Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Zachariah Berry Sr. (b. 1749 - d. 1845)
MSA SC 5496-010306
War of 1812 Claimant, Prince George's County, Maryland, 1821


    Zachariah Berry was born July 11, 1749 to Jeremiah and Mary Clagett Berry. Zachariah Berry First married Elizabeth Owen and had the following children: Barbary, Zachariah, Jr., Thomas, Jeremiah, and Mary Berry. Elizabeth Owen Berry died at an unknown date. Zachariah Berry then married Mary Williams and had one son, Washington Berry. Zachariah Berry served as a Captain during the Revolutionary War. Zachariah Berry, built a home at Concord where his family would reside in Prince George’s County, MD. By 1800 Berry owned 88 slaves, which made him the seventh largest slave holder in the county. In 1810 Berry, a tobacco planter, acquired 49 acres of land (Oxon Hill Manor) from Walter D. Addison. He never lived on the property but, his son Thomas moved into the property in 1812.  Berry became the second wealthiest landowner in Prince George's County. At the time he acquired this land he owned 53 slaves that worked at Concord.

    In August 1814 three of Berry's valuable negroes, Richard Sprigg, Harkless (Herkulous) Lowe, and Michael Duckett escaped to the British. The three slaves fled from Concord, Berry's plantation near Bladensburg. Negro Harkless aged 22 went of with the British Army under the leadership of General Ross. In 1821 Berry filed a claim for his negroe's that were taken away by the British. He gave a deposition before a Prince George's County Justice of the Peace. Berry's sons Thomas and Zachariah, Jr. also gave depositions that they knew the three men and their value. According to Zachariah Berry this was a huge loss financially, although he was one of the wealthiest men living in Prince George's County. Caleb Taylor another citizen of Prince George's county gave a deposition stating that he saw Harkless in the British Army on their return from Bladensburg. Berry also had the support two free coloured men named Nathaniel Walker and Isaac Middleton who knew the three slaves well and gave depositions. Walker and Middleton gave a full description of the slaves including their full names. The final deposition came from Otho Berry Beall, a planter,  who was a near neighbor of Berry.

   Zachariah Berry was elected a director of the Planter's Bank.  Zachariah Berry died March 25, 1845 in Prince George's County and is buried on the front lawn at Concord, the Berry family home. Berry left his son William two of his properties, Concord and Outlet. Berry's Oxon Hill property was left to his son Thomas who passed it on to Berry's grandson Thomas E. Berry. At his death Berry had Fifteen of Berry's slaves went to his son Thomas who lived at Seat Pleasant with his wife at the time.

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