Bridging Generations

Ancestors and descendents of Joyce Verla Pratt and Mark Richard Berrett

Archive for the category “thomas francis berrett”

My Aunt Doris

Doris Berrett

Doris Berrett Wright 1922 – 2019

My Aunt Doris died January 30, 2019.  She was the sibling next to my dad in family order and was four years older than he was.  With her death, Dad is now the last of Tom and Hattie Berrett’s children still alive.  Theirs was a large and spread out family with the first child born in 1903 and the 8th (my Dad) born in 1926.

mark and doris berrett

Mark and Doris Berrett – about 1929/30

Doris Berrett - 1945

1945 – “To Mark Richard — Love, your Sis”

Doris on mission 1946

Doris as a missionary in 1946

Aunt Doris’ death has left me with a feeling of loss that I didn’t expect.  She and I didn’t spend a lot of time together, and in my adult years our interactions were limited to family reunions or visits with my dad to her apartment in a senior residence facility.  As I’ve thought about these feelings, I’ve realized that my sadness comes because Aunt Doris was my last living link to generations of strong Brown/Berrett women.   I never really knew my Grandma Berrett who died when I was only 10, and the generations before her I am acquainted with only through old pictures and written histories they left behind.  Aunt Doris was living proof of the strength, faithfulness and love that my ancestral grandmothers shared.  And I loved her for that!

Mark, Myrtle, Maurice, Doris, 1989

Berrett Siblings, 1989 – Maurice, Myrtle, Doris, Mark

It’s humbling to realize that with Aunt Doris’ passing, I have become one of the current generation of strong Brown/Berrett women.
I hope I can make them proud.



Picturing a successful marriage

Berrett, Harriet & Thomas wedding

Hattie and Tom Berrett – 7 May 1902

For as long as I can remember, I have loved this photograph of my paternal grandparents, Harriet Lydia Brown and Thomas Francis Berrett, on their wedding day.  The original, on display in my dad’s living room, is a round, metal picture, and I’ve always called it a tintype, having no idea if it really is.

Hattie was 18 years old and Tom was 20 when they were married on 7 May 1902 in the LDS temple in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They didn’t travel any distance away for a honeymoon, but quietly settled into the important business of homemaking and farming on part of his father’s farm.  The Berretts had 8 children, 7 of whom lived to be adults, and they had been married 55 years when Tom passed away in 1957.

I love the way Grandma Berrett is sitting, leaning towards her adored husband.  She looks confident, calm, and at the same time, just a little bit spirited.  I only knew my grandmother as an older lady – serious, proper and reserved.  But this picture reminds me that she was once young and in love and probably bubbling with personality.  Her dress and head piece are beautifully simple, and I’m assuming she and/or her mother made her ensemble.  I love to think about her picking out the fabric and trim to make the perfect dress for her special day.

Remember that creating a successful marriage is like farming:
you have to start over again every morning.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Weekly Family History Calendar


This week in our family history we can celebrate two birthdays.

20 February 1767 – Robert Comfort:  my fourth great-grandfather through my mother’s line was born in Ulster, New York.  That’s 219 years ago!  He was 8 years old when the Revolutionary War started.

The pedigree:
Joyce Pratt Berrett -> Madalene Roberts Pratt -> Ezra Nahum Roberts ->
Annie Elizabeth Slingerland Roberts -> Nancy Comfort Slingerland -> Robert Comfort

 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

20 February 1834 – F. Edward Toone:  my second great grandfather through my dad’s line was born in 1834 in South Molton, Devenshire, England.  He was born 183 years ago.


F. Edward Toone – undated photo

The pedigree:
Mark Richard Berrett -> Thomas Francis Berrett ->
Annie Elizabeth Toone  -> F. Edward Toone 

Weekly Family History Calendar

I’m going to try a new weekly feature that I saw on another family history blog.  Each week I’ll post a calendar of births and marriages in our family history, and I’ll try to include a little information about those individuals.


February 14, 1878 – My great-grandparents through my father’s paternal line, Annie Elizabeth Toone and Richard Thomas Berrett were married on Valentine’s Day, 139 years ago.


Richard Thomas Berrett and Annie Elizabeth on their wedding day, 1878


February 18, 1820 – My 3rd great-grandfather through my mother’s maternal line, Taylor Buker was born in Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada.  I have no pictures and very little information about him, but I’ll keep searching!

Let’s celebrate!

All my Children

We were introduced to Tom and Harriet Berrett’s family in this post about their homes, so now it’s time to get acquainted with their 8 children, of whom my dad is the youngest.  The oldest son, Don, was born in 1903 and the youngest, my father Mark, was born in 1926, so a huge age spread exists in those siblings.

  • Donald Thomas –  17 January 1903 – 8 November 1986
  • Lee Brown – 2 December 1904 – 17  January 1905
  • Norma Ione – 5 March 1906 – 16 May 1985
  • Grant Edward – 4 October 1909 – 9 October 1973
  • Maurice Allen – 29 January 1912 – 5 August 2003
  • Myrtle Harriet – 31 October 1916 – 12 July 2012
  • Doris – 27 August 1922 –
  • Mark Richard – 22 March 1926 –

Enjoy these pictures taken through the years.

Berrett Family 1908

about 1908 – children Don and Norma

Berrett Family abt 1912

1912 – Norma holding Maurice, Don standing, Grant sitting

Tom & Harriet Berrett 1918

about 1918

back (L to R):  Don, Harriet, Tom, Norma
front(L to R):  Maurice, Myrtle, Grant

Berrett family 1929

about 1928

back (L to R):  Grant, Norma, Maurice, Myrtle, Don
front(L to R): Mark, Harriet, Tom, Doris

mark and doris berrett

Mark and Doris – about 1930

Have you taken a family picture lately?

. . . a good provider and a good neighbor

thomas francis berrett

Thomas Francis Berrett about 1920

Just as I posted about Grandma Berrett on her birthday a couple days ago, in honor of Grandpa Berrett’s 134th birthday I’m sharing an excerpt from his history.  I don’t know who wrote the history, but I’m assuming it was a family member.

“Tom was very particular in doing things on his farm or in his orchard exactly when they needed to be done.  He carefully studied the condition and needs of things and he had the reputation of knowing when, and how, the different things on the farm, or in the orchard, needed taking care of in order to obtain the best results.  His judgment and opinion concerning these things and matters pertaining to agriculture was very highly respected in the community.  He was not afraid of working long hours – that is from daylight until dark or after – during the planting, the irrigating or harvesting seasons, and he did it;  his accumulated wisdom taught him that it was necessary.  From his good management and hard work, together with the assistance of his wife and children, he obtained a nice home and comfortable living for his family.  He was a good firm disciplinarian and taught all of his children to mind without dilly-dallying.  He was a good provider and a good neighbor.”

It sounds like Tom and Hattie were perfectly suited to each other!  And I can also see that my dad inherited many of his good qualities from his parents.


Memories of Father

Tom and Harriet Berrett had eight children, seven of whom lived to adulthood.  Some years ago Aunt Myrtle compiled memories of their father from all of the children.

Don – My Father, Thomas F. Berrett was not a big man.  I think the most he ever weighed was 160 pounds.  But he was really wiry, had lots of endurance and was real fast with his hands.  He was real versatile; he could do about anything, from shoeing horses to cutting hair.

Don – As a boy I can remember a lot of children in the neighborhood would come for a haircut, and he also cut hair for many grownups.  Dad was real fussy and seemed to have the knack.  He tried to show me how, and as I got older I did some hair cutting myself.  When I went on a mission I took barber tools with me, and I used them a lot.

Tom Berrett's tomato fields

Tom Berrett’s tomato fields

Don, Grant, Maurice, Mark – Father used to have a real good hot bed and raised his own tomato plants.  He was known throughout the town and the county for his good tomatoes, fruit, and carrots and parsnips.  The family, as well as the workers at harvest, had no doubt about Dad’s policy and practice when he was selling produce.  The product had to be good quality or he would not sell it, and the measure had to be liberal.  We had a lot of people come to the place to buy tomatoes and fruit.  Dad told us to always make sure the basket or box was full and well rounded and be certain that there was no bad produce in the container.

Old North Ogden Church torn down in the 1960s

Old North Ogden Church
torn down in the 1960s

Don & Norma – Dad promised to help in building an annex on the old church.  Every morning Don would take the horse “Sus” up to the church and ride her all day pulling brick and mortar from the ground up to the bricklayers.  This was a big building, so the work went on for some time.  Father was always willing to do his part and more on projects for the Church.  He was not outgoing and forward, but there was always a place where he could help in the background.  He always tried to help support the Church in every way possible.  For years he was on the ward finance committee, because of his good judgment.  A short time before he passed away, he walked through the field to the Bishop’s office to settle his tithing.

Myrtle – In spite of his limited schooling, he was good at Arithmetic.  He could look at my Arithmetic problems and give me the answer, but oft times he could not work them according to the way we were learning in school.


What will your children remember about you?

What happened in 1882?

Historical events for the year 1882:

Jan 17th – 1st Dutch female physician Aletta Jacobs opens office

Feb 3rd – Circus owner PT Barnum buys his world famous elephant Jumbo

Mar 9th – False teeth patented

Mar 22nd – Edmunds Act adopted by the US to suppress polygamy, 1300 men later imprisoned under the act

Mar 25th – 1st demonstration of pancake making (Dept store in New York City)

Apr 3rd – Wood block alarm invented; when alarm rang, it dropped 20 wood blocks

Apr 13thThomas Francis Berrett is born in Salt Lake City, Utah

May 6th – Chinese Exclusion Act: US Congress ceases Chinese immigration

Jun 5th – Storm & floods hits Bombay; about 100,000 die

Jun 6th – Electric iron patented by Henry W Seely, New York City

Jun 16th – 17″ hailstones weighing 1.75 lbs fall in Dubuque Iowa

Jul 4th – Telegraph Hill Observatory opens in San Francisco

Aug 3rd – Congress passes 1st law restricting immigration

Aug 7th – Hatfields of south West Virginia & McCoys of east Kentucky feud, 100 wounded or die

Sep 4th – 1st district lit by electricity (New York’s Pearl Street Station)

Oct 6th – 1st World Series game, Cincinnati (AA) beats Chicago (NL) 4-0

Nov 15th – British HMS Flirt destroys village of Asaba Niger

Dec 22nd – 1st string of Christmas tree lights created by Thomas Edison

Thomas Francis Berrett circa 1952

Thomas Francis Berrett
circa 1952

Happy 132th Birthday,

Grandpa Berrett!


Down Berrett Lane

Mark Berrett in his childhood surroundings Berrett Lane  - (600 East), North Ogden, Utah

Mark Berrett in his childhood surroundings
Berrett Lane – (600 East), North Ogden, Utah

I don’t have any idea how many people can lay claim to a street that bears the family name, but the Berretts of North Ogden, Utah belong to that select group.  In 1855, Richard Thomas Berrett (Thomas’ father) and his brother Robert moved from Salt Lake City (where they had settled upon arrival from England in 1849) to North Ogden and were among the early pioneers and settlers of that community. As their families grew and other relatives moved to the area, the dusty lane that ran in front of those Berrett family homes became known as Berrett Lane.

So it’s not too surprising to know that newlyweds Tom and Hattie Berrett built their first home “down Berrett Lane.”  That starter home was a one-room frame house, comfortable but very modest.  Linoleum covered the floor of the entire room, which was the entire house!  Because of lack of money and space, their furnishings were not extravagant or showy.  They purchased a new three piece bedroom set for $30, and then completed their home decorating with a few pieces of used furniture, perhaps passed along from parents or relatives.  Harriet did the cooking on an Early Breakfast coal cook stove which had a small reservoir on the back, which probably gave them the luxury of hot water.  The stove filled two needs – cooking and heating the house.  They were happy in this little home and looked forward to the time when they would be able to build an addition to increase the size.

Tom and Harriet's first home  (picture taken about 1950)

Tom and Harriet’s first home
(picture taken about 1950)

The family started to grow with the birth of their first son (Don) in 1903, and during the next two years the young couple was able to add another room to the home.  The next 7-8 years brought the births of 4 more children (Lee – who died as an infant, Norma Grant, Maurice), and during this time Tom and Hattie added two more regular rooms, as well as a pantry and a front porch to their home.  They both believed in staying out of debt, and as a result only built on as they had the cash to do so.  (Side note: this is the same little house where my parents, Mark and Joyce Berrett, began their married life in 1950.)

Not long after this, Tom purchased his father’s farm and orchard and wanted to move closer to the barn and other outbuildings.  Tom’s brother, Orson, had a nice brick home adjoining their father’s farm, and as he had recently purchased some land with plans to build a new house, he happily sold the brick house to Tom and Harriet.  They lived in this house about 10 years, and added their last three children to the family (Myrtle, Doris, Mark).

Brick home adjacent to farm picture taken 2010

Brick home adjacent to farm
picture taken 2010

My siblings and I remember this home as belonging to Louise (daughter of Don Berrett, granddaughter of Tom & Harriet)  and Lee Daniels.   I don’t know when they bought it, but I can remember Louise telling me she had lived in it just about all of her adult life.  I have great memories of spending the night with my cousin Gwen in her room on the second floor of this house.  A few years ago when Louise moved into an assisted living facility, she sold this home, and for the first time since it was built (probably in the early 1900s) it is not occupied by a member of the Berrett family.

Sometime after 1926, Tom and Hattie traded homes with Tom’s sister and brother-in-law, Emily and John Blaylock.  Emily and John had built a one and a half story brick home down Berrett Lane just next door to Tom and Hattie’s first home.  The two couples worked out a deal, and Tom and Hattie moved their family into the larger brick home.  Tom built a barn and other farm buildings nearby and they enjoyed living so close to their irrigated farm land

Brick home in 1947

Brick home in 1947

All of the children, except maybe Don, were living in this house at the time they were married.  As the children grew up, I’m sure it was the scene of lots of youthful get-togethers, both planned and impromptu.  This was the home where the daughters were courted, and the sons brought girlfriends to visit.  It was in this home that Mom and Dad had their wedding reception following their marriage in the Salt Lake Temple in 1950.

During the last few years of his life, Tom’s health failed rapidly, and he was no longer to work and run the farm as he used to.  In the spring of 1953, Tom and Harriet sold their farm and the brick home where they had lived for 27 years to their oldest son, Don.  In August of that same year, they moved into their newly built, smaller brick home just north of the house they sold to Don.  All of their children, except for Grant, were married, so this small and compact home fit their needs very well, and they lived her comfortably until their deaths.

Tom and Harriet's last home on Berrett Lane

Tom and Harriet’s last home on Berrett Lane

My limited memories of Grandma Berrett are connected to this home.  It was here that I watched her can fruit, make bread and crochet doilies.  It was in this house that I occasionally watched television on Uncle Grant’s big console model.  And it was here that I studied the picture of the children burying the dead rabbit while eating my lunch!

Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Young love – 1900’s style

Hattie and Tom Berrett 7 May 1902

Hattie and Tom Berrett
7 May 1902

Hattie was 18 years old and Tom was 20 when they were married on 7 May 1902 in the LDS temple in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They didn’t travel any distance away for a honeymoon, but quietly settled into the important business of homemaking and farming on part of his father’s farm.

Tom had a great knowledge of soil preparation, cultivation and irrigation and used that knowledge and experience to ensure an abundant harvest.   In addition to his farming, during the grain harvest he worked with a crew on the threshing machine.  Because his crew did grain harvest throughout the area, at times it was necessary for Tom to be away from home for a week at a time.  When the harvest required Tom to be gone, Harriet handled all the chores, milked their cows, fed the pigs and looked after the chickens, in addition to keeping up with their garden.

I suppose that during those weeks when Tom was traveling, the days must have seemed long and tedious to the young bride.  Harriet’s brother recorded that when the threshing crew was working in North Ogden, Harriet liked to watch the crew move through the fields around her home. I can picture her watching from a respectable distance, careful to not be in the way, but anxious and excited to see her new husband working so competently alongside older men.  And I love to imagine her giggling and flirting, just a little bit, if he happened to glance her way.

Young love crosses all generations!





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