Happy Birthday, Tom Berry!

“S. King left Craver by batting a fly away to right, which was handsomely taken by the indomitable Tom Berry.”

“Base Ball – Athletic vs. Haymakers”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 07 September 1869, Page 3.

Born and died in Chester, PA, Berry played in one game for Philadelphia in the original National Association in 1871 (six innings in the outfield, going one for four), but played for other Philadelphia aggregations, including the Keystones and Athletics, between the Civil War and that time (the 1870 US Census lists his occupation as “Professional Base Ball”).  His teammates on the Athletics – one of the best baseball teams of the late 1860s and early 1870s – included Al Reach, Count Sensenderfer, and guys like that. I’d write something really cool about the guy, but the following article in the local paper at the time of his death is really impressive, so I’ll just drop that in here.


Whatever the future holds for man, the entire people of this community will join in hoping that our friend, “Tom” Berry, who passed away on Sunday at his home in this city, will get his full measure. There are men who enter the great beyond, whose going only seems to affect their immediate family and friends, and then there are others whose death causes widespread sympathy for those whom they leave behind, due to the part they took in public affairs while living. Mr. Berry belonged to the latter class. He first became known as a soldier, when he answered the call of President Lincoln for men to defend the Union. Later he became a public man by playing professional baseball after his return from war. When age made him no longer useful in this capacity, which is one of the greatest pastimes of the American people, Mr. Berry took up other positions all of them more or less where he was constantly before the public. For years, he was a railway mail messenger for the Government; he filled an important position in the Recorder of Deeds’ office at Media. He twice served this city as its Chief of Police, and did it with honor to those who were instrumental in having him appointed, and to himself and family.

The last years of his life were spent as one of the city aldermen. In this position he came in contact with all classes and he endeared himself to our lawyers and others having occasion to take cases before him. Always asserting a strong will power to do what he believed was right, Mr. Berry never lost sight of the great admonition that punishment must be tempered with mercy. And as he lived, respected and looked up to by all who knew him, so he died, content in the fact that he had done the right thing all through life. Mrs. Berry and the children have lost a good husband and father, but the public has lost a good citizen, and nowhere will his counsel and friendly advice be missed more than among the firemen of this city.

Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, PA), 08 June 1915, Page 3.

Thomas Haney Berry, born 31 December 1842, was the son of Washington and Maria (Haney) Berry, and the oldest of three kids. His father, a butcher and grocer, was a Pennsylvania native, while his mother was an immigrant from Ireland. Berry served three tours in the Civil War. Initially he enlisted in 1862, serving in Company B, Sixteenth Regiment as a member of the Pennsylvania Volunteers. After his honorable discharge a year later, he joined Company A of the 37th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia under Colonel John Trout for a year. He reenlisted a third time, joining Company A of Nineteenth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. In addition to his professional roles, he served on the local Hanley Hose Company fire department. Tom would marry Mary K. Byre and have three sons. His demise on 06 June 1915, noted above, was due to Tuberculosis.

1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910 US Census
PA Death Certificate
PA Civil War Muster Rolls
“‘Tom’ Berry ‘Strikes’ Out”, Delaware County Daily Times, 07 June 1915, Page 5.

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