Biography of Charles W. Berryman

Charles W. Berryman, a prominent citizen of Blackfoot, Idaho, a member of the well known firm of Berryman & Rogers, stock-raisers and dealers and loaners of money and dealers in county and city bonds, is a native of Wisconsin, having been born at Hazel Green, October 10, 1843, of English ancestry. His parents, Richard and Martha (Williams) Berryman, were born in Cromwell, England. They came to the United States and in 1840 located in Grant County, Wisconsin. There Mr. Berryman became a farmer and lead-miner. He died at the age of seventy-three, in 1877, his wife having passed away many years earlier, in her forty-seventh year. They were devout and active members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in whose interests Mrs. Berryman was a tireless worker, while Mr. Berryman performed the varied functions of trustee, class-leader and Sunday-school superintendent. They had eight children, of whom six are living.

Until he was nineteen years old, Charles W. Berryman remained at home, attending school and devoting himself to the work of the farm. In 1862 he joined a large band of western-bound emigrants and went overland to Oregon. Indians were numerous and aggressive in those days, and the emigrants, a large party, consolidated their one hundred and sixty wagons and many horses in one big caravan and banded together for mutual protection. There were so many of them and they were so well armed and so determined and presented such a warlike appearance that they had little difficulty with the “Bedouins of the Plains.” But the Indians were watchful for opportunities, ready to attack any straggling member of the party who was delayed or went too far ahead. At Green River, on Lander’s cut-off, two of the wagons which had fallen behind were surrounded and attacked by the redskins. There were only two men with them. One of these, one Campbell, was killed. The other man escaped. The wagons were plundered and burned before Mr. Berryman’s party could get back to the place, and the Indians escaped unpunished. The “train” left Wisconsin May 4, 1862, and arrived at Powder River September 7, this journey having consumed four months and three days. Mr. Berryman engaged in mining but was not successful, and he went with the Jesse Stanford outfit to Boise basin, Idaho, and was among the first to arrive there. Here, too fortune turned her back on him, and he engaged in packing supplies for miners from Umatilla, Oregon, to Boise basin. He was successful in this enterprise, and in 1864 was the owner of a pack train of thirty-seven mules and such accessories to the business as were necessary for use in connection with them. During that year that whole train was stolen by Indians at a point on the Snake River, and Mr. Berryman never afterward saw hoof or tail of one of the animals. He was ruined, but went, bravely, hopefully and full of days’ work, back to Boise basin, and in the placer mines made another stake. In 1865 he went to Virginia City, Montana, where he bought two mining claims, a “number one” and a “number two,” of Fairweather, for two thousand dollars. There he made more money, and in 1869 he returned, comfortably fixed, to his old home and friends in Wisconsin. In the spring of 1870 he went back to Montana, and, with a view to again engaging in packing, formed a partnership with George B. Rogers, which association, in various enterprises, has existed continuously since. They began operations between Corinne, Utah, and different mining camps in Montana, and prosecuted this business successfully and with profit for about ten years. They ceased giving it their personal attention in the spring of 1880 and took the “Custer contract” to build a large quartz mill and smelter, for the performance of which they were paid five thousand dollars. In 1883 they sold their teams to the Idaho Forwarding Company, and turned their attention to ranching, purchasing property on the north side of Snake river, where they have since been extensive horse and cattle breeders and dealers. They now own more than three thousand acres of land, on which they raise hay and grain on which to feed their stock. They import horses from England, and an important result of their enterprise in this way has been the improvement not only of their own stock but that throughout eastern Idaho. As cattle-breeders they have introduced enough Durham and Hereford blood to produce a grade of beef cattle that is unsurpassed anywhere. They are the richest stockbreeders and dealers in Bingham County, and their operations are more extensive than those of any other firm, and no one has done more than Messrs. Berryman and Rogers to give Idaho supremacy in this profitable industry. They have a mercantile business at Park City and have built several of the best blocks in Blackfoot.

Mr. Berryman has also built and fitted up a delightful home in Blackfoot. He was married in June 1875, to Miss Mary N. Toombs, a native of London, England, and a daughter of James Toombs, now of Ogden, Utah. Their children are Elva, Harry, Frank, Flora and Edith. A lifelong Republican, Mr. Berryman takes an active interest in public affairs. He has twice been elected chairman of the board of county commissioners of Bingham County, and has served his fellow citizens in other responsible positions.



Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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