William H. Berry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
William H. Berry
William H. Berry - History of Iowa.jpg
Mayor of Chester, Pennsylvania
In office
February 10, 1905 – December 30, 1905
Preceded byHoward H. Huston
Succeeded bySamuel E. Turner
Treasurer of Pennsylvania
In office
January 1, 1907 – November 30, 1908
GovernorEdwin S. Stuart
Preceded byWilliam L. Mathues
Succeeded byJohn O. Sheatz
Personal details
Born(1852-09-09)September 9, 1852
Edwardsville, Illinois
DiedJune 19, 1928(1928-06-19) (aged 75)
Chester, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic

William Harvey Berry (September 9, 1852 – June 19, 1928) was an American politician who served as Mayor of Chester, Pennsylvania for one year in 1905 and as the Pennsylvania State Treasurer from 1906 to 1908. As Treasurer, Berry identified misappropriations in the graft scandal related to furnishing of the Pennsylvania State Capitol.[1] Berry was President of the Berry Engineering Company, worked as Collector of the Port of Philadelphia and authored multiple books on economic policy.

Early life[edit]

Berry was born on September 9, 1852 in Edwardsville, Illinois to Benjamin D. and Mary F. Berry. His father Benjamin was and early pioneer of Illinois and a skilled mechanic having developed several useful inventions.[2]

As a young man, Berry took an apprenticeship in the machine shops of George W. Tifts Sons & Co. in Buffalo, New York.[3] Berry also took a scientific mechanical course at the Mechanics' Institute in Buffalo.[4]


In 1873, after receiving his degree, Berry relocated to Chester, Pennsylvania and was placed in charge of the brick yard of the Eddystone Manufacturing Company. He was appointed master mechanic and held the position for 17 years.[4]

In 1903, Berry established and became President of the Berry Engineering Company in Chester, Pennsylvania[3] which produced a high pressure, super heating boiler.[2]. Berry was also treasurer of the Fields Brick Company in Chester, Pennsylvania.[5]

Berry served as mayor of Chester, Pennsylvania from February 1905 to December 1905. He resigned to run for treasurer of Pennsylvania and was the only Democrat to win a statewide election between 1893 and 1931.[6] Berry served as treasurer from 1906 to 1908.[7]

During his tenure as Treasurer, Berry discovered misappropriations of state funds related to the furnishing of the new Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[8] While an additional $700,000 had been appropriated for furnishings, flooring and ceilings, oak wainscoting and artwork - the actual additional unappropriated costs were $7.7 million. Questionable charges such as charging by the pound for chandeliers and charging for the "air space under furniture" were discovered upon investigation. Convictions on charges of conspiracy and false pretense were obtained against architect Joseph Huston, lead contractor John Sanderson, former Auditor General William P. Snyder and former state treasurer William L. Mathues.[9]

In 1910, Berry was a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania as a member of the independent Keystone Party but lost to the Republican candidate John Kinley Tener.[10]

Berry was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1912 and 1924.[7]

Personal life[edit]

His son, US Marine Major Benjamin S. Berry, served in World War I, and for his actions on June 6, 1918 in the Battle of Belleau Wood was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and the Croix de Guerre from the government of France.[11]

Berry died on June 19, 1928[1] and is interred at the Chester Rural Cemetery in Chester, Pennsylvania.[12]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "William H. Berry dies in Pennsylvania home". New York Times. June 20, 1928. p. 17.
  2. ^ a b Cochran, Thomas B. Smull's Legislative Hand Book and Manual of the State of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Publishing Company. p. 139. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Berry, William H." www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b Cope, Gilbert (1904). Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Chester and Delaware Counties, Pennsylvania. New York: The Lewis Publishing Company. p. 96. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  5. ^ Jordan, John W. (1914). A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania and Its People. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 1117. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  6. ^ Beers, Paul B. (1980). Pennsylvania Politics Today and Yesterday: The Terrible Accommodation. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 30. ISBN 0-271-00238-7. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Berry, William H." www.politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Governor John Stuchell Fischer". www.phmc.state.pa.us. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Governor Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker". Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Archived from the original on April 17, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2009.
  10. ^ "Governor John Kinley Tener". www.phmc.state.pa.us. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Major Berry Won Promotion Abroad". New York Times. June 15, 1918.
  12. ^ "William Harvey Berry (1852-1928(". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
Preceded by
Howard H. Houston
Mayor of Chester
Succeeded by
Samuel E. Turner
Political offices
Preceded by
William L. Mathues
Treasurer of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
John O. Sheatz