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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  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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THEOPHILAS P. BERRY, an honored veteran of the late Civil War, has been a resident of Sedalia since February, 1887, and is now serving as Alderman of the Third Ward. He was elected to this responsible position in 1894 by the Republicans, and is Chairman of the Sanitary and Sewer Committee, besides being a member of several others. In 1876 he was influential in the formation of the first Republican club organized in Osage County, and was made its President. He has been very active in Republican circles, and has been a member of county and state committees. Since July, 1888, he has been a machinist in the Missouri Pacific Railway shops.

The paternal grandfather of the above-named gentleman was of French descent and was an officer in the War of 18 12. At a very early period he moved with his family to Ohio from West Virginia. Mr. Berry’s father, John Berry, was born in West Virginia, and at the age of ten years was taken to Belmont County, Ohio, near St. Clairsville, where he grew to manhood. He married Jemima A. Brown, and Theophilas was the only son of this marriage. His birth occurred in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, near Trenton, April 22, 1842. Five years after the birth of this son, the parents separated, the father returning to St. Clairsville, and the mother going to her father, John Brown, in Tuscarawas County. She afterward married James McKnight, by whom she had nine children, two sons and seven daughters. Both of the sons are deceased, and the daughters moved to Illinois, where they now live, and are the mothers of families. Mrs. McKnight died at Homer, Ill.

From the time Theophilas was seven years of age he was reared in Belmont County, but left home when in his sixteenth year to work for neighboring farmers. In July, 1861, while in Meigs County, he volunteered, on the first call for three-years men, enlisting in the Fifth Ohio Cavalry. As the quota of the state was filled, this regiment was disbanded, but its Colonel, a Mr. Boles, took a part of them to West Virginia, where they had an opportunity to enlist in the troops of that state. Mr. Berry became a private of Company I, Second West Virginia Cavalry, and served three years and four months in that regiment. During this time he took part in the battles of Louisa Court House, Jenner’s Creek, Ky. (under Garfield), Lewisburg, Fayetteville, Cotton Mountain and others. May 1, 1864, he was under Gen. George Crook in the battle at Dublin Depot, which was followed by that of Horseshoe Gap, and later, in July, was in the battle of Lynchburg. In August he was transferred to the Shenandoah Valley, his commanders being Generals Hunter and Sheridan. He was honorably discharged at Wheeling, W. Va., October 28, 1864, and the following February re-enlisted as a member of Company E, One Hundred and Ninety-fourth Ohio Infantry, as First Sergeant. He was soon promoted to be Sergeant- Major of the regiment, and served as such until July 25, 1865, when he was commissioned Second Lieutenant, and assigned to old Company E. Going to Washington in August, he remained there until October 10, when he was ordered to Columbus, Ohio, and was there discharged, October 24, 1865.

November 9, 1865, Mr. Berry was married, in Barnesville, Ohio, to Miss Sarah E. Vedder, who departed this life February 24, 1895, at Sedalia, Mo. She left six children to mourn her loss, viz.: Frank P., Lillie A., Ora M., Marcellus A., Lydia A. and William T. The eldest son is a machinist in the Missouri Pacific Railroad shops at Sedalia, and Marcellus is a clerk for Hoffman Bros. Lillie, a graduate of the high school, is now engaged in teaching in the Summit School.

It was in February, 1866, that Mr. Berry came to Missouri, and after placing an application for employment at Jefferson City, came to Sedalia. In June, 1866, he entered the service of the Missouri Pacific as a machinist in the Jefferson City shops; the next year he was placed in charge of a force of men, and then was engine dispatcher until June, 1873, at which time he was ordered to Chamois, and placed in charge of the Missouri Pacific shops. After a service of thirteen years he left the employ of the latter company and engaged in the milling business for about eight months. Returning to Sedalia in February, 1887, he was made Deputy-Constable, under Ellis Smith, and in the following April was appointed by Mayor Crawford Market Master and Inspector of Weights and Measures, but resigned the place in July for the purpose of occupying a position as machinist in the shops of the Missouri Pacific, which position he has since occupied.

Mr. Berry is a Past Master and is now a member of Sedalia Lodge No. 236, A. E. & A. M. He belongs to Jefferson City Chapter No. 34, R. A. M., and to Prince of Peace Commandery No. 29, K. T. He has passed all the chairs in Chamois Lodge No. 85, is now a member of Equity Lodge No. 26, A. O. U. W., and is Past Commander of George R. Smith Post No. 53, G. A. R. In 1894 he was honored by being selected as a delegate from the Department of the Missouri to the National Encampment at Pittsburg. In the First Congregational Church he is an active worker and contributes liberally to its various departments of usefulness. His pleasant home, which he owns, is located at the corner of Fourth and Summit Streets.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Pettis County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Pettis County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Pettis County, Missouri family biographies here: Pettis County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Pettis County, Missouri here: Pettis County, Missouri Map

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