BERRY, JONATHAN, pioneer settler and sawyer; b. in England in 1787 and emigrated to New Brunswick in 1826; d. 26 Aug. 1878 at Berry Mills, N.B.
Where Jonathan Berry first settled in New Brunswick is not known. His wife, Mary Tingley, was born in New Brunswick; it would appear from the birth dates of their children that he married sometime after his arrival. By the year 1840 he was living on a small tract west of the tiny settlement now known as Lutes Mountain (near Moncton). In 1844 a survey, under the direction of Sir James Edward Alexander, for a proposed military road in New Brunswick passed through this region. Although the road did not materialize, the mountain settlements began to prosper. Shipbuilding in the area was expanding rapidly and the railways were soon to come. Berry received title to 100 acres, a portion of which he had already cleared and on which he had built a house. On 9 Jan. 1846 he petitioned for 200 acres adjoining his land and received the grant on 4 Feb. 1847.
Sometime after 1851, Berry established a sawmill driven by water power; the venture proved successful, and later a grist mill was added by his son Thomas Berry. The Berrys’ customers were the other settlers in the area, all of whom were building wooden houses, the shipbuilders in Moncton, and, later, the railways. As always in pioneer days, it was not long before a settlement developed near these convenient mills, and, in deference to the man who had established them, the settlement initially took the name Jonathan Creek, and later Berry Mills, which it retains to this day. In 1870 the tracks of the Intercolonial Railway were laid across Berry’s property and Berry Mills became a station on the new line.
When Jonathan Berry died in 1878, he left as a permanent epitaph the prosperous farming settlement which bears his name and which was established because of his pioneering skill and foresight.
New Brunswick Crown Lands Office (Fredericton), Memorials and grants, 3721. PAC, MG 9, A12, 11, Census of the parishes of Botsford and Moncton, 1861. Hutchinson’s New Brunswick directory for 1867–1868 (2nd ed., Saint John, N.B., [n.d.]), 559. C. A. Pincombe, “The history of Monckton Township (ca.1700–1875),” unpublished ma thesis, University of New Brunswick, 1969, 150–51.
Revisions based on:
Alan Rayburn, Geographical names of New Brunswick (Ottawa, 1975).