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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Columbia County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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John Y. Berley, farmer of Brown Township, owes his nativity to Abbeville District, S. C, where his birth occurred on August 18, 1833, being a son of John F. and Harriett (Yarbrough) Berley, both of whom were born in South Carolina, the former of German and the latter of Irish descent. The father was a highly educated man, and taught school in connection with farming, which, however, received his principal attention. He died in 1853, in Louisiana, whither he had moved about 1849, leaving a widow who survived until 1875. Of the eleven children born to their marriage, only three are living: Franklin (who is a worthy agriculturist of Louisiana), John Y., and Susan A. (now Mrs. Dorritz, of Texas). John Y. Berley passed his boyhood and youth in Louisiana, and as he was reared to farm labor, it was but natural that in starting out in life for himself, which he did at the age of eighteen years, he should select farming as his occupation. For two years he pursued this calling in Louisiana, and then he came to this county. His marriage to Miss Jane Watson, a native of Georgia, born in 1832, was consummated in 1852, and of the seven children born to their union, six are still living: John F. (a farmer of this county), Frederick (also a farmer of this county), James (who is a worthy agriculturist of this county), and Amanda (who is now Mrs. McWilliams, and a resident of this township). Ever since Mr. Berley first came to this county he has pursued that calling which he selected in early life, and he now owns a fine farm, comprising over 500 acres, with 350 acres under cultivation. He and wife are both much esteemed members of the Protestant Methodist Church, and in politics, the former is a stanch Democrat. Socially he belongs to the Masonic fraternity and the County Wheel. In the late war he enlisted in Harrison’s regiment of Confederate Cavalry, in which he served faithfully and well until the surrender.

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This family biography is one of 106 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Columbia County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Columbia County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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