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Jehu Berry


Date Party Office Votes Result
09-02-1857 Democratic SD-12 0 Win

Candidate Biography:

Born: 1826 in Ohio
Died: 1892

1852-1853: Assessor, Siskiyou County
1875: Inmate, Napa Asylum
1876: Inmate, Asylum for the Insane at Dayton [Ohio]
1878: Delegate, Second Constitutional Convention (Sacramento)
1881: Inmate, Napa Asylum

  • CONTROVERSY: During the 1879 Constitutional Convention, "William W. Moreland presented a resolution that addressed the "suggested" vacancy caused by the "insanity" of delegate Jehu Berry. Moreland moved that "on Friday the 25th day of October, 1878 at 11 o'clock A.M.," the convention "proceed to the election of some qualified person to fill said vacancy." On motion of WPC delegate Henry Larkin, the delegation tabled the resolution and did not attempt to fill the vacancy at any later date. On October 23, the minute clerk recorded that Berry, who had been absent since October 14, had been granted indefinite leave of absence "on account of sickness." Jehu Berry did not return for the remainder of the convention, and was not present at the signing of the constitution on March 3. Perhaps thinking Moreland's resolution in poor taste, and out of respect for Berry's privacy and illness, the convention did not fill his vacancy or address the issue further in the debates." [Source: "Inventory" by Pat Ooley; see below]
  • MENTAL ILLNESS: "He was originally an active Whig, but being elected to the State Senate over D. D. Colton he, during his term under John C. Burch became a convert to democracy and continued in that faith until he lost his senses. He is now an inmate of Napa lunatic asylum" (History of Siskiyou County by Harry Laurenz Wells)
    In 1876, the Ohio State Legislature passed a Joint Resolution "providing for the care of Jehu Berry, temporarily at the asylum for the insane at Dayton." The resolution noted that Berry, "a native born citizen of Ohio, but for some years past a citizen of California... while visiting his brothers in Wyandot county, has been taken with a mania that requires his confinement in order to secure his own and the public safety..." (Acts of the State of Ohio, 1876, Page 330)
    "Jehu Berry, the insane Constitutional Convention delegate, has been placed in the Napa Asylum." ("Coast Items", San Francisco Chronicle, 10/19/1878) He had previously been confined to the Stockton Asylum in 1875.
    "A man named Jehu Berry was brought to the Asylum fom San Francisco to-day. His case is thus alluded to by the Bay papers: The man who on Wednesday last plunged Into the bay while laboring under a fit of mental aberration caused by epilepsy, and who bears the name of Jehu Berry,was sent to the Insane Asylum to-day for medical treatment." ("Insane", Los Angeles Herald, 2/10/1875)
  • Berry was the first State Senator to represent Del Norte County after it's incorporation.

Source: Inventory of the Working Papers of the 1878-1879 Constitutional Convention by Pat Ooley, California State Archives (1993) [ONLINE]