James Henderson Berry was born in Jackson County, Alabama to Isabella Jane (née Orr) and James McFerrin Berry. The family moved to Arkansas in 1848. Berry attended Clarks Academy in Berryville, Arkansas, which was named after him, for one year. He studied law and in 1866 was admitted to the Arkansas bar.
In 1865, Berry married E.Q. "Lizzie" Quaile. They had six children: daughters Nellie Frank, Berl, Jennie, and Bessie; and sons Elliott and Frederick Hugh.
At the outbreak of the American Civil War Berry joined the Confederate Army and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant with the 16th Arkansas Infantry. Berry lost his right leg during the Battle of Corinth in northern Mississippi. After recuperating from his wound he worked as a school teacher and started a private law practice.
Berry was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1866. He was reelected in 1872 and in 1874. In his last term he was selected to be Speaker of the House. Berry was the chairman of the Democratic State Convention in 1876. In 1878 he became a judge for the Fourth Circuit Court and served in that post until 1882 when he was elected Governor of Arkansas.
The Berry administration focused on reducing the state debt, creating a State Mental Hospital. Berry did not run for reelection.
In March 1885 Berry was selected by the legislature to fill the unexpired term of Senator Augustus Hill Garland. Berry remained in the U.S. Senate for the next 22 years. In 1910 he accepted a position with the Arkansas History Commission to mark the graves of all Arkansas Confederate soldiers who had died in northern prisons.
James H. Berry died in Bentonville, Arkansas. Berry is buried at the Knights of Pythias Cemetery, Bentonville, Arkansas.
[edit | edit source]
- James Henderson Berry at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture entry: James Henderson Berry
- 1905 Full Portrait
References[edit | edit source]
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|width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Thomas James Churchill |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Governor of Arkansas
1883–1885 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
Simon Pollard Hughes, Jr. |- |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | United States Senate Template:U.S. Senator box |} Template:Governors of Arkansas Template:USSenAR