Berry, John G. (1805–1871)

By: McXie Whitton Martin

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 7, 2018

John G. Berry, born in 1805 in North Carolina, was a merchant and trader in the Ayish Bayou District (later San Augustine County) of Texas in the 1830s. His steamboat, the Uncle Ben, made regular trips up the Sabine River to deliver goods and collect cotton for export to New Orleans. He first married Harriett Carolina Clark, and eight children were born to their union; his second marriage was to Cornelia Price Sossaman, widow of Charles Sossaman. Berry was San Augustine postmaster in 1840 and 1841. In February 1842 he and John T. Mason were mail contractors for Route 3, from Nacogdoches to Cincinnati, Texas. In 1844 Berry was appointed collector of customs at San Augustine; that year he also served on the first board of trustees of Wesleyan College. In April 1845 he called a meeting in San Augustine to urge the annexation of Texas to the United States. In the early 1840s he built the Berry Hotel on the corner of Columbia and Harrison streets in San Augustine. The lower story was occupied by a saloon on one side and a general store on the other, while above were hotel rooms and a ballroom and stage. For many years the hotel was a popular gathering place. Berry died on December 16, 1871, and is buried in the San Augustine City Cemetery.

George L. Crocket, Two Centuries in East Texas (Dallas: Southwest, 1932; facsimile reprod., 1962). William Seale, San Augustine in the Texas Republic (Austin: Encino, 1969). Telegraph and Texas Register, April 23, 1845. Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

McXie Whitton Martin, “Berry, John G.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 7, 2018