IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

James M. Berry

James M. Berry owns and conducts the Berry Hotel at North McGregor, and has proved himself one of the efficient and popular exponents of this line of enterprise in Clayton county. His hotel caters to a large and appreciative patronage and is maintained at a high standadrd of excellence, while he as a wide circle of friends among the traveling public as well as in his home county. He is one of the substantial and progressive citizens of the county and is well entitled to representation in this publication.

Mr. Berry is a scion of fine old Irish stock in both the paternal and maternal lines and claims the Badger State as the place of his nativity. He was born in Waukeshaw, Wisconsin, on the 16th of November, 1868, and is a son of John and Bridget Berry, both of whom were born in Ireland and both of whom were children at the time of the immigration of the respective families from the Emerald Isle to America.

The marriage of the parents was solemnized in Waukeshaw, Wisconsin, and they removed to Prairie du Chien when the subject of this sketch was but one year of age. Later they moved to North McGregor, where the mother passed into the other life December 31, 1915, after a residence in North McGregor of twenty-two years. The venerable father is still alert and vigorous of mind and body, and now has the distinction of being the oldest employee of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul R. R. Co., he having given a life time of faithful service to this great corporation. He maintains his home at North McGregor, and of his nine children, six are living.

James M. Berry was a lad of ten years at the time of the family removal from Wisconsin to Allamakee county, Iowa, and he was there reared at Waukon, the county seat. In 1885, while still in his teens, he made his way largely by stage coach, to the Black Hills of South Dakota, and for three years followed the free and invigorating life of a cowboy. With the advent of the railroad, he embarked in the restaurant business at Oelrichs, South Dakota, and subsequently at Hot Springs, and he has been engaged in the restaurant and hotel business since that time. The winters of 1891 and 92 were spent as clerk in the hotel San Marino, "Southerland," Florida. He was engaged in hotel business at Chicago during the World's Fair and, on August 27, 1894, he purchased from the late Charles Huffschmitt the furniture and lease of the C., M. & St. P. R. R. hotel and lunchroom at North McGregor, which he successfully conducted for fourteen years.

Careful and effective service brought to him decisive success and he finally erected the handsome three-story brick hotel that bears his name and that is conducted by him according to the most approved modern standards. This hotel has the unique distinction of being the most valuable property of the kind in a town of less than six hundred population in the United States that is conducted on the European plan. The hotel is well equipped in all departments and has a large and representative patronage, being especially in favor with the commercial travelers who have occasion to visit Northeastern Iowa. Adjacent to the village Mr. Berry owns a well improved farm of fifty-seven acres, besides which he is the owner of a good farm in Allamakee county.

His political allegiance is given to the Democratic party, which he has served as precinct committeeman for the past fifteen years, and he is now a member of the Democratic State Finance Committee. For fifteen years also he has been a member of the City Council of North McGregor. Broad-gauged and progressive in his civic attitude, Mr. Berry has been especially prominent and influential in the promotion of the National Park which it is hoped to have established near North McGregor, on the shores of the Mississippi River. It is not too much to say that he has been foremost in the agitation of this important project, and has spent much of his time and means bringing it before the State and nation. In recognition of his ability and enthusiasm in this matter, he has been made chairman of the Executive and Publicity Committee of the Mississippi Valley National Park Association.

He is also interested in the good roads movement and is superintendent of the northern division of the Eastern Iowa Scenic Highway, and is a committeeman of the Upper Mississippi River Improvement Association. In the city of Dubuque he holds membership in the lodge of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks. In his youth he attended St. Johns, now Campion College at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and in later years, in recognition of many sterling qualities, he was made an honorary alumnus of that famous school.

In the city of Chicago, on the 16th of October, 1902, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Berry to Miss Anna D. Brophy, who was born and reared in Clayton county, Iowa, and who is a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Sweeney) Brophy. She received excellent educational advantages in her youth and graduated from St. Mary's Academy at Prairie du Chien, Wis.; both she and her husband being communicants of the Catholic Church. Mr. and Mrs. Berry have four children, Donald John, James Stanton, Margaret Virginia and Elizabeth Marie.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; page 47-48
-submitted by S. Ferrall


Return to 1916 Biographies Index