Bell Edward Berryman Family of Merrick County, Nebraska

Mrs. Martha McAleer, granddaughter of Bell Edward Berryman, one of Central City’s earliest pioneers, furnished the following facts as they were given in the History of Nebraska, published in 1912, as well as other important facts of interest pertaining to the Berryman history.

Bell Edward Berryman was a prominent businessman for many years and was known throughout Merrick County as a man of ability and straightforward principles.

The Berryman family and also the Bell family were of old English stock. James Berryman, a brother of Bell, settled in Merrick County in 1868, and put up one of the first buildings. Later, in 1871, James was joined by his brother, Bell, and the brothers established a partnership known as the J.H. Berryman and Brother Mercantile Business.

Father Marquette’s first sermon in Lone Tree was preached in this building, and the first court to convene in Merrick County was also held there. The original building was used later in the Bell Berryman residence, a commodious two-story frame house.

In 1873, Bell Berryman returned to his native Kentucky where he married Ellen Riley at Owensboro. Immediately after the ceremony, the couple returned to Lone Tree (Central City) where they lived the rest of their lives. They were the parents of four children: William R., Clyde V., Mary Sue (who died in infancy), and Cary. Mrs. Berryman died in 1903.

After his wife’s death, Mr. Bell Berryman retired in 1905 from his mercantile business and entered the bee industry and bee supply trade, a business which he followed, although on a limited scale later on, until his death in 1940. Mr. Berryman also had real estate interests, owning several farms, and a large number of rental properties. One eighty-acre farm still remains in the family and is owned by Helen Lorraine Buffett, a granddaughter.

Mr. Berryman was a Mason. He received the fifty-year membership pin and also the pin recognizing the fact that he had been a member longer than any others. He was given full Masonic rites when he died.

Mr. Berryman’s daughter, Cary, married Fred Herbert Guthrie. They became the parents of four daughters: Helen Lorraine Buffett (Mrs. George Buffett), born in Duluth, Minnesota, and the mother of two: Barbara James, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Roger Buffett, Madison, Wisconsin; Cynthia Bell, who was born in Omaha and who passed away in 1940; Virginia Cary Paine (Mrs. Russell D. Paine), born in Omaha. She had three sons: Donald R., Edison, Nebraska, Lt. Col. Robert G. Paine, Offutt Air Force Base, Bellevue, Nebraska, and Douglas A., Omaha, Nebraska; Martha Louise McAleer, born in the same house as was her mother, was married to Francis Patrick McAleer, a local dentist. Their daughter, Kathleen Anne Davis, was born in 1947. She and her husband, Edward Davis, both teach in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. McAleer served in World War Two, practiced dentistry in Central City for nearly thirty-five years. He was a charter Sertoma member. Dr. McAleer died in 1975 at Bergen-Mercy Hospital in Omaha. He is buried in the Berryman family plot, as are Bell E. Berryman, his wife Ellen, their daughters Mary Sue and Cary, and their granddaughter, Cynthia.

After her husband’s death, Martha McAleer moved to the Sunset Manor Apartments in Central City.

Submitted by Martha McAleer

Bell Berryman House
Bell Berryman House


Merrick County Historical Society, History of Merrick County, Nebraska (1981), Volume I, Dallas, Texas : Taylor Publishing Company, 1981.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Nebraska Genealogy

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading