One who has knowledge of the relative value of soils or of any matter pertaining to farm life, can yet determine at a glance whether the farm upon which he gazes is valuable and well managed. A visitor to the estate of the above named gentleman in Sugar Creek Township, Greene County, would know at once that its owner possesses enterprise, perseverance, and skill in agriculture. The entire place bears an air of neatness and order, and of thorough cultivation, while the buildings, which have been erected upon it, are substantial, well designed and conveniently located. The residence, a brick edifice, was erected in 1837, and other structures now used are of more recent date.

The paternal grandfather of our subject was John Berryhill, a native of Ireland, who settled in Virginia, and there reared a family, among them being Alexander, who was born in Augusta County and became a farmer. He married Rachael Thompson, who was also a native of the Old Dominion, and was a direct descendant of Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Berryhill resided on a farm in Virginia until 1814, when they sold out and came to Ohio. Buying six hundred and forty acres of wild land in this county, now section 5, Sugar Creek Township, a log house was built and clearing begun upon the land. The dwelling being of hewn logs and two stories in height was considered quite an- aristocratic residence.

Having considerable means and a large family of robust boys, Mr. Berryhill had a large tract of land cleared and devoted his attention wholly to farming. He and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church. The death of the father occurred in September 1823, the mother surviving until 1838. But two of the eleven children of whom they were the parents are now living, these being our subject and his brother Franklin. The family circle once included James, William, John, Alexander, Margaret, Samuel, Archibald, Rachael, Matthew, Elizabeth and Franklin.

Mr. Berryhill was a Revolutionary soldier belonging to a Virginia regiment. At the battle of Guilford Court-House he was taken prisoner; after he had surrendered his gun a British officer struck him on the head with his sword and he carried the scar to his grave. His son John served in the War of 1812, and the relatives of Mrs. Berryhill, of this notice, also fought in the last-named struggle for tile rights of American citizens.

The natal day of Mathew Berryhill was January 7, 1807, and his birth occurred in Augusta County, VA. He was seven years of age when his father came to this county, in which there were very few settlers and no improvements but a few cabins. There is but one other person now living in this locality who was here when tile Berryhill family came. School advantages were very meager at that time and the principal knowledge obtained by the hoys and girls was that which they could acquire under the home roofs, and in pursuit of their labors as young assistants to the pioneers. During his boyhood our subject helped to clear the farm of his father and he has never spared himself but has ever been extremely busy and hard working.

The father having died when our subject was hut fifteen years of age, the estate was Settled and young Matthew given the portion belonging to him, and from that time transacted all his own business, although he remained at the old home until his marriage. On March 21,1831, he became the husband of Miss Angelina Tolbert, who was horn in Virginia, November 24, 1809, and the young couple settled on his portion of the old homestead for a short term. He then sold out and in 1835 bought the farm which he now occupies on section 36, Sugar Creek Township, to which he removed the following year. The farm comprises one hundred and sixty acres, of which one hundred and fifteen acres are now under the plow, having been broken by himself. He has added to the acreage, now owning four hundred and eighty-eight acres in this township, and he also possesses two hundred and thirty-seven acres in Fountain County, MD.

Although they are now quite old, both Mr. and Mrs. Berryhill enjoy good health, and he has never been afflicted with any disease. They have no children but have been instrumental in helping to bring up those who needed parental care. Mrs. Berryhi1l has been a member of the Presbyterian Church for over fifty years. Mr. Berryhill has been a Supervisor and has always taken an interest in local politics. His first Presidential vote was cast for Andrew Jackson and he has never missed an election since that time, voting the Whig, and later the Republican, ticket. He arid his estimable companion have made several trips to different parts of the West, using a portion of the means which they possess in such an abundant measure, in the enjoyment of varied scenes. They are accorded a due measure of respect by those who know them and are numbered among the landmarks of the county.

 

Portrait and Biographical Album of Clark and Greene Counties, Chapman Bros., Chicago, published 1890