Abraham Marshall Berry


ABRAHAM MARSHALL BERRY was the father of Irene Roland ("Molly") Berry, who had married John Alexander Bray. He and his wife, Elizabeth, and other members of their family had joined the LDS church.

After some family members and other local converts had gone to Utah, Molly's father Abraham Marshall Berry (born 1825 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; son of Abram Berry and Martha Mills of Georgia) was shot by an anti-Mormon mob in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, in the spring of 1889. A missionary was staying at his home, and Father Berry refused to turn him over to the mob to be mistreated, beaten, or killed. Just a short time previous to this, an elder had been killed near Meridian, Mississippi. Also an elder was killed by a mob in Georgia in 1879, and on August 10, 1884, two missionaries and two members were killed at a member's home in Tennessee, in what is known as the "Cane Creek Massacre." All of these killings caused a big stir in Utah, and the murdered missionaries were honored as martyrs of the Church.

Previous to the mob incident at the Berry family home in Mississippi, the mob had run the elders out of Chickasaw County and told them never to return. The missionaries had come back in under cover of darkness, to check on the members and investigators in the area. Somehow the mob got word of their presence, and came to the Berry home around midnight. Two of the elders had gone elsewhere, but one was staying in the home. At the mob's shouts, Father Berry (who was 64 years old at the time) came out on the porch in his long white nightshirt and cap, carrying his rifle, and told them he wouldn't turn the elder over, and he asked them to leave. A few of the mob then fired at him with their shotguns, and he returned their fire. He was wounded, but he got back inside the house and lay down on the couch. The mob was riding around the house shooting into it, so the elder took the rifle and held them off by firing out the window. While Father Berry's wife Elizabeth tended to his wounds, it is said that the mob kept riding around the house shooting, and didn't leave until daybreak.

It was estimated that Abraham Marshall Berry had over 100 pieces of buckshot throughout his body; his thin nightshirt had given him little protection. His wife tried removing some of the buckshot with her knitting needles, and later, when they could get him to a doctor he removed some more. His wounds were not immediately fatal, but many pieces of buckshot were deep inside and couldn't be removed.

Abraham and Elizabeth Berry and other family members who were still in Mississippi left for Utah on the train as soon as they could sell everything. They got very little for what they sold because of the anti-Mormon feeling. They joined the rest of their family in Provo, but Father Berry died about a year later, 12 Sept 1890, from blood poisoning as a result of the lead buckshot. His wife Elizabeth Owen (born 1826 in Alabama; daughter of William Owen and Sophia Mills of Georgia) died 8 Jan 1891 in Provo. They are both buried in the Provo City Cemetery.


Information Compiled
by Karen Bray Keeley

INTERNET Adaptation
by Sandra Shuler Bray