Josiah BERRY was born ca. 1712 at Kittery, the son of George and Deliverance (Haley) Berry. George and Deliverance were supposedly married at Hampton, N.H. on 1 January 1702 [Sanborn & Sanborn, Vital Records of Hampton, N.H. to the End of the Year 1900, I:57 as "George Berry and Deliverance Healey"]. George and Deliverance owned the covenant and were baptized at the first church of Kittery on 20 June 1719 [Parish Records of the First Church & Society of Kittery, Maine 1714-1791, reprinted at NEHGR 151 (1997), various pages, p. 223]. Their family appears in Stackpole's Old Families of Kittery, Maine. The births of their children do not appear in either church or town records. George is apparently alive up to the 1730s in various records, but leaves no probate papers.
Josiah was a caulker by trade. [A caulker literally caulked ships, and Kittery was a ship building town]. He married with intentions given on 20 December 1740 [Vital Records of Kittery, Maine To the Year 1892, ed. Joseph C. Anderson II and Lois Ware Thurston (Camden, Me.: Picton Press, 1991), hereinafter Kittery VRS, p. 103] to Mary HIDDEN, the daughter of John Hidden baptized 22 May 1720 at Kittery [NEHGR 151:224]. Josiah has six children baptized in Kittery between 1741 and 1763. There are no grantee deeds for Josiah at York County. He must be living at Kittery in the 1790 census, but his name is mis-indexed as Josiah Brier. We can establish that by triangulating his neighbors in the census with those in his only deed. He clearly describes his land as abutting Samuel Smallcorn and then Elihu Weeks. Those are the two preceding names to Josiah Brier in the census. The household of Josiah "Brier" consisted of two males over 16 and three females.
On 10 June 1791, Josiah, caulker of Kittery sold to William Berry, mariner of Kittery his land in Kittery for life support. No wife is mentioned (although she was alive). His lot in Kittery Point is clearly described and Josiah takes care to give the land to William and his heirs and no other of Josiah heirs. [York County Deeds 54:130--is this just legal boilerplate or proof that Josiah indeed had other heirs?]. This deed is recorded on 7 December 1791. Josiah died in December 1791 according to his probate papers [York County Probate #1070]. On 21 May 1792, Mary Berry, widow declines administration of the estate due to old age and infirmity. William Berry, mariner acts as administrator. The estate is valued at £17-1-7 and costs were evaluated conveniently enough at £17-1-7 including £5-14-10 to the widow on 16 September 1793. [John Eldridge Frost, Maine Probate Abstracts 1775-1800, Volume 2 (Camden, Me.: Picton Press, 1991), pp. 1021, 1054, although only page 1021 is indexed for Josiah. I also found his abstracts for this family poor and don't include the widow's name Mary or Josiah's death date, both of which are given in the original records. You see when a family flies under the radar, they seem to be maligned and done in for all eternity.]
The Berry family of N.H. was thoroughly researched by June Berry of Kearns, Utah in manuscript form available at the Family History Library and NEHGS (among other places). I already descend from this family and was aware of this work. She gives nothing more than I do (and quite frankly less--no deeds or probate).
Children of Josiah and Mary (Hidden) BERRY, all born in Kittery:
i. William, baptized 24 October 1741 as son of John (sic); dies before 1763. [NEHGR 151:359]
ii. Mary, bapt. 18 December 1743 [NEHGR 151:360] No further records unless she is one of the three females living in the household of her father in 1790.
iii. Deborah, bapt. 8 December 1745 [NEHGR 151:363]. The possible wife of Nathaniel Wallis of Greenland, Epsom and Moultonborough, N.H.
iv. John, bapt. 22 June 1755 [NEHGR 151:446]. No further records.
v. Josiah, bapt. 10 October 1756 [NEHGR 151:447]. No further records.
vi. William, bapt. 9 October 1763 [NEHGR 151:448]. Clearly the mariner of Kittery who administered his father's estate and gained his house lot in Kittery [York Deeds cited above]. He is likely the other man over 16 in his father's household in the 1790 census. He married at Kittery with intentions dated 21 September 1793, Elizabeth FERNALD, daughter of Tobias and Lucy (Lewis) Fernald. [Kittery VRs, p. 251]. William died at sea shortly before 30 May 1795 as the newspaper Oracle of the Day of that date printed the death of " Mr. William Berry, [mate] of Kittery." He left no probate papers. He left no deeds. It is unknown if he had children. His widow remarried with intentions dated 2 December 1797 ["Rolof Nelson & Betty Berry] Ralph NELSON. [Kittery VRs, p. 254]. She remarried a third time with intentions dated 24 November 1806 to Edmund S. WEEKS [Kittery VRs, p. 263]. No grantor deeds exist for Elizabeth/Betty/Betsey Berry/Nelson/Weeks at all. She supposedly outlived her last husband and died on 12 March 1842. If so, she left no will.
Following the land of Josiah is frustrating. He gave the land to his son William in 1791. William died in 1795. His widow would only be entitled to one-third of the land and only until she remarried which she did in 1797. Unless she had a child by William, the land would have reverted to the other children of Josiah Berry or their heirs. However, no land transactions seem to show this. As few as the records of this family appear to be, there are even fewer and worse records for the family of John Hidden of Kittery, the father of Mary.