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Joseph Milton Nance

BERRY, JOSEPH (ca. 1819–1842). Joseph Berry, victim of the battle of Mier, third son of Betsy (Smothers) and John Berry, was born in Monroe County, Indiana, about 1819 and named after his father's brother. With his father and brothers, John Bate and Andrew Jackson Berry, he moved to Texas in 1826 and settled near the mouth of Buffalo Bayou in what is now Harris County. In 1834 John Berry, with his third wife and children, moved to Mina (Bastrop), where Joseph Berry, a gunsmith like his father, joined John Jackson Tumlinson's rangers, composed largely of citizens of Bastrop County. Joseph aided in the construction of a fort near Liberty Hill in 1835 and later served as second in command of that outpost. He was listed on the tax rolls of Liberty County in 1840 as the administrator of Thomas Nesbet's estate of 640 acres. Berry and his brother John Bate received grants of land in the Robertson colony. Joseph's grant was patented in what is now Williamson County. In 1840 the Berrys were living in Burleson County. After the seizure of San Antonio in September by the Mexican army under Gen. Adrián Woll, Berry rallied to the defense of the frontier by joining the Brazoria Company under Capt. John Shelby McNeill for the Somervell campaign, and when Brig. Gen. Alexander Somervell started home from the Rio Grande on December 19, 1842, he transferred to Capt. Charles K. Reese's company, to which his brother Bate also transferred, and thus became a member of the Mier expedition. As the Texan forces advanced against Mier in the late afternoon of December 25, Joseph fell down the wet, slippery bluff of the Alcantro River and broke his thigh. With a Texan doctor and a small guard, including his brother, he was placed in a hut near the Alcantro River opposite Mier, where, the next day around eleven o'clock in the morning, the small party of Texans was discovered by the enemy, and Joseph was killed.


Ovie Clark Fisher, The Texas Heritage of the Fishers and the Clarks (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones Press, 1963). Joseph Milton Nance, ed., Mier Expedition Diary: A Texas Prisoner's Account by Joseph D. McCutchan (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978).

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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, Joseph Milton Nance, "BERRY, JOSEPH," accessed November 13, 2019,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on June 1, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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