JEROME W. BERRYMAN, president of the Stock Growers National Bank of Ashland, can without distinction be named among the most prominent bankers and business men of Western Kansas. His extensive business relations make him in fact well known in both this state and Oklahoma. While he is not a native of Kansas, he belongs to one of the earliest Kansas families and his people were identified with this region when it was still a part of the great unorganized district west of the Mississippi, inhabited by no white men except those who were doing missionary work among the Indians or pursuing those gainful occupations that are peculiar to a wilderness territory.
A special place of honor among Kansas pioneers is due his grandfather, the late Rev. Jerome C. Berryman. He was born in Hartford County, Kentucky, in 1810. Early in life he entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, being ordained at the age of seventeen. He had been in the service of the ministry more than eighty years when he died. In the early '30s, perhaps as early as 1833, he was sent to look after the Kansas missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He had charge of the missions among the Kickapoos, the Shawnees, the Kaws and perhaps the Delaware Indians. He built the old stone manual training building at Shawnee which is still standing. On the map of the Shawnee mission grounds in Johnson County, as published in the historical portion of this work, direct credit is given him for the construction of one of the buildings there represented. He left the Kansas mission field in 1844 and returned to Southeastern Missouri, where he established the Arcadia High School or college, under the supervision of the Methodist Conference. He was in charge and control of the school until a few years after the war, and then resumed the active work of the ministry. He did not actually give up his labors until a few years before his death, which occurred in 1907, at the venerable age of ninety-seven. Rev. Jerome Berryman was twice married. His children were by his first wife, Sarah Cessna. They were: Dr. Gerard Q.; Mrs. Emily G. Russell, of Sykestown, Missouri; John W. Berryman, of Peoria, Illinois; and Mrs. Elizabeth Barrow, who died in Dallas, Texas.
The second generation of the family is represented by Dr. Gerard Q. Berryman, who was born at the old Kickapoo Mission in Kansas September 22, 1835, a date which easily places him among the oldest native sons of what is now the State of Kansas. He was educated in the Methodist School established by his father at Arcadia, Missouri, graduated there, and afterward took up the study of medicine and graduated from the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery. He spent his active life as a physician and practiced both at Arcadia, Missouri, and in Elk City, Kansas. His return to Kansas was in 1888, and he lived at Elk City until his death in 1895, having died twelve years before his father. During the war he was in the Confederate army in Price's troops and in Jeff Thomas' division. Nearly all his service was in the State of Missouri. He took little part in politics, though he was a man of convictions and voted the democratic ticket. He was a member of the Southern Methodist Church and was a Mason.
Dr. Berryman married Minerva Woods, a sister of Dr. W. S. Woods, the noted Kansas City financier and banker, and a daughter of James Harris and Martha J. (Stone) Woods. The present Ashland banker is a descendant of Revolutionary soldiers through three lines, the Berrymans, the Woods and the Stones. Mrs. Minerva Berryman was born at Paris, Monroe County, Missouri, and died in 1892, at the age of forty-eight. She was educated in the Christian College at Columbia, Missouri, and was a successful teacher in Monroe County and also in a denominational school at Caledonia, Missouri. Doctor Berryman and wife had the following children: Jerome W.; William S., of Fredonia, Kansas; Mrs. W. M. Price, of Emporia; and Mrs. W. L. Roberts, of Coldwater, Kansas.
Jerome W. Berryman was born at Arcadia, Iron County, Missouri, March 12, 1870. His boyhood and youth were spent there, and he had a public school education. It was a country town in which he grew up, and his father, though a physician, owned a small farm near by, on which the son was trained to the practical essentials of agriculture. It was only with this knowledge and experience that he started life for himself. At the age of seventeen he came to Kansas and began working in the capacity of a "chore boy" in the Elk City Bank. That was in June, 1887, and in the following November he was promoted to assistant cashier and in October, 1888, when only eighteen, became cashier and practically had the control and management of the institution until 1892. In that year he moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, becoming vice president of the old Citizens National Bank.
His first active connections with Oklahoma began in the fall of 1893, at the opening of the Cherokee Strip. He established the Bank of Pond Creek at the town of that name and became its president, and he remained there until January, 1897. He then resumed the active management of his old bank at Elk City, and was there until September, 1899, when he bought the controlling interest in the Stock Growers National Bank of Ashland, and has since had his home in Clark County.
The Stock Growers National Bank of Ashland was established in 1884 by George Thies, Jr., of Columbus, Kansas. Its record is a remarkable one among the banks of Western Kansas and is the only institution in this part of the state that has had a continuous operation for over thirty years and has been unaffected by financial storms. After a few months it was made a national bank under the name First National Bank, with Mr. Thies as cashier and leading spirit in its management. About 1893 it was reorganized, surrendering its national charter and taking the name Farmers and Stock Growers Bank. In June, 1900, it was again nationalized as the Stock Growers National Bank, with Mr. Berryman as president and Mrs. Berryman as vice president. D. C. Rhodes is cashier and Virgil W. Hill, assistant cashier. The bank has a capital stock of $50,000 and surplus of similar amount.
Mr. Berryman has had much to do with the promotion and success of the Chandler system of banks in Kansas and Oklahoma, and the Ashland Bank is part of that system. He has organized and operated at different times about a hundred banks in Kansas. Mr. Berryman owns the Home Lumber Company of Ashland, which was established in 1905 and which operates about twenty yards in Southwestern Kansas and Northwestern Oklahoma. He is vice president and a director of the Aetna Building & Loan Association of Topeka, the largest general building and loan association in the United States. With Mr. Chandler he organized and built the Red Star Mills at Wichita. He also owns and has developed a stock ranch in Ellis County, Oklahoma.
As a citizen of the community where he has lived Mr. Berryman has participated in public matters from local community offices to that of representative in the Kansas Legislature from Clark County. He was elected in 1905 and served two terms. During the first session under Speaker Stubbs he was put on the committees on railroads, live stock, insurance, banking, municipal affairs. His chief interest was in live stock and railroad legislation. Among the several bills he introduced and brought to passage, one is the present Trust Company Law of Kansas. He was a harmonious factor in the republican organization and worked enthusiastically for the program of legislation set out. He supported Charles Curtis for United States senator. In the following session under Speaker John Simmons he was given practically the same committee assignments except the railroad committee. He impressed his experience on the general work of the session and was author of a bill which passed the House providing for the election of one half the state senators every two years. The Senate refused concurrence with this measure.
As already noted, Mr. Berryman grew up in a home of democratic influence. He himself began voting as a democrat, casting his first ballot for Grover Cleveland in 1892. But in 1896 he supported Major McKinley for president and has been with the republican organization ever since. He has attended some of the big party conventions of recent years. He was a spectator in the St. Louis convention of 1904 when Judge Parker was nominated by the democrats, and was also at the Denver convention in 1908 when Bryan was last nominated.
Mr. Berryman was made a Mason at Elk City, Kansas, in 1891, and has taken practically all the degrees and orders in the York and Scottish Rites. He is a member of the Wichita Consistory and the Midian Temple of the Mystic Shrine, and is a past master of his lodge. He was reared a Methodist, but is now a member of the Presbyterian Church at Ashland. He was one of the workers in the local church for the conduct of the Rayburn revival meetings at Ashland in 1917, one of the greatest revival successes recorded in Kansas. Mr. Berryman is a member of the Kansas Historical Society.
At Cortland, Nebraska, June 8, 1898, he married Miss Annette McNickle, daughter of Albert B. and Rhoda (Balderson) McNickle. Her father was a native of Pennsylvania, went to Illinois and enlisted from that state as a soldier in the Union army, and was throughout the war. Later he moved West, lived for a time in Missouri, was a farmer in Gage County, Nebraska, was a postmaster of Cortland, and represented that district in the State Legislature. Some years ago he moved to Ashland, Kansas, and has served as probate judge of Clark County and is now a justice of the peace. Judge and Mrs. McNickle have the following children: Mrs. Mary L. Trekell, of Denver; Mrs. Berryman, who was born at Marshfield, Missouri, October 12, 1871; George W., of Ashland; and Mrs. Edith Lucke, of Omaha, Nebraska.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Berryman are Dorothy, Jerome C., James W., Virginia Minerva and George Albert. Dorothy is now a member of the class of 1918 in Bethany College at Topeka.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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