From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Berry, Isaac, Sr.

(born: 1831  -  died: 1914) 

Isaac Berry, Sr. was a violin player who was born a slave in Garrard County, KY. He was willed to one of his owner's daughters. The daughter married James Pratt, and the family moved to Missouri. With the permission of Mrs. Pratt, Berry ran away and James Pratt posted a $500 reward for Berry, dead or alive. Berry made his way to Ypsilanti, MI, [see George McCoy] by following the railroad tracks, the trip taking him three weeks. Members of the Underground Railroad helped Berry to make his way on to Detroit, then to Canada. Berry's daughter, Katy Pointer, was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in 1864, and the family moved to Mecosta, MI, in 1877. Isaac Berry, Sr. was a blacksmith and a carpenter, he was the husband of Lucy, who was born in New York; both are last listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. The Berry family was among the early settlers of Morton Township in Mecosta, MI, where Isaac Berry built a school for Negro children and other structures. Isaac Berry, Sr. was born March 10, 1831 and died January 11, 1914 [source: Michigan Certificate of Death at Seeking Michigan, online digital archive]. For more see Negro Folktales in Michigan, edited by R. M. Dorson; and A northside view of slavery. The Refugee: or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada, by B. Drew (1856).

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Garrard County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: McCoy, George and Mildred
NKAA Source: Negro folktales in Michigan
NKAA Source: A North-side view of slavery. The refugee; or, The narratives of fugitive slaves in Canada related by themselves. With an account of the history and condition of the colored population of upper Canada.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Berry, Isaac, Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 19, 2021,

Last modified: 2019-09-24 19:07:52