Family Photo

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

 My Family Photo 
The object I chose is a picture of my great-great-great grandfather, William H. Berry. It’s a copy my grandfather gave my mother, who had it framed and we now hang it on the wall. What we know about the picture is that it is a meeting of Indian chiefs and Indian agents sometime around 1870. 

I chose it because it is an interesting part of my family’s history, and I wanted to know more about it. The only heritage I knew much about was my father’s Irish heritage, and I was surprised to find that I had ancestors in the pioneering days of the American West on my mother’s side. My ancestor W.H. Berry was an Indian agent for the Ute Tribe. An Indian agent was a go-between for the American Government and Indian tribes. Berry did things like translate for the Indians and helped reach agreements with the U.S. Government and the tribe. 

A question for my ancestor, if I could ask it, would be: Did you help Indian tribes, or were you harmful to them? And we don’t really know what was going on in the meeting that is pictured; one individual is labeled Otto Mears, a famous road and railway constructor during this time. Perhaps he wanted to build a railroad through Indian territory? I would like to know from Berry, and more about what life was like at this time. 

Place(s): Ireland

– T

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant