ST. JOHN, N.B., NOVEMBER 5, 1900


Dr. John Berryman.
After days of anxiety and of hope against hope on the part of his relatives and friends, Dr. John Berryman died at 1.30 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Vigorous and strong he had passed through a long life finally to succumb to a very brief illness. For three or four days in the latter half of October he was ill, but there was nothing in his condition to cause alarm until cerebral meningitis set in. He rapidly became seriously ill and, on Thursday, October 25, physicians in consultation felt that no hope for his recovery could be held out. On Monday last, however, he was improved very much, feeling so much better, in fact, that he took interest in the evening paper, and at 10 o'clock that night was able to see some friends, and was doing well. An hour later he suffered a paralytic stroke and almost immediately sank into insensibility from which he never recovered, his state of coma becoming even more profound at the last.

Dr. Berryman, in passing from this life leaves behind the record of ambitions attained, of a life's work well done, and of many and many a one the better for having known him. He was 72 years of age, being born in St. John on December 9th, 1828, the second child of the late John Berryman. On his mother's side he was of Loyalist descent. His early education was received at the Grammar school here, and he soon showed that the decided trend of his wishes was to enter the medical profession in which he was to become so well known and valued a member. Before taking up his studies, however, he joined with other young men of his day, in a voyage to Australia, where the gold fever was then at its height. They bought a vessel and started their expedition arriving safely. They sold the vessel on arrival, and then proceeded to the gold fields and met with success. Mr. John McLeod, M.P.P., for St. John county, was one of the party and is now probably the only survivor. It was in 1852 they had gone out and a few years later Dr. Berryman returned and at once took up the study of medicine in this city and then went to Scotland where he completed his course at the University of Edinboro (sic). In that great institution he assisted in the professional labors of Prof. Sir James Y. Simpson, the noted discoverer of chloroform, and was a resident of his house for two years. The young doctor, who early showed promise of the ability and skill which marked his professional career, and availed himself of the opportunities afforded for practical experience in the city and university. A wide field for the use of his knowledge and skill was opened when the civil war in the United States broke out in 1861. On the advice of Prof. Sir James Simpson, who recognised his work, he tendered his services to the United States government and they were accepted. He was appointed to the charge of the hospital in West Philadelphia in which were 600 beds. Dr. Berryman was appointed by Surgeon-General Hammond to be a member of the examining board in connection with such noted men as Profs. Stillie, DeCosta, Weir, Mitchell and Gross, of Philadelphia, and Dr. Smith, an army surgeon, to decide as to the disposition of 3,000 soldiers in the hospitals. Through the course of the war he had opportunity for ample experience and for perfecting himself in surgical work. At the close of the war he came back to St. John and began practice of his profession, and his early experiences were of inestimable value to him. He worked up a very large and lucrative practice, for the demands for an army doctor were great. Dr. Berryman took an active interest in the volunteer movement, and served as surgeon of the garrison artillery here from April 18, 1864 until September, 1875. He was also surgeon of police from 1863 to 1875. These appointments and his large city practice did not prevent him from being called many times to attend several cases in outside parts of this province, and in Nova Scotia. He particularly was a specialist in female diseases and met with great success. It was he who performed, for the first time in Canada, the operation of removing a large ovarian tumor and he repeated the operation many times afterwards. Dr. Berryman, had he so chosen, might have had a large practice in Edinboro, Scotland, for such was offered him by Prof. Sir James Y. Simpson.

The success which he made for himself in his profession also was his as a public man. He was always a staunch Liberal in politics and when he offered for the House of Assembly in 1886, he was returned, with Mr. J.V. Ellis, by a large majority over the present Judge McLeod and Dr. R.F. Quigley. Dr. Berryman has been for years, and was at the time of his death, one of the commissioners of the General Public Hospital. In 1850 he joined the Masonic order, becoming a member of the Hibernia Lodge. He was president of the New Brunswick Poultry Association and an active member.

Dr. Berryman was twice married. On march 16, 1864, he married Mary A., daughter of Mr. George Sinclair Brodie, of London, Eng. About ten years ago he married Mrs. Charlotte Massie, of Virginia, who survives him. He also leaves four children, born of his first wife. They are Dr. Alexander Berryman, now a veterinary in New York; Mrs. Perry, now resident in London, England; Mr. George Berryman, who is in charge of a department in a ship brokers' firm in London, Eng., and Mr. Lorimer G. Berryman, of this city, in the I.C.R. employ.

Four of his brothers and three sisters survive of a family of 13 and in which there were three doctors. The brothers are Dr. Daniel E. Berryman, of this city; Messrs. C.J. and H.B. Berryman, of Central America; and Mr. F.M. Berryman, of San Francisco. His sisters are Mrs. G. Prescott and Miss Berryman, of St. John, and Mrs. (Dr.) G.S. Reed, of Boston. Dr. Berryman was an adherent of the Baptist church and worshipped with the Germain street congregation.

During his illness there had been many inquiries as to his progress, and sorrow was general when the news came from his sick room that there were no hopes for his recovery. He was a man whom to know was to respect and one whose friendship was warm and practical. No better citizen did St. John claim and the city, in his death, meets with a loss which is exceeded only by that of his family. His funeral will be held at 2.30 o'clock Tuesday afternoon.

Additional information extracted from Obituaries published in other St. John newspapers.


........ Dr. Berryman was of Irish extraction. His father, John Berryman, a native of Antrim, emigrated to St. John and married Miss Wade, a lady of Loyalist parentage. Dr. Berryman was born in St. John 7th December, 1828, and received his early education in the Germain street school of this city. After leaving school he began life as a clerk in a St. John flour store, then in a hardware shop, and for half a year in a flour mill owned by his father. In 1848 he visited several of the West India Islands. In 1849 he built a steam mill in St. John for grinding corn and ran it until the fall of 1851, when he sold out and left for the Cape of Good Hope, and subsequently Australia , where he resided for five years, and carried on business as a miner, merchant, truckman, builder and carpenter. Having early manifested a strong bent for the profession of medicine, after his return from Australia he entered upon a course of studies, first in St. John and afterwards at the University of Edinburgh ........

ST. JOHN GLOBE - NOV. 5, 1900
........ After several years of study in the St. John grammar school young Berryman engaged in various business pursuits for a short period, and he visited several parts of the globe in a spirit of adventure. Then with several others he decided to seek fortune in Australia, where gold was being discovered in great quantities. In a few years he returned to St. John, having met with success in Australia ........

Original obituary photocopies courtesy of
Lucy Jardine at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.
Transcripts by Allan J. Tompkins - May, 2004