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Windham County Connecticut
WINDHAM COUNTY RECORDS
THEODORE BERR BIOGRAPHY
AS RECORDED IN: COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL
RECORD OF TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES.
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903 P. 1227
THEODORE BERR is known as the leading blacksmith in Ellington, Tolland county, and is one of the most popular and respected citizens of that municipality. Mr. Berr was born in the village of Somerfeldt, province of Brandenburg, Prussia.
Gustave Berr, the father of Theodore, was a nail maker in Prussia, and came to the United States, bringing his family with him. Locating at Rockville, he found employment in the woolen mill, and died there at the age of seventy-one years. Paulina Rich, his wife, survived him one year, and their children were: (1) Julius, who was married in Prussia, is a minister, and is now a member of the faculty of the Baldwin Wallace University, at Berea, Ohio; (2) Maria, who married Fred Blank, a merchant, and after his death, Emil Heyne, also a merchant; (3) Emil, for a time engaged in the woolen manufacture at Malvern, Ohio, and now a music dealer in Pekin, Ill., who was married to Lucy Hillerman; (4) August, for a time with his brother at Malvern, Ohio, but now the superintendent of an extensive woolen mill at San Francisco, married to Julia Arbeider; (5) Theodore; (6) Gustave, married to Carrie A. Beck, and a boss weaver in the New England Mills at Rockville.
Theodore Berr was born April
14, 1851, and had but a few advantages in the schools of his native
land, where his education was secured. When he was thirteen years
old he accompanied his parents to this country, making the voyage
from Hamburg on the ship "Germania."
They were twelve days on the water, landed in New York, and made their
way directly to Rockville, where young Theodore found work as an errand
boy in the new England mills, where in after years he learned the trade
of weaver. He concluded, however, when a young man, that he would rather
be a blacksmith, and learned that trade of Horace Treat. He worked two
years for that gentleman, receiving fifty dollars a year and his board.
At the expiration of that time he became an employe of Banning & Southard,
and remained with them for several years. Coming to Ellington at the
end of his engagement with this firm, he was employed by Martin Richenberger,
who had a shop on the site of Mr. Berr's
Mr. Berr was married May 27, 1875, in Canton, Ohio, by the Rev. Peter Holbrook, to Samantha Alice Smith, born Feb. 7, 1858, in Osnaburg, Stark Co., Ohio. She is the daughter of John and Maggie (Caylor) Smith. Her father was a laborer who died when she was six months old. The widow married for her second husband, Henry Geip. She died in April, 1856 (**see footnote**), at the age of fifty-two years. The children of John and Maggie Smith were: Simon, who died at the age of eleven years; Mary, who died when nine years old; Frederick who married Maggie Brigle, and was a blacksmith at Malvern; Samantha Alice. By the first marriage of the father of Mrs. Berr were born: John C., a mechanic in Canton, Ohio, whose wife was Lucinda Voy; Kate, the wife of John Myers, who lives at Massillon, Ohio; Anna J., the widow of James Waters, who lives at Canton, Ohio.
Theodore Berr and his wife are parents to the following family: Gustave F., born June 17, 1876; Gertrude B. P., born May 13, 1878, the wife of Linwood R. Campbell, and the mother of one daughter, S. Ellen M., born Aug. 13, 1896; Margaret T. A., born May 13, 1880, the wife of Charles W. Wiers, of Rockville; Hattie R. M., born May 21, 1882, a graduate of the high school in Rockville in 1900, and a teacher in Ellington, who is a working and valuable member of the Congregational Church, and also in the Grange, in which she has held official station; Charles H. T., born July 14, 1885; Samantha A., born Aug. 8, 1889, who died Aug. 15 of the same year; Emma C. L., born Jan. 21, 1893.
Mr. Berr is a Republican, and is a member of the United Order of the Golden Cross, Safety Commandery, No. 291, of Rockville. He attends the services of the Congregational Church, of which his wife and daughter Hattie, and sons, Gustave and Charles are members.
Mr. Berr is a quiet and hard-working man, and assisted by his noble wife has accumulated a handsome competence besides rearing a fine family of children. He owns his shop and three houses, one of which formerly belonged to John Hall, and was used for a boarding school. Mr. Berr also owns a few acres of land, on which he grows tobacco and garden truck, and which is now managed by his son. The home in which he lives is a hospitable one, and their many friends find a cheerful welcome from the various members of this family.
**Footnote: there is definitely something wrong in this paragraph either with the dates, the content or both. What I am seeing is that Samantha was born in 1858 but her mother died in 1856.
***Footnote: From Jean Adkins, I have a census record that may help a little bit and I would be glad
to send a copy on to whoever should have it. It shows that Mrs. Margaret
(Smith) Geip was alive and well on the 1870 census at age 52.
Reproduced by: Linda D. Pingel
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