hand, like the two boarders living in the household, Milton Frizzell and Joseph Hess.
In 1855, the Berrymans moved to Reisterstown, when Margaret purchased a little over an acre of land, adjacent to a half-acre lot owned by William's mother Patience, from the Moale family for $128.  A new house was soon built on the property, as described by an article in the Northwest Star:
"... a sturdy seven-room house with lovely porches and climbing vines to shade them.  The house itself ... [was] made of American bricks -- probably made at the brickyard near Reisterstown.  The largest fireplace inside was big enough that a 20th century cookstove could fit in it.  The rafters of the cellar were full grown trees cut in half with the bark and all left on.  And the walls were 14 inches thick -- thick enough to keep the house cool in summer and serve as insulation during the cold winters.  All of the interior doors of this fine old house were hand-made and no two windows have the same measurements.  It is sometimes said that the man who measured these windows had a 'crooked eye'."
By the 1860 census, William was listed as owning $500 worth of real estate, and was working as a farmer along with his eldest son George. The two youngest children, Edward and Margaret, were attending school.
In 1870, the value of William's real estate had decreased to $269.  Margaret was keeping house, with only the two youngest children still at home, aged 19 and 22 years.  Son Edward was working as a store clerk.
A map of Reisterstown from 1877 shows the location of the Berrymans' property and house at 605 Main Street, near the street that still bears their name to this day:  Berrymans Lane.
In January of 1880, youngest daughter Margaret married Samuel Brown and moved out, leaving William and Margaret with an empty nest in the 1880 census.  William, now 73 years old, was still working as a farmer.
The following year, Margaret Berryman Brown gave birth to a son, Mitchell.  It must have been a difficult pregnancy, as sadly Margaret died soon after, on May 4, 1881, at the age of 31.  Later that year, widower Samuel Brown would marry Florence Weller, a granddaughter of William and Margaret Berryman through their eldest daughter Vilmina.

William Berryman passed away on February 27, 1885 at the age of 77.  A brief notice appeared in the Baltimore Sun:
In the 1900 census, Margaret Berryman was living with her grandson William Gore's family.  Oddly, though Margaret had six children, the census lists her as only having had one.
Margaret, known to all in town as "Grandmother Berryman", lived to be 91 years old.  She passed away on July 2, 1903.  In her will, she named her son George as executor, and ordered that her almost all of her property be sold, and proceeds divided into four equal parts for her surviving children Vilmina, George, and Hanna, and her grandson Mitchell Brown.  The only exception was Margaret's feather bed, which was specifically bequeathed to her granddaughter Laura Weller.

Margaret and her daughter Hanna
The Berrymans' house was torn down decades ago.  Its present-day location is now the parking lot of Camden Body.
William and Margaret's children were:
  • Vilmina Berryman, 1835-1919, wife of William F. Weller
  • George Gordon Berryman, 1838-1925, husband of (1) Julia Ann Uhler & (2) Annie Belle Koons
  • Hanna Elizabeth Berryman, 1841-1913, wife of Thomas J. Gore
  • William Edward Berryman, 1846-1878, unmarried
  • Margaret Virginia Berryman, 1850-1881, wife of Samuel H. Brown
  • John Whorton Berryman, 1853-1854
As a side note, Ovington Eugene Weller, one of William and Margaret's grandchildren, served as a U.S. Senator from Maryland from 1921 to 1927.

Sources: (census records & map)

  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 4, Carroll, Maryland; Roll: M432_289; Page: 207B.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 40.
  • Year: 1870; Census Place: Reisterstown, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M593_569; Page: 281B.
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 572C.
  • Year: 1900; Census Place: Election District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 606; Page: 1B.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Died." Date: 28 February 1885; Page: 2.
Maryland Archives (wills, marriage, death, land & legislative records)

Reisterstown Library

  • Family & house photos
  • Northwest Star article
Cemetery photos © AgateGS

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