Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Samuel One-Armed Berry

Among the hundreds of Civil War soldiers interred at the Albany Rural Cemetery are the remains of three Confederates, including Private Abasalom Bainbridge, one of the men who encountered John Wilkes Booth on the night before Lincoln's assassin was himself killed at Garrett's farm.

The headstone of Samuel O. Berry stands alone in an open meadow on the North Ridge, giving no hint of his violent history.

A schoolteacher and ordained minister from Kentucky, he served in the Confederate Army with Company G of the 6th Kentucky Calvary.

Following the death of his commanding officer, General John Hunt Morgan, Berry joined Henry Magruder's guerilla band in attacks on Union troops and supplies. It isn't clear whether he lost an arm in battle or in these raids, but he had become known as "One-Armed" Berry.

He soon allied himself with Marcellus Jerome Clark, a fellow Kentucky soldier who gained notoriety for dressing as a woman and using the alias Sue Mundy.

Together, Samuel “One-Armed” Berry and Sue Mundy took part in a series of bloody crimes across Kentucky as a member of a band that, at times, included Frank James, Bill Marion, Jim Davis, James Younger, and William Quantrill. The brutal spree included the gunpoint robbery of survivors after a train derailment, pistol-whipping the clerk of a drugstore during a robbery, the killing of a hostage during a bank robbery, and the murder of innocent civilians during violent robberies.

After Sue Mundy was captured, tried and hanged in early 1865, One-Armed Berry continued his vicious attacks for several more months before his own capture. When he was brought to trial in 1866, he face twelve counts of murder, six counts of robbery, and two counts of rape. Convicted, he was originally sentenced to hang, but his sentence was commuted to ten years of hard labor at the Albany Penitentiary. The old Penitentiary stood just off modern-day Delaware Avenue near the present sites of the Stratton V.A. Hospital and Hackett Middle School.

Berry served seven and a half years of his sentence before dying of tuberculosis at the age of thirty-four.

2 comments:

  1. That's interesting that he made it out to Albany Rural. It appears that there was a cemetery just for the penitentiary, but so far I haven't found any records or proof, and I'm not 100% certain it was separate from the Almshouse cemetery.

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  2. That reminds me...I've either read or heard that there were some graves found at the penitentiary site itself around the time they built Hackett. But it was so long ago that I can't remember where I read that or who told me.

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