Berry, Coleman ancestors honored

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 17, 2010

Members of the Berry-Coleman family made a donation to the East Three Notch Museum in honor of their families. | Courtesy photo

The weekend of July 4, 2010, the Berry and Coleman descendents of Covington County united for their 50th anniversary family reunion.

In honor of their ancestors, descendents of William Lord Berry and Hattie Coleman and of Elias Coleman Sr. and Mollie Walker made a special presentation to Andalusia’s Three Notch Museum.

On Sat., July 3, and led by Dr. Earnest Berry II of Fishers, Ind., Ann Berry Walker of Cleveland, Ohio, and Edith Coleman Bush of West Palm Beach, Fla., family members held a brief, but solemn, ceremony of song, recital and reflection. The family presented the museum with two collages – one depicting the descending line of William Lord Berry and Hattie Coleman and the other the descending line of Elias Coleman Sr. and Mollie Walker. Family members spoke of the family’s contributions to the Andalusia community and of the desire to honor their forbearers.

William Lord Berry was educated at Tuskegee State Normal School (now Tuskegee University) in the 1880s and taught at Shady Grove School, one of the earliest schools for blacks in Covington County. While teaching at Shady Grove, located near Heath on what is now U.S. Hwy, 29, William met Hattie Coleman as a pupil. They married and had a family of six boys and six girls. Hattie’s father, Elias Coleman Sr. was an early homesteader, a preacher and founder of Andalusia’s St. Peter Baptist Church.

The family made their presentation to recognize these and other contributions that helped make Andalusia the outstanding place to live that it is today.

Participating family members included Dr. Earnest Berry II, his wife Lola; son, William, daughter-in-law, Angela, and granddaughters, Layla and Briana of Fishers, Ind.; Ann Berry Walker of Cleveland, Ohio; Fredrick Berry of McKinney, Texas; Yvonne Berry Dorsey of Andalusia; Jacquelyn Berry Moore of Dothan; Lester Purvis of Rivera Beach, Fla.; Phaedra Brooks of Stone Mountain, Ga.; Edith Coleman Bush and daughter, LaVette Robinson, of West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Pauline Coleman Spears and daughter, Stephanie Thackerd of Detroit, Mich.