Texas Heroes and Google Books

We now know what the author A. W. Sowell could not know; a half century later, Grandma Berry would become an ancestor of at least one Hollywood actor, the most decorated American soldier in World War II.
How many of her descendants do not yet know of their own family ties to her, the Alamo, and Audie Murphy?

I’d like to share a fascinating ancestral history gem I discovered at Google Books this week. 

It involves early Texas heroes, and the essence of it has now been digitally lineage-linked in the Family Forest® to a more recent national hero from Texas. Literally millions of people, including probably you (I know I am one of them), relate to this story through their own family ties. 

Audie Murphy was a national hero from Texas, the most decorated American soldier in World War II. His biography, No Name on the Bullet, mentions that his family tree included such men as one of his great-grandfathers, John Berry, but gives no identifying details about John Berry or what he did. So I turned to Google Books in search of answers.

I found more than I was hoping for. It was hidden in a book from 1900 by A. W. Sowell titled Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas. 

Within a six-page section about John Berry’s wife (titled Mrs. Hannah Berry) are details about who he was, what he did, and in particular the noteworthy service he performed for Davy Crockett shortly before the Alamo. But it was a statement about his wife, also an ancestor of Audie Murphy, which caught my attention. 

While she was still alive, Grandma Berry is said to have had “seventy-four grandchildren that she knows of, and one hundred and twenty-four great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.” 

We now know what the author A. W. Sowell could not know; a half century later, Grandma Berry would become an ancestor of at least one Hollywood actor, the most decorated American soldier in World War II. 

How many thousands (tens of thousands?) of living descendants might Grandma Berry have now, a full century after she finished her historically eventful and productive life in Texas at the age of 91? How many of her descendants do not yet know of their own family ties to her, the Alamo, and Audie Murphy?

The National Treasure Hunt begins in Texas. See for yourself.

3 thoughts on “Texas Heroes and Google Books”

  1. I was surprised to read your message. My husband, Weldon, is Audie’s nephew. His mother was Audie’s oldest sister, Corinne. You being in Hawaii was surprising also. We love Hawaii. We have visited several times and plan on being there in Feb. and March of 2011. Where do you live and are you Hawaiian? Would be interested in hearing from you. Thanks, Paki (Patsy)

    1. Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii cousin-in-law Paki.
      We started the Family Forest® Project on the East Coast http://familyforest.com/about/19/our-story
      and we were having a great time there, but found that I much prefer doing my research and ancestral mapping under natural light with tropical breezes year round.

      I now travel almost exclusively virtually, as this other Texas story describes http://www.familyforest.com/captainslog/51.html

      Please let us know when you coming to the Big Island so Kristine and I can spend an afternoon with you at one of our favorite beaches.

      Cheers,

      Bruce Harrison

      President and CEO, Millisecond Publishing Company, Inc.
      Co-Founder of the Family Forest® Project

      http://www.familyforest.com
      A People-Centered Approach To History®
      http://familyforest.com/blog

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