This edition of “Looking Forward features a 2021 photo of the house at 413 Scioto St., Urbana, which was the home of Elisha C. Berry. Based on property tax records this house was built on or before 1826 on 14 acres owned by Elisha C. Berry. Mr. Berry was born in 1782 in Maryland and died in 1850 in Urbana. He was associated with the woolen mill established by John Reynolds in 1816 on East Water St.
Elisha was elected Champaign County Commissioner in October 1818. This was the first county election after Logan County to the north and Clark County to the south were established and Champaign County was reduced to its current limits in 1817. Around this same time Mr. Berry was one of the associate judges during the administration of President Judge Swan.
“The Justices bench was composed of one President Judge, supposed to be learned in the law, and three Associate Justices, taken from the body of the county, and selected for their good sense and integrity rather than for their legal requirements.” (W.H. Beers, The History of Champaign County, 1881).
Thomas H. Berry, a son of Elisha C. Berry, established a grocery business in Urbana in 1845. Upon his death in 1879 the business was managed by his eldest son, Thomas C. Berry. Upon Thomas C. Berry’s death, the business was managed by his younger brothers William E. & Lou B. Berry.
In 1891 Lou B. Berry became involved in the insurance business with J. R. McDonald in Urbana. Ultimately this business became the L. B. Berry Insurance Agency located at 125 Scioto St., Urbana. Around 1900 Lou B. Berry resided in the house at 413 Scioto St. built by his grandfather.
The Champaign County Historical Society expressed appreciation to Joe Hamilton for sharing information about his house.
Submitted by the the Champaign County Historical Museum, a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public Tues. - Fri. 10-4 and Sat. 10-2.