Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
BENJAMIN F. BERRY, who resides
about three miles northwest from Fletcher in the country known as the Rattlesnake
flat, is one of the heaviest wheat producers of the Big Bend country.
He is a man of marked energy and industry and has gained his princely holding
through his own unaided efforts. At the present time, he owns nine
and one-half sections of first-class wheat land, and one and one-half pasture.
The nine and one-half sections are in crop. His estate is one of the largest
in Adams county and owing to the skillful management of the same is one
of the best paying in the country. Mr. Berry has six men employed
all the year round and during portions of the year has many more.
He is a pioneer and has been on the frontier almost all his life, participating
in the labors and adventures incident to mining, prospecting, freighting
and so forth.
Benjamin F. Berry was born in Wapella county,
Iowa, near Ottumwa, on March 30, 1852. In his native country he was
reared on the farm and received his education from the public schools.
At the age of twenty-three, he determined to seek his own fortune in the
west and we find him in Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho and
in various other sections actively engaged in different enterprises, and
ever showing the energy and wisdom that could but bring success.
These labors continued until 1892, when he came to where his home is now
located and took a quarter-section under government right. From that
time until the present, Mr. Berry has given careful attention to farming
and stock raising, more especially to farming. He improved the home
place in a proper manner with all buildings, fences and so forth needed
and it is supplied with an abundance of good water and an orchard of fifteen
acres. Mr. Berry was thoroughly convinced from the start that this
was a magnificent wheat country and he accordingly determined to possess
more land. With this end in view he laid his plans and from time
to time bought land from the railroad company and others until he has now
seven thousand and forty acres as stated above. To handle this magnificent
domain, Mr. Berry has a large number of horses and mules, which he raises
on the farm. He has the latest and most improved machinery, including
a combined harvester and thresher and has shown splendid executive ability
in handling his business. His principal crop is wheat. His
grain is marketed at Washtucna and Lind and the produce of this farm would
feed many hundred people. In addition to what has been mentioned,
Mr. Berry has stock holdings in the German-American Bank at Ritzville and
is a director. He is also interested in the Medical Lake Sanitarium
and owns considerable property besides.
In fraternal affiliations, he is connected
with the I. O. O. F.
At Ritzville, in November, 1900, Mr. Berry
married Miss Margaret McVene, a native of Michigan and to them one child,
Benjamin F., Jr., has been born. When Mr. Berry located in this country,
it was wild and thoroughly uninhabited. He has had the pleasure of
seeing it settled up and built up to be one of the choicest sections of
Washington and in this good labor he has been a leader. He is ever
interested in the improvement of the roads, in making better schools and
heartily co-operates with every movement that is for the welfare of the
Mr. Berry has been a great traveler and the
experience that he has acquired in his labors and travels, has made him
a well informed man. Yet notwithstanding the fact that he has seen
some of the choicest sections in the United States, he is firm in the belief
that Adams county is one of the best to be found in the west. No
such thing as luck has brought about the gratifying result with which we
see Mr. Berry blessed at the present time, for to the careful observer,
it is evident that his masterful ability and keen foresight were responsible
directly for the accumulation of this great property. He laid his
plans well and then worked to the mark, allowing nothing to swerve him
from accomplishing that which he had planned to do. As a man, Mr.
Berry is generous and genial, as a citizen he is loyal and patriotic, and
as a business operator, he is forceful and successful. His standing
in the community is of the best and his circle of friends is as wide as