Joseph Smith Berry

Male 1843 - 1866  (22 years)

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  • Name Joseph Smith Berry 
    Born 9 Dec 1843  Dresden, Weakley, Tennessee, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 2 Apr 1866  near Grafton, Washington, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 9 Apr 1866  Grafton Cemetery, Rockville, Washington, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I541  Petersen-de Lanskoy
    Last Modified 19 Jun 2015 

    Father Jesse Woods Berry,   b. 9 Jan 1792, of, Albemarle, Virginia, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Aug 1844, Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Mother Armelia or Millie Shanks,   b. 24 Jan 1804, Lebanon, Wilson, Tennessee, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Jan 1893, Richfield, Sevier, Utah, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years) 
    Married 18 Feb 1820  Lebanon, Wilson, Tennessee, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F390  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
      1. Reviewed Worldconnect Dec 2002.

      1. See mother's notes for more information.

      2. Story from "Grafton, Ghost Town on the Rio Virgin" by Lyman D. and L. Karen Platt, 1998, ISBN 9-939771-11-x, page 71 and 72:
      "On Apr.2, 1866 Joseph and Robert M. Berry, brothers, and Mary Isabel Hales Berry, wife of Robert, who had settled in Long Valley, who had been visiting in Grafton, began their return trip by way of Short Creek (now known as Colorado City) and Kanab. They were advised that if they took this route the Indians would kill them. But they paid little attention to the warnings and left. When the Berry family did not arrive in Kanab as expected, the alarm was spread and a posse was organized. At Cedar Knoll near Short Creek there was a dry wash where the wagon, pulled by a team of mules, had to go into a deep depression and then up a steep incline to get out. The three had run their wagon trying to escape, but had been caught in this wash. When the posse reached this wash, they found the bodies of the Berry family and their mules. The Piute Indians had fallen onto them at this vantage point during their attempt to cross the wash. An arrow had hit one of the mules under the collar and caused the animal so much pain that the horse reared and bucked, giving the Indians the opportunity to surround the wagon. The victims fought bravely, but were overpowered. James H. Jennings (Cantrell, "The Indians of Grafton") reports that he was 'riding up from Toquerville with a dispatch, when I got to Grafton, they had just received word of the killing of the Berry brothers out south. A Mr. Sedwick and Palmer took the back seat out of a buggy and went out and brought the bodies into Grafton.' William B. Maxwell wrote about the Berry killings from Winsor (Mt. Carmel), on Apr. 12, 1866, to George A. Smith. Among other things he said that he believed that Joseph Smith Berry's thigh was broken in the first attack. They escaped and got back to the Kanab road with the intention of going to Ezra Strong's place but they were attacked a second time at which point one of the horses was likely wounded, which kept them from getting away, and they were surrounded and killed. '...they were shot with guns and arrows. It appears that the woman was the last to suffer; she was abused all they wanted and then shot with a gun and arrows. The bodies were neither scalped nor stripped. The brothers who were killed had with them three revolvers, one rifle, and one double-barreled shotgun. We found two of the revolvers and the rest were gone. There was one Navajo left on the ground which I am satisfied is the chief Banashaw (Pan-a-shank), known by us as Spanish Shanks. I have seen him when alive and when dead and it is the same. He is very noted, as he was very grey and also had lost his upper front teeth which was the case with this one that was killed. The Indians who were about twenty-six in number drove off from my ranch a number of cattle which had left Long Valley and gone out. The brethren were found on Saturday by some men from Grafton who were hunting stock. They were removed to Grafton and buried on Monday the 9th.'(Church Historian's Office, "Journal History of the Church" - manuscript volumes housed at the Church Historian's Library, 50 East North Temple - Apr. 12 1866, page 1). During the funeral services held at Grafton, Piute Indians came into town brazenly wearing their war bonnets and with their faces painted. They looked through the windows of the old log church house that the pioneers had built, laughed and said 'wino manik', meaning 'very good' in Piute. Captain Andrus was at the funeral and he said, 'I will make them think "very good"' and he left the service and went up the street to his home to get his rifle. The Indians apparently knew who he was for they immediately left the church and went down into the thick underbrush on the river bottom, crossed the Virgin and went into the foothills north of town. When Captain Andrus returned with his rifle, it was too late to use it."

      3. The book "A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D. Lee, 1848-1876" edited by Robert Glass Cleland and Juanita Brooks, v. 2, p. 248, explanatory note #7:
      "The attempt to consolidate all the small villages into one strong community grew out of widespread Indian unrest and threatened attack in 1866. On Jan. 8 of that year, Dr. James M. Whitmore and Robert McIntyre were killed near Pipe Springs; on April 2, Joseph and Robert Berry and the latter's wife were killed near Short Creek. The plan and method of consolidation were outlined in the following letter from Brigham Young: 'Great Salt Lake City, May 2nd, 1866. To Pres. Erastus Snow and the Bishops and Saints of Washington and Kane Counties. Greetings. Dear Brethren, The recent occurrences in your counties, and the threatened repetition of these scenes prompt us to write to you this epistle. To save lives and the property of the people in your counties form the marauding and bloodthirsty bands which surround you, there must be thorough and energetic measures of protection taken immediately. Many of your settlements at present time are too weak to successfully resist attack, or to prevent their stock being driven off by any band of Indians, however contemptible, who may choose to make a descent upon them. These small settlements should be abandoned, and the people who formed them should, without loss of time, repair to places that can be easily defended, and that possess the necessary advantages to sustain a heavy population. There should be from 100 to 500 good and efficient men in every settlement; but not less than 150 well-armed men; and their horses should always be where they can put their hands upon them. Where there are several settlements which do not have this number of men, there should be places selected where the requisite number can concentrate. At all points where the settlements are maintained, good and substantial forts, with high walls and strong gates, should be erected, and the people move into them. Corrals also should be built, so convenient to the forts and in such a strong manner, that they can be easily guarded, and the stock kept safe in them from every attack...' It may be added that though a few outlying ranches were temporarily abandoned, the elaborate plans of defense outlined by Brigham Young were never carried out. A maximum number of settlers had already established themselves at every available spring and stream and no further concentration of population was possible because of lack of water. Only the walls of Fort Pearce were erected to protect the stock herders in the wilderness west of St. George."

      4. From the book "Our Pioneer Heritage," Lesson for Nov. 1964, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, SLC, compiled by Kate B. Carter, chapter "Blackhawk Indian War," pp. 204-206:
      "Massacre of the Berrys. Robert Madison Berry was born February 3, 1841, and Joseph Smith Berry was born December 9, 1843, at Dresden, Weekly County, Tennessee, the sons of Jesse and Armelia Shanks Berry. About the year 1842 the Gospel message was being preached in their locality and Elders Amasa Lyman, Benjamin Cluff and Lyman Wight converted the Berry family, who left soon afterwards for Nauvoo, where Jesse Berry died. The mother and children were pioneers to Utah in 1849, settling in Spanish Fork a few years later. In 1862 John W., William, Robert and Joseph Berry with their families, were called to help colonize the St. George area. In the spring of 1866, Joseph and Robert Berry with Isabelle Hales Berry, the latter's wife, were returning from a trip to Salt Lake City. They stopped at Kanarraville and while there the two-year-old baby girl of Robert and Isabelle died. The Berrys resumed their journey, traveling in a light wagon, camping for noon, April 2, 1866, at Short Creek, where they were attacked by Piutes, who it is claimed had been following them from Corn Creek in Millard County. Their dead bodies were found several days later by John and William Berry. The details of the tragedy will never be known. It appears that they attempted to escape by running their horses across the country and finding they could not do so, fought desperately for their lives, but in vain. One dead Indian was found nearby. Joseph was found lying face down in the wagon box; his leg had been bandaged, no doubt, while they were fleeing as fast as they cold from the Indians. Isabelle had been shot through the head with a six-shooter and was lying on the ground, while Robert's body was astride the wagon tongue with the head leaning into the wagon. The Indians said afterward that Robert was a "heap brave fighter." Robert and Joseph were large men, tall of stature. The burial of these pioneers took place at Grafton, Utah. In "Church Chronology" it is recorded that this massacre occurred four miles from Maxfield's Ranch on Short Creek, Kane County, Utah. There is a small knoll between Short Creek and Kane Beds which marks the place and is called Berry Knoll. When President Young heard of this outrage on the part of the Indians, he sent word to Cedar City for the men of that place to form a company of militia and go to Berryville and escort the people back to Dixie. The late John Parry of Cedar City was a member of that escort, and furnished the writer much of the information for this sketch. Coal Creek John, Indian chief of the Cedar band of Indians who were Piutes, was one of those who killed the Berry brothers. He was large of stature, tall and commanding, with long braids hanging down and decorated with many colors. He and his braves again appeared on the scene just as the settlers were ready to leave with the escort. He was wearing a shirt which William Berry recognized as his brother's, awakening in him the spirit of revenge. He determined to kill the chief. The other settlers knew that they would all be killed if William were allowed to do as he felt, so they reasoned with him to see the result of such action. He refused to be consoled and was locked up until his anger subsided. The settlers, although very frightened that the Indians would attack them, talked peace and the red men did not cause further trouble at this time. The road through the valley ran on the west side of the creek. When the company reached a ravine in the mountains called the Calf Pasture, a small son of George Spencer wanted to ride on the mules and his father granted his wish, but he had not ridden far when he fell off and was run over and killed. The company halted and made a coffin from one of the wagon boxes and buried him at the mouth of Calf Pasture. It was near this place that a Piute Indian, Old Mose, came up to the company. When he saw how frightened the people were, he said, ‘Ti-wiga Ti-ca-boo' meaning he was friendly and extended his hand for a handshake. Long after this when settlers returned, he visited among the people and often related this incident. Before he closed his visit, he would ask for flour and it was usually given to him. The hostile band again appeared when the company reached Short Creek. The settlers talked peaceably with them and any trouble that might have occurred was averted. But the people knew that the band was following them and kept a vigilant watch. The men took turns standing guard. It was June and the nights were cool. Joseph Hopkins, who stood guard toward the cool part of the early morning, wore his wife's flannel petticoat over his shoulders because he did not have a coat. They arrived at their destination in safety. When they reached Long Valley they found their crops growing nicely and unmolested. Some of the men stayed there during the summer and fall to care for the crops and finish the harvesting, while others returned with loads of provisions for their families at home. When they reached the Elephant seven miles below Mount Carmel, the Indians attacked them and there was a skirmish in which one Indian was killed. Hyrum Stevens was shot through the breast by an Indian named Humpie, but the wound was not fatal. The Indians rode off with five of their horses, so the white men were unable to haul their provisions any further. The others received orders from Major Russell of Dixie to leave their crops on the ground and return to Dixie. They left the valley where the Zion-Carmel Highway now takes off, going over Bernt Flat, thence to Blue Springs on Kolob and from there to Virgin and Rockville. Hyrum Stevens rode a horse the whole distance as it was less painful than to ride in a wagon. He had been shot with a musket army gun, and it was three days before the bullet was removed. Then it was cut out with a dull knife. His wife, hearing of the accident, had come to meet them with a wagon and team, but he preferred riding the horse. He was 26 years old at the time and recovered, raised a large family and lived to the age of 83 years. In passing over the area at Elephant afterwards, the settlers found large holes where the Indians had buried the corn and potatoes that had been left lying on the ground, and which had later been dug up and used by the Indians. The next spring the settlers came into Long Valley again and took back grain and potatoes which they had stored the fall before. - Hattie Esplin."

      5. Received from Don and Carolyn Adair, 2003. Mary E. Adair Adams was a daughter of Thomas Jefferson Adair, also in this database - see his notes for full quotation. The following parts are her contact with the murder site of the Berrys:
      "Mary E. Adair (1858-1926). A Short Sketch of the Life of Mary Elizabeth Adair Adams:
      Mary Elizabeth Adair was born at Washington, Washington County, Utah on April 15, 1858 to Thomas Jefferson Adair and Mary Vancil Adair. She was the first white girl born in the town of Washington. Her parents were pioneers of the early days in Dixie (Southern Utah.) While Mary was still young her parents and their family of eight children moved to Kanab then to Upper Pahreah, Kane County, Utah. On this trip their company was the first to find the camp and the murdered bodies of the Berry Brothers and wife. The Indians had killed them near Pipe Springs on Short Creek. After the family got to Kanab Mary saw an Indian with one of the men's clothes on. She always dreaded that road after that. She was of a nervous disposition and was so afraid of Indians. She spent a miserable young life in new countries. At the age 17 Mary met John S. Adams at a fourth of July dance. They were married the next spring on May 17, 1876. John and Mary Adams had thirteen children over the next 24 years. Mary and J.S. went to Long Valley (near Orderville, Utah) to live...
      In 1889 John S. Adams concluded he could make more freighting with oxen than with four horses so he traded the four horses for six oxen. But he had to walk so much to drive the oxen and he got his feet wet so often, he contracted rheumatics from which he suffered terribly and in 1892 the Dr. at Fort Apache advised him to move to a warmer locality so the family of Father, Mother, and eight daughters and one son started for Dixie Utah with two wagons and four horses on the third of May 1893. John S. was hardly able to get in and out of the wagon for the first few days. But grew better as the climate changed so Mary E. and her girls had to take most of the responsibility of the first part of the trip. They managed very well until they came to the Winslow crossing of the Little Colorado River. When they arrived there they found that a few days before a loaded wagon had gone down in the quicksand. Most of the load had been carried out but they could still see the box of the wagon above the water. So they were afraid to cross and their father knew of an old road without crossing the river if they went through the old settlement of Sunset on the Little Colorado River. So they started on this old road knowing they would have to make road some of the way. This was a very hard day on the whole family. The family was camped quite far from they spring they had to get water from because it got about dark before they got in sight of the trees at the spring. The horses were tired so they camped and John S. and his son, Ben, took the horses and canteens and went to get water. Just after they left those left behind could see a company of about sixty Navajo Indians on the road on the other side of the river. They had been to Flagstaff trading and were drunk. Mary and her children were sure frightened. John S. and his son, Ben, had gotten to the spring when they heard the Indians coming. They got the horses in the willows until the Indians passed. The father got back into camp about 11 o'clock. The next day they went to the Indian trading post on the Little Colorado River. There they saw a sheep with two heads and tails alive and well. They went from there to Moencopi, now Tuba City. They had to stay there for a week because the Indians were angry over a cowboy whipping an Indian with his quirt. Their wagons were searched. Mary was sure nervous. The family crossed the Colorado River at Lee's Ferry two days after leaving Moencopi. The river's water was high so they had to wait three days before they could cross. This was a very hard trip on Mary. Mary showed her children where the Berry brothers and wife were killed by Indians when she was a girl..."

      1. Date per website for Utah State Historical Society Cemeteries Database; 8 Jan 2002.

      1. See Sealing information below.

      1. Date per website for Utah State Historical Society Cemeteries Database; 8 Jan 2002.

      2. Killed by Indians; see full account in notes for Mary Isabell Hales. Death info from Grafton Cemetery as noted in the book "Grafton, Ghost Town on the Rio Virgin" by Lyman D. and L. Karen Platt, 1998, ISBN 9-939771-11-x, p. 142/143 which also notes birth date of 9 Dec 1843 and death date of 2 Apr 1866.

      1. Place per website for Utah State Historical Society Cemeteries Database; 8 Jan 2002.

      2. Per website ; "Cemetery/Death Indexes (1852-1996) in Washington County, Utah," compiled by Wesley W. Craig, Ph.D: "Joseph Smith Berry, b. 9 Dec 1843, d. 2 Apr 1866, Grafton Cem."

      3. Photo of cemetery and gravestone on file. Tombstone reads: "Joseph S. Berry, Born Dec. 9, 1843, Killed by Indians Apr. 2, 1866."