Seedsmen Hall of Fame
Honoring Horticulturalists

A. A. Berry
Founder of Berry Seed Company
1860 - 1939

Clarinda mourns the loss of one of its pioneer industrial and civic leaders -- A. A. Berry passed away at his home at noon Wednesday after a short illness. Funeral services for the 79-year-old founder of the Berry Seed Company were held at the United Presbyterian Church Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., to be in charge of Rev. Henry Orr Lietman.

The pioneer seedman and poultryman of this section of the state, a resident of page county most of his life, was ill but a short time, although he had been in failing health for several years and under the doctor's care for many months. He was able to go for a car ride on Monday but Tuesday took a turn for the worse and after only an afternoon Wednesday.

Surviving are his widow, two sons, George, whose home is at Quincy, Illinois, Ernest, of Newton, Kansas, two daughters, Mrs. Anna Humbert and Mrs. Ralph Duff, both of Clarinda, a brother, John, of Omaha and a sister, Mrs. John Duncan of College Springs.

Mr. Berry was born July 6, 1860 at Urbana, Ohio, and at the age of seven came to St. Joseph, Mo, by train and then by freighter to College Springs where the family started farming. He attended Amity college at College Springs and continued to farm between College Springs and Shambaugh where he first started the seed business that was later to grow into one of southwestern Iowa's leading industries.

During his early twenties he was agricultural editor of the old Clarinda Herald, then owned by C.A. Lisle. He was also associated editor of the Prairie Farmer and contributing editor of the Wallace Farmer. During his early manhood he traveled extensively on agricultural tours, writing for many publications. Seed business on the farm grew to such proportions that it was necessary to move and the Van Arsdol place was purchased in 1899 and the seed business started here, known as the A. A. Berry Seed Co. In 1905 it was incorporated in the Berry Seed Co. and until 1924 he was president of the concern that was to gain the reputation as the largest mail order seed house in the world selling direct to farmers.

He retired from active work in the company in 1921 but the company maintained the name of the Berry Seed Co. by which it is still known. At the start of the present century the Berry Poultry farm was started and today it is one of the pioneers in the field and is probably one of the best known in the country. In 1929, because of ill health, he was forced to retire from active work in branching out of the poultry farms, leaving the work to his two sons who continue to operate large hatcheries in Kansas, Oklahoma and Illinois. During 1910-11 he colonized 23,000 acres of Florida land establishing the town of Roseland. Until this year he has attended every national convention of poultrymen and seedmen, attending the World Poultry Congress in London, England, in 1930 when he traveled Europe and visited the home of his parents in Scotland. He was unable to attend the meetings this year.


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