Berry, T ga.jpg
Induction Category & YearGeneral 1978
Home TownBelvidere, SD
BirthApril 23, 1879
Holt County, NE
Belvidere, SD

   Thomas Berry
Champion of Excellence

 Thomas Berry received the honor of the dedication of Tom Berry Memorial Hall in Belvidere, SD, in 1956. His portrait also hangs in the Capitol Building, unveiled on Aug 5, 1969.

In 1912, the news came that Mellette County in South Dakota was opened to homesteaders. This was the opportunity for which Tom Berry had been looking, a location with fine grass, shelter, and water to build a ranch. Tom and Lorena and their 4 children started for Melette County. Ahead of this cowboy, on the way to the ranch, were his herd of cattle and several broncs of his riding string. Behind him creaked a covered wagon drawn by 4 horses. On the wagon seat sat his young wife, with the children in the rear. They arrived at their destination April 28, 1913. <p>Tom Berry went into ranching with only a few head of cattle but built up his herds through the years and soon became one of South Dakota's most progressive ranchers. He took part in the reorganization of the Western South Dakota Stockgrowers Association and served on the executive committee from 1920-1940. His political career began in 1924 when he was elected to the state legislature from Mellette and Bennett counties and served 3 terms in the House of Representatives. <p>In 1932, when SD was in its darkest days of drought and depression, Tom Berry was elected governor of South Dakota by a large majority on the democratic ticket. He inherited the governorship when the state was bankrupt and its credit in jeopardy. Tom was firm in taking action to avert default and called a special session to enact laws which enabled the state to secure a federal loan and restore the states credit. His idea of a good relief project was stock dams, which still pays dividends today.

Home Town (Belvidere, SD)
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