Forest Hill Plantation

By: Gary Winfree

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 23, 2016

Forest Hill, off Farm Road 241 3½ miles northeast of Alto in south central Cherokee County, was the antebellum plantation of Capt. Henry and Helena (Dill) Berryman. Berryman, a career officer in the United States Army, resigned his commission in 1843, and in 1847 the couple settled on a league of land that Mrs. Berryman had inherited from her mother, Helena Kimble Dill. The property was part of the original grant for which James Dill, first alcalde of Nacogdoches, had petitioned the Spanish government in 1802. Shortly after their arrival Berryman put his slaves to work to clear the land for a cattle ranch and to construct a large two-story log house, which he intended to serve as a temporary home for his family while a replica of his Virginia home, Whitehall, could be built of native stone. Berryman died before work began on the stone house, however, and the log house became the family's permanent home. Among the illustrious guests who visited the house were Zachary Taylor and Joseph Lewis Hogg.

After Helena Berryman's death in 1888, the property passed to her oldest son, Henry Waters Berryman. The property was later divided among various members of the family, but the house remained in the Berryman family until 1957. A state historical marker was placed at the site in 1962. In the early 1990s the house was still standing, though the original slave quarters and other outbuildings were not.

Cherokee County History (Jacksonville, Texas: Cherokee County Historical Commission, 1986). Hattie Joplin Roach, A History of Cherokee County (Dallas: Southwest, 1934). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.


  • Agriculture
  • Plantations
  • Architecture
  • Houses, Mansions, and Plantations

Time Periods:

  • Antebellum Texas

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

Gary Winfree, “Forest Hill Plantation,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 27, 2021,

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July 23, 2016