The following information is excerpted from my book, The Rigdon Family Notes, Hillbillies Down Home In America
Berry S. Rigdon (1787 - ca. 1865)
Berry was born in Georgia, the son of Thomas R.S. (1750) and Amy
(O'Neal) Rigdon(ca. 1760). He moved to South Carolina after he was grown, married
Sarah Blakeley in Barnwell County in 1805 in the Edgefield District, and
lived there and in Barnwell District until he returned to Georgia about 1822. Sarah's
father was Robert Partin
Enoch Miles (1821)
The 1830 Georgia census lists Berry in Appling County. There were 2 males <10, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 15-20, 1 male 40-50, 2 females < 5, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 15-20, 1 female 40-50. There may have been 2 others from the census records of 1830. After Sarah's death, he married Mary Taylor (1805) about 1823. She was the daughter of John and Mary Taylor. They had the following children, born in Appling County, GA:
Thomas Sylvester (1824)
William Dixon (1825)
Sarah Ann Jane (1827)
Berry George (1838)
Sytha (Sitha??) (1842)
Martha A. P. (1843)
Lucinda (Linda??) (1847)
The census shows him in Appling County in 1830, 1840, and 1850. The 1850 census shows he was a farmer who owned 100 acres of land. During the 1850's however he moved with his wife and some of their children to Irwin County where they located in the portion now Tift County, near the present village of Chula. He died there about 1865.
Thomas Sylvester Rigdon(1824 - Jul. 22, 1862)
Thomas was the son of Berry S. (1787) and Mary Taylor (1805) Rigdon. He was born in Appling County, GA. He married Rebecca Webb (Aug. 14, 1828), Dec. 18, 1845 in Camden County, GA. They had eight children:
Eliza A. (1850),
Mary A. (1851),
Berry S. (Apr. 12, 1852),
Lydia Ann (Aug. 30, 1851),
Martha Ann (Feb. 15, 1855),
John A. (Feb. 15, 1858),
Sarah A. (1860).
The first four children were born in Appling County, GA. Lydia and Martha were born in Tift County, GA. John and Sarah were born in Irwin County, GA.
The 1850 Georgia Census lists Thomas, his wife Rebecca Webb 24, and 1 daughter, Eliza A , age 1. He is also listed in the 1860 Irwin County, Georgia census.
The 1850 census shows that Thomas had a 50 acre farm in Appling County, GA. Thomas moved from Appling County to Irwin County about 1855 and settled in the present Chula district, a section of Irwin cut into Tift County in 1905. He was a member of the Irwin County Grand Jury in the April term 1858. He bought a farm and lived there until shortly before his death. The 1860 Irwin County, GA census shows the family there. He enlisted in Co. "F", 49th Georgia Volunteer Regiment, Confederate Army, and died of disease while in the service. (Ref. RCSG 5:250) Thomas died in Lynchburg, VA of dehydration caused by an extended bout with diarrhea. His widow reared the children to maturity and lived on the home place until her death May 1, 1899. She was buried at Zion Hope Church, Tift County.
Zion Hope Church was founded in 1859, thirteen years before Tifton was settled. The first services were held in a log building on land given by Thomas. Today, Zion Hope Baptist Church is a thriving Southern Baptist Church on a beautiful site overlooking two lakes. Ed Rigdon owns 250 acres of the old homesite northeast of the church property. While preparing this book, I met up with Ed one Saturday morning. He was in his back yard fishing in a little 8 acre pond and must have caught 20 little bream during the hour or so while we chatted. Ed has some domestic ducks (a nuisance) who call the pond home, and there were also a pair of wild geese, a pair of mallards, and a pair of wild wood ducks competing for the fish. The farm today is primarily part of the Georgia Agricultural Experimental Station just north of Tifton and there is a large billboard type sign near the Agrirama which says, "Rigdon Farm - State of GA Experimental Station. The state has recreated an old 1800's style homestead and visitors can see just what if was like for Thomas and Rebecca to live and work the old homestead. The Agrirama is located right on interstate 75 north of Tifton and the farm stretches several miles north of there.
Berry Rigdon (Aug. 9, 1885 - Aug. 4, 1985)
Berry was born in Tift County, GA, the son of John (Feb. 15, 1851/1858?) and Mary Ann Sylvania (Summers) Rigdon. He was baptized in the First Baptist Church of Tifton, GA. He married first, Louise Toney. He married second Luna Baker of Tifton. She was the daughter of Judge Joseph Jackson and Nancy (Taylor) Rigdon. They had 5 children:
Jack Berry (ca. 1915)
Frank Leonard (ca. 1917)
Fred Warren (Jan. 10, 1919)
Sarah Florence (Towson) (ca. 1921)
Nancy (White) (ca 1923)
Berry was born on a small farm in Tift County, GA. He left school at approximately the 8th grade. He initially worked at his father's cotton gin, then worked as a cotton buyer, and eventually became involved in the turpentining business and other financial affairs. He was director of the First National Bank of Tifton. At his financial peak prior to the depression, he was the owner of approximately 38 farms, totalling some 8,000 or 9,000 acres of land, was director of the bank, owned a dairy, hotel, and approximately 12 turpentine stills. Berry survived the depression by becoming a land developer and timber grower.
Berry was a member of the First Baptist Church of Tifton, GA and noted locally for his generosity to numerous relatives, and people with hard luck. He contributed liberally to many individuals education including many blacks in the community. He was also known as a friend of black and white alike and treated everyone fairly and dealt generously with his many employees throughout his entire life.
Berry died just five days short of his hundredth birthday. He is buried in Zion Hope Church Cemetery in Tifton, GA.
REF: SSDI# 260-22-3824 GA