Barbara Ella Berry letters

Note: the footnotes are not part of the original letters


[Written on headed notepaper "J. A. BERRYS & SON, OLIVET FRUIT FARM, DAVISVILLE, PA."]


My Dear Lily,

Many thanks for your very nice letter also the pretty hanky Father also wishes to thank you very much for the lovely hanky, but he says it wouldn't be much use when one had the gripp - but of course we understand that these hankies are not made for the gripp.

Had a letter from Eva today, and she says that she has just recovered from the flu', but is still feeling pretty rotten. She said she had a quiet Christmas, but on New Years Eve went out gadding and did not return until 5pm, says its a good thing it only comes once a year.

Simeon is working in the city and just comes home for the weekends. He has just had an artesian well dug just outside the house as the other one had been dry for some time, also the water was very discoloured, as the droppings drained in from the barnyard.

The weather here is very mild for the time of the year, and up to now it has been a very open winter although we have had lots of rain, but that is much better than snow.

Sim has bought a new dog, the other one was run over by an automobile last winter, this one is only a pup and like all pups delights in tearing things up.

Father seems a little better now, but two weeks back he had quite a spell, and the doctor said it was his heart, and of course complications with kidney trouble. He says he will be writing you soon and will send along the stamps that you asked for.

Had a nice letter from Annie at Christmas, and also she sent some nice cake and nuts off the tree in the garden, and some nice material for me and two lovely shirts for father, which he uses for nightshirts, he says they are so nice and warm and heavy, once cannot get that quality in this country, everything is flimsy and made for short duration in this country.

My word your family seems to be growing up, with Lesley working and Margaret in High School - it only seems yesterday that Lesley was a baby - but as father keeps saying, we spend our life as a tale that is told. I hope you are well and happy. Father had a letter from Edie the other day and she said that Jack was working in Luton, I wonder if you see much of him? She also sent a snap and he seemed quite old almost going bald in front, or it may have been the way the snap was taken.

Well here's wishing you all the best for 1937 and everything you wish for yourselves.

With love from all to all



[Written on headed notepaper "J. A. BERRYS & SON, OLIVET FRUIT FARM, DAVISVILLE, PA."]

[Date must be wrong, should be 24.5.37]


My Dear Lillie

Your welcome letter was received some time ago - but I have been to Boston for a week and since returning have not felt like doing much.

It is evening and the sun glittering and shimering through the windowpane - and I almost expect to see father plodding down the path from his garden. How he used to love these late Spring evenings and would stay out there till quite dark, weeding and howing and things in general. He used to love to see the sun flickering so, and sometimes he would say he would make a ickymore ackymore with a mirror when there was no sun.

Well I will indeed get some flowers for his grave, it is only about two miles away. Have been going through some of his papers this afternoon and there were two books that he used to make up poetry in - have cut the enclosed out for you as it seems to fit something that you mentioned. You are right he did not complain, and often said to me that all his troubles he had brought on himself - as I told him that was usually the way with most people. But he certainly looked so peaceful, and fell asleep so peacefully that one knew he was far happier, although he always tried to be cheerful and happy here. Upon reading over the poetry that he has made up, one sees that he has had many anxious moments which were not allowed to disturb his outward calm. Simeon said to me one day that Uncle Jonathan had said to father "John the Spirit is on you" and now I can see quite clearly that the "Spirit" was on him always - the doctor said that it was merely ambition that had kept him alive so long with his complaint - but I knew he thought he would be going against the Lord if he gave up. When the swelling came higher up, he said he didn't know what to do, and asked me if I knew, and we got the herbal book and looked out more herb remedies. Well as the preacher said, he was a good man and I miss him terribly. I hope you are all well and happy.

With love from Sim and myself





May 29/32

Looking unto thee, Dear Father, may I take my task today,
and patiently to work through it,Thou art my strength and stay,
Kept from carelessness and languor, May I never once complain,
Though all others think it useless, all's well, Thou dost ordain.

Mother's Day May 8/32

My mother I remember well, thy kind and caring face,
And all thy quiet care for me that nothing could replace,
Thy wise advice, thy look of love, touch of thy tender hand,
Thy ever gentle patience, I could not understand.

No love on earth like Mother's love,
Far reaching as the Heaven above,
When suffering sorrow, or sick with pain
all other loves may go, but our own mother's still remain

Copied from his book Feb 13/33

This Secret Path of safety,
my feet oftimes have trod
When I was young and lusty,
Protected by my God
The wilely snares that have been laid,
By seeming friend or foe,
The Lord has hid by shine or shade,
that I might safely go.
There is no ravening Lion there
He cannot pass that way
No can his whelps go up thereon,
By either night or day,
This path so hid, the vultures aye,
May seek but never find,
Still God can lead His servant bye,
Though he be partly blind.
There is a path that no one knoweth, the eye of the vulture hath not seen the lion & whelp have not gone up thereon.

Dated Feb 21/33

The foxes had holes and his birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man had not where to lay his head.

My Jesus thou wast gentle, as thou this earth didst tread,
Without a home or rental, with just thy daily bread,
So oft I am discouraged, as my daily rounds I go
Forgetting I am nourished, by one who feels each woe,
Oh! keep me from complaining while thy loveing care I see,
There is a rest remaining, for those that trust in Thee.


Probably written 1956, obituary cutting from newspaper included]

Simeon Berry

Simeon H. Berry, 61, of 124 Wyneva St. died suddenly Oct. 23 in Osteopathic Hospital at 20th and Susquehanna Ave.

Mr. Berry had been injured by an automobile Oct. 8.

A native of Northampton, England, Mr Berry lived at his present address for over five years. He had been employed for more than 20 years by the Midvale Steel Co. but had been retired for the past two years.

A quiet man, he was actively interested in Christ Home, for underpriviledged and abandoned children which is located near Hatboro. He was a man who did much charitable work anonymously.

He is survived by a sister, Barbara Berry, a brother Jonathan of Newhall St.; another sister in Toronto; a brother in New York and another in Chicago.

Funeral services were held Oct. 26 at the J. Wesley Craft Funeral Home. The Rev. Thomas L. Patton of the United Presbyterian Church an Wayne Ave. above Hansberry St. officiated.

Interment was at Davisville.


[Written on a notelet]

5725 N Park Ave
Phila 19141 Pa

Saturday Nov 8th 63

My Dear Lillie,

Guess you will be surprised to hear from me, as I know it is so long since I have written - but I have been very ill - but thank God I am now feeling much better.

Did you know that Jonathan passed away a year ago last Christmas[27]? He had a series of small strokes and was taken to Hospital two Sundays before Christmas and died the following Thursday. A large family is dwindling down to a very few. Don't see anything of anybody, but heard from Janet (Jonathan's wife) last Christmas, that Chris and his wife had been ill - Chris with virus and his wife with heart trouble.

The lady in the apartment next to mine went to the doctor this morning, and sat next to a man, and when the doctor came to attend to her, he introduced this man as his uncle, and he asked her for a date, she said no, but gave him her 'phone number, and he called her up a couple of hours later and persuaded her to meet him at some swank hotel for dinner, and there was to be a meeting held for something or other which he thought she would enjoy - so guess I will hear all about it tomorrow.

We have had a very dry warm October, were asked to use as little water as possible, and nobody was allowed to make a fire or smoke in the woods. But this week we have had 2 1/2 inches of rain, so that has helped a little.

Hope everybody is feeling well and happy and shall be glad to hear from you when you have the time.

Am going to get a bath and get into bed.

Love to all


Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year.

[27] Jonathan Wright Berry died 28 December 1961.



5725 N Park Ave,
Phila, Pa. 19141

Jan. 26. 1964.

My Dear Lillie,

Was I ever glad to receive your very nice card with the nice little note and the beautiful calendar of Loch Lomond, Hung the Calendar immediately, and my neighbour next door thought it simply lovely. Well exchange is not robbery, so I am sending you two Calendars which I have had sent to me and I think they are lovely and I know that you will enjoy them.

So sorry to hear that you are suffering from rheumatism and do hope you will soon get some relief but I guess we should consider ourselves fortunate that we can get around - I have been so sick for so long, that I thank God every day of my life that I can just get up and move around. There really is so much sickness in the world, and the hospitals seem to be full. I don't know whether I told you in my last letter, that I had a Christmas card from Jonathan's widow, and she said that she had been out to California last Winter with her cousin, and on the way down they stopped in Arizona and called in on John for twenty minutes, and that he had been in hospital for seven years with a nervous break down following the death of Catherine, and that he was still doctoring.

It is such a beautiful day today, just with a touch of Spring but rather windy, but I took a lovely walk, and believe me that weather had really fetched the cars out, you can almost see the buds swelling on the trees.

Guess you will think I am making an awful lot of mistakes, but you see I have not touched a typewriter in years, and this a very old fashioned portable I think it must be as old as I am. But it is good to practise on, and I bought it very very cheap, Am looking forward to receiving your next letter whenever you feel that it is not too hard on your hands.

Am very glad to hear that your little family is well and thriving (what more could one wish for) and am looking forward to receiving the snaps in due time.

Now take care of yourselves and I will write again when I hear from you.

God bless you and with love to all,


I also watched the funeral of President Kennedy and must acknowledge that I cried very much, as I think most people did. As you mention the incident I am sending you an article on the subject written by Billy Graham, and also a couple of his Decision Magazines which I think you will enjoy reading.

This is now Sunday Feb 3rd, and this morning I went to church with Lillian Nicholas from next door, just a young Pastor with a young wife and two small children, but a very earnest young man.

It is very windy out, but very nice and bright and shiny so think I will take advantage and go for a nice little walk. Lillian Nicholas has gone with her twin sister to see her nephew who is in Hospital with an eye infection, which makes it bad for him as he is an accountant.

The reason why I did not send this when I finished was because I was looking for a envelope large enough, but was at the five and dime this week and saw these envelopes and thought the Calendars were worth sending properly as they are such beautiful views

Think I will now sign off,

With much love to you all.



[Typewritten, enclosed in envelope with card showing Mt. Carmel Methodist Church, Park Ave. & Nedro Ave., Phila., Pa.]

5900 N park Ave.,
PHILA PA 19141

30th Nov 1964

My Dear Lillie and Margaret,

Once again the festive Season is upon us and I take this opportunity of wishing you a Happy Christmas,

I do hope you are both well and taking good care of yourselves. I had a surprise a couple of weeks back by a telephone call from John in Arizona. I had not heard from him for 15 years and really did not know what had happened to him. He told me he had been very sick in hospital for some years, but was now out and at home. He sounded a little week, but then he called me a week later and he sounded much better. He evidently had a nurse there taking care of him for he said he wanted me to talk to his friend and it was a woman who get on the phone, so I gathered he had someone there taking care of him. We sure get some surprises in life. Thank God I am able to say that I am much better and do hope I will continue to be so.

Jonathan's boy Craig asked me up to dinner at his place about six weeks ago, and he has a nice house that he built himself and practically made all the things to go in it and I must say that he has done a very good job, and he has two nice children girl 16 and boy 14[28].

The weather looks like it is about to snow any minute and that will be alright I guess as we have had a very dry hot summer with no rain at all and the snow will help give a little water.

Please do not look at this awful typing and I have not touched a typewriter in years, but bought this old thing off a friend as I thought I would try and practice up and try to get a job. The typewriter itself is an old fashioned portable underwood and must be even older than I am, but I suppose it is good enough to try on and I bought it very cheaply.

Do have a nice holiday Season and will be glad to hear from you when you get the time

Your loving sister,


This is the Church that I attend on Sunday mornings and is right opposite where I live.

[28] Regina Elisabeth Berry (born 19 June 1948) and Craig Huston Berry jnr (born 14 June 1950).