Lost Colony, Hyde County and Lumbee Berry Families

I am very hopeful that one of our subscribers can help solve this mystery.  As you will see, several of the Lost Colony Research Group are working on this project, but we currently need Berry family members from both Robison and Hyde Counties to DNA test.

There are two Berry families who claim descent from the Lost Colonists, Henry and Richard Berry, who are presumed to be related to each other, likely brothers.

One line is the line that includes the Lumbee and the progenitor is Henry Berry or O’Berry who is first found owning land in the 1730s in what is today Robison County, NC.  This is also the Lumbee Berry line.  Priscilla Berry Lowery, the supposed sister of Henry Berry/O’Berry reportedly talked about her family’s oral history of descending from Henry Berry, the colonist.  I began writing a report about the various pieces of oral history and documentation that surround this legend and that is what started this whole little Berry comparison project.  That report is lengthy and will follow in a future newsletter.

We do have two people who believe they descend from this Berry line and their DNA does match.  We are working with the Berry Family DNA project.  This is the group known as the English Colony Berry’s by the Berry family DNA project.  Scroll down on this link to find “English Colony Berry Family” — there are seven men in this group, our ID #43, 61, 107, 112, 138, 140, 181]


We do not have a Berry from the confirmed Lumbee line, but one of our members is attempting to find one. I do believe this is the correct line.  We have one person from Craven County where Henry Berry’s son inherited his land and one from SC where other families from this group were known to have moved.

A second Berry line carries a very strong oral history of descent from Richard Berry, the second Berry colonist.  This family is from the New Bern/Hyde County region.  Faye “Mary” Fulford Moore descends from this line.  This family was introduced in 1937 when the Lost Colony play opened as the living descendants of the colonists.  Unfortunately, Mary has no living Berry people to test.  However, her father used to go to Hyde County when she was young and visit the Berry family there whom he claimed to be related to.  One of them was a mortician.  Mary’s father also duck hunted with a Mr. Stotesbury whom he also referred to as “cousin.”

Sharron Brace’s father was a Berry.  They are from Hyde County and this line has DNA tested.

In the Berry DNA project, this is known as the Spartanburg line and it does not match the English Colony Berry Family line.  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~langolier/BerryDNA/Family_yAncestry/spartanburg_co_sc_yancestry.html

Sharron tracked down the line of the mortician’s family and she cannot prove that this line descends from or is related to her line using documentation alone.  We need someone to DNA test that we can prove is genealogically connected to the same line as the mortician, whom Mary’s father said they were related to.

Here is what Sharron found about the mortician’s line:

The funeral director in Swan Quarter in 1944 was Dan Berry. In the 1930 census I found Daniel Berry, age 44, living on Main Street in Swan Quarter with his wife Noi. At that time he was a general store merchant. He died in September 2, 1959. His father was listed in the death record as James Edward Berry Sr. and his mother was Evelyn Benjamin Williamson. According to Jim Berry’s website James Edward Berry Sr. is the son of John Berry Jr. and Sally Stotesbury. That John is the son of John Berry Sr. and Rebecca Benson. John and Rebecca had a son Richard Thomas Berry born in December 1813. And that John born in 1778 is the son of William Berry and Sarah Green.

The John Berry born in 1778 may or may not be the brother of Sharon Brace’s ancestor, William Berry born in 1786-88 so we still don’t know if the two BERRY lines were related.

So, we need a Berry male to take the DNA test who descends from John born in 1778 through any of his son’s lines.  I expect this line will match Sharron’s line, but it may not.

If Henry Berry and Richard Berry, the colonists, were indeed brothers or from the same paternal line (like uncle/nephew, etc.) their DNA will match each other, and their descendants DNA will match each other as well.

Sharron’s line does not match that of the Henry Berry line.  Her line is grouped by the Berry project as the Spartanburg, SC line.  The John 1778 Hyde County line could match Sharron’s line, or could match Henry Berry’s line, or could be a completely different line.

What we need is someone to test from the John 1778 line.  Because we know that Faye “Mary” Fulford Moore’s Berry family claimed to be related to this Berry line, the person who tests from the Swan Quarter John 1778 Berry line is representing the Richard Berry potential colonist line.

You can read more about the Hyde County Berry family at this link:  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~langolier/Swan_Quarter/wc_toc.html

You can see John Berry’s genealogy and his children at this link: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~langolier/Swan_Quarter/wc01/wc01_019.html

We have it within our power to solve this mystery!


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in History, Lost Colony, Lumbee. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Lost Colony, Hyde County and Lumbee Berry Families

  1. Angie says:

    I know a ton of Berrys but haven’t been able to get a call back. I have often commented to my husband about the resemblance of one of them to the photos of the legendary one Henry Berry Lowery.

  2. Catherine Scott says:

    Ms Roberta, I have a woman in Robeson County, whom lives in Pembroke, her name is Anita Berry and she goes for Lumbee, but she’s Tuscarora’

    • This sounds like the perfect family to do the test? Does she have a male Berry family member who would be willing to test. It has to be a male Berry as the men carry the Y chromosome which is passed to sons along with the surname. Thanks so very much.

  3. Elizabeth Berry says:

    Hello! I am Elizabeth Berry, wife of Timothy D. Berry, son of Carlos Randolph Berry III, who is the son (obviously) of CR Berry II, son of CR Berry Sr, who I believe to be the son of John Henry Clay Berry born in 1848, who is believed to be the son of John Berry Jr, son of John Berry Sr, born in 1778.
    My father-in-law, Carlos Randolph Berry III, still living, was born in Beaufort, NC and has NUMEROUS family members in Swan Quarter, Hyde County. He has noted that he was always told that he was a descendent of one of the colonist. My husband, Tim, and I also have a son, 10 months old. My husband found this article and is more than willing, if you would like, to have DNA testing, and believes his father would certainly be willing as well.
    We currently live in Portsmouth, Virginia, and CR Berry III lives in Chesapeake, VA.
    Please let me/us know if there’s any additional information you’d like. I will say I don’t know how much certified documentation we have verifying this information, much of it is oral information or from Ancestry.com however the entire family is willing to help! 🙂

  4. John johns says:

    they get tested and nobody comes back with native american DNA only Black and white ,it seems the Indian is all a fantasy romantic myth to hide that african blood among those Lumbees.(and a casino)

  5. Melissa says:

    Hello! I am descended from this Berry line. I am a fmale but we are working on finding a berry male to test. We DO have native american markers- along with white and african. Someone contact me on participating

  6. Sandy Berry says:

    My husband’s Berry ancestors come from that area. His great grandfather was named Clayborn or Claiborne Prettyman Berry. Prettyman Berry, born around 1814 was his father (however one family member says Clayborn might have been adopted or taken in by Prettyman & was a nephew). You may know a Beverly who goes by BJ Berrykeeper. She had a photo of our ancestor William Clayborn Berry with her grandfather Richard Berry together in WWI. She is listed on the Berry DNA site. My husband did his DNA test & I joined the Berry group for him a few years ago, however Jim Berry says there is no match to those Berrys & my husband’s info doesn’t even show up. When I look at the Ancestry general DNA at groups we’ve joined we do show matches to McGees who are related to Oxendines & Berrys. It’s all very confusing to me. If you want to look or followup his DNA kit is 229985 to see if this helps you or contact me for more info. He is also related to other Berrys through other relatives by marriage. I have also spoken by email with Carol Vass who was very helpful to me.

    Here is what I have from my own research & from BJ’s:

    1. Richard Berry born about 1715 & did 1775 in Chatham County, NC married to a Fanny or Rebina Hawkins or both. They supposedly ran a “Berry’s Ferry” & there are some court records online. I have his will & death document.

    2. son is Prettyman R. Berry (the elder) born about 1754 in North or South Carolina. Married to a Sarah , possibly a Poe surname. Per BJ he lived in the Drowning Creek Pee Dee area. Born in Robeson County, NC.

    3. son is John Berry born about 1770 possibly married to Mary Poe. ( info from BJ is sketchy)

    4. son is Robert or Simon Berry born about 1800 possibly married to a Nancy Sanders. (info from BJ is sketchy) . I do find Nancy Sanders online but doesn’t show a marriage to a Berry ??

    5. son is Prettyman Berry (the younger) born about 1814, married to Elizabeth Tullis (Cherokee). He later moved to Hog Mtn in Gwinnett Co, Ga & died in Arkansas in 1904. One of his sisters, Sarah Berry Hudson was said to be on the Trail of Tears when she was 3 yrs old. BJ has old tintypes of Elizabeth Tullis, Sarah Berry Hudson & Prettyman’s son John F. Berry

    6. son (or nephew) Clayborn Berry born 1844 in Gwinnett Co, Ga. married to Louisa Hayes. Died in Arkansas 1914.

    7. son William Clayborn (Willie Claibe) born1881 in Arkansas, married to Nancy Belle Gross.

    8. son William Roosevelt Berry born 1904 in Arkansas, married to Nancy Bell Alexander.

    9. son Darnel Berry, my husband.

    Thx, Sandy Berry

  7. Tami Berry Loftis says:

    Hello – my Dad is Grady Berry, who was born in Arkansas. His dad was Samuel Berry. Samuel’s Dad was Simon Berry, and Simon’s father was Prettyman Berry.

  8. Linda Mowbray says:

    My grandmother was Fanny Berry from Rose Bay. Her father was Richard T Berry and mother, Dora Berry. She was cousin to Dan Berry, the funeral director. I have been to the funeral home many times growing up. My grandmother married EE Bridgman in Swan Quarter. I would like to know more about the Berrys.
    Linda Outland Mowbray

  9. GLAMOUR BERRY says:

    Hi my name is Glamour Berry I come from a well known line of Berry family. I do know that a great great grandmother family history was burnt around the same time line just sending a olive branch out

  10. GLAMOUR BERRY says:

    Oh and I dnot know much of her name my dad says is Elizabeth. There was a mail in the family that was known to have two family’s he would get drunk and run off w the mistress this could cause confusion for sure

  11. got2bjb says:

    I have a 4th cousin last name of Berry. Ahhhhhh, You should see his DNA! Just sent a text to him to see if he might be interested in your project. from the Information your requiring I believe he would be a good candidate

  12. Dina says:

    My Great Grandmother was the daughter of Simon Berry. I have been Tested and I have 2 sons and a living uncle still. Would any of those be of help?

    • Hi Dina, What we need are male Berrys. Do you have any men who still carry the Berry surname available to test. The Y chromosome is passed from father to son, so women don’t inherit it. Also, we would need the genealogy as best you have it through the Berry line. If this might be possible, please contact me at robertajestes at att.net

  13. Hope Berry says:

    Roberta, How can I contact Elizabeth Berry? I may be related through John Berry. My name is Hope Berry, I have my brother’s DNA and mine on Ancestry.com. Contact me at berry.hope@ymail.com

    • LindaMowbray says:

      My grandmother was Fannye Berry from Rose Bay, Hyde County. Her father was Richard T Berry and mother Dora Arringtion Berry. My mother was Nellie Bridgman from Hyde County, her father Edward Ellis Bridgman. I have wondered for so long if we are “possibly part of the Lost Colony Berry’s.” Would love to hear from someone and their research and if they are interested in my “Berry History.”

  14. Rg Berry says:

    My great great was John Berry , jhc Berry was my great grandfather , Reuben Walton my grandfather. They lived in poplar ridge, off juniper bay hyde county

  15. Ted Hart says:

    I have found out I am descended from a woman named Elizabeth Berry from Virginia and she was born in 1785 and died in 1838 in Kentucky. Her descendants are potentially from the Nansemond tribe. I have lots of Bass family members from one branch and they’re pretty much confirmed to be Nansemond tribe along with some Rawls and so on. I wonder if my Berry would be related in some way?

  16. Steve Berry says:

    I have two DNAs done

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