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Gary Winfree
Forest Hill Plantation House
Photograph, Forest Hill Plantation house in Alto, Texas. Image courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission provided to The Portal to Texas History. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

FOREST HILL PLANTATION. Forest Hill, off Farm Road 241 3½ miles northeast of Alto in south central Cherokee County, was the antebellum plantation of Capt. Henry and Helena (Dill) Berryman. Berryman, a career officer in the United States Army, resigned his commission in 1843, and in 1847 the couple settled on a league of land that Mrs. Berryman had inherited from her mother, Helena Kimble Dill. The property was part of the original grant for which James Dill, first alcalde of Nacogdoches, had petitioned the Spanish government in 1802. Shortly after their arrival Berryman put his slaves to work to clear the land for a cattle ranch and to construct a large two-story log house, which he intended to serve as a temporary home for his family while a replica of his Virginia home, Whitehall, could be built of native stone. Berryman died before work began on the stone house, however, and the log house became the family's permanent home. Among the illustrious guests who visited the house were Zachary Taylor and Joseph Lewis Hogg.

After Helena Berryman's death in 1888, the property passed to her oldest son, Henry Waters Berryman. The property was later divided among various members of the family, but the house remained in the Berryman family until 1957. A state historical marker was placed at the site in 1962. In the early 1990s the house was still standing, though the original slave quarters and other outbuildings were not.


Cherokee County History (Jacksonville, Texas: Cherokee County Historical Commission, 1986). Hattie Joplin Roach, A History of Cherokee County (Dallas: Southwest, 1934). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Gary Winfree, "FOREST HILL PLANTATION," accessed July 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ccf01.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on July 29, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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