Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
Peter Berriman is now living a retired life and his rest is well merited, for through many years he was an active factor in business circles, devoting his energy untiringly to the control of his business interests and to the acquirement of a competence along lines of honorable trade. Mr. Berriman was born in Yorkshire, England, September 24, 1825, his parents being John and Jane (Brigham) Berriman, both of whom were native of the same country. There the father learned the trade of a machinist and for a long period was engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements. In 1848, however, he sailed for the United States, landing in New York city, whence he came to Illinois, taking up is abode in Sangamon county, but he and his wife afterward went to Christian county.
Peter Berriman was twenty-two years of age when the family came to the new world and at the time of his parents' removal to Christian county he remained in Springfield, entering the employ of Samuel Grubb, a bridge builder, for whom he worked for six months. He then associated himself with J. C. Lamb, engaged in the manufacture of plows, corn planters, and other agricultural implements. This enterprise proved a profitable and growing one and furnished employment to a large force of workmen. Later, Mr. Berriman was employed by the Chicago & Alton Railroad Company at Alton, Illinois, in the wood department of the car shops for nine months, but on the expiration of that period he returned to Springfield and entered the service of the Wabash Railroad Company in the car building department.
In 1856 he embarked in business as a foundry-man, becoming a member of the firm of Booth, King & Company, owners and operators of the Excelsior Foundry. A year later a change in the firm occurred and the style of Booth & Berriman was assumed, this relation being maintained for time, when Mr. Berriman purchased his partner's interest and a new relationship was formed, the firm of Berriman & Rippon continuing in business for twenty-one years. They made their foundry one of the leading and substantial industrial concerns of the city and a liberal patronage was accorded them in recognition of capable workmanship and because of the durability of their output. At length the business was closed out, at which time Mr. Berriman began the manufacture of steam engines, boilers, columns, and pilasters, and he also built a number of sugar and sorghum mills during the period of the Civil war. In 1878 he sold out his business to W. Childs and retired. Close application, unfailing energy and a thorough understanding of the mechanical principles upon which his business rested enabled him to capably control his enterprises with the result that they retuned to him a good income.
In 1880 Mr. Berriman became superintendent of the Springfield waterworks and through many years was found a capable officer, holding the position until 1897. During that time he suggested and introduced several improvements, which have been of marked benefit to the people. He studied the system of waterworks with the same thoroughness that he had manifested in his private business and when he saw that improvements were needed he labored earnestly for their adoption. In 1897, however, he was removed for political reasons and since that time has lived retired. In politics he is a Democrat and for four years he served as a member of the city council, representing the fourth ward.
In 1852 Mr. Berriman was united in marriage to Miss Adeline Hutchings, who was born in Coburg, Canada, and died in Springfield in 1889. They had six children: Thomas F.; John; George R.; Peter B.; Adeline, the wife of William McConnell, a broker; and Celia, the wife of Henry Shore, of Marshalltown, Iowa. The family resides at No. 509 South Ninth street and there, at the age of seventy-seven years Mr. Berriman is living a retired life. He is well preserved for one of his age and yet he maintains a deep interest in everything pertaining to this city, which has so long been his home. In matters affecting the general welfare he has been found as an earnest helper and he enjoys the high regard and friendship of many with whom he has been brought in contact.