Posted October 12, 2009
BERRY COLLEGE'S BEGINNINGS
Continuing the previous blog about Martha Berry and Berry College, this is a picture of a cabin on the Berry estate. Martha Berry's father built his daughter a log cabin playhouse. It was here Martha escaped to read her beloved books while enjoying Georgia apples.
One day, as she took a bite of an apple and turned a page, she felt a presence. There in the window hungry dark eyes stared. Some of the poor Appalachian Mountain children had wandered in. Not only did she share her fruit, she shared stories. Some of those were stories from the Bible. The children were starved for good things to fill their stomachs and good things to fill their hungry minds.
She planned a Christmas celebration with gifts and food. The parents of the children were also invited. Before long, she was teaching Sunday School to the people who owned beautiful Bibles that had been stored in their attics. The Bibles had belonged to their ancestors who had crossed the Atlantic Ocean for a better life. Their ancestors had known how to read.
As the immigrants had pressed farther into the wilderness territories, their first concerns were staying alive and surviving Indian attacks and starvation. Book learning was the least of their problems. Survival claimed the day. Their sons were needed to help plow the fields and chop wood. Daughters were needed to help with household chores. Schooling took the back burner of their fireplaces and later wood stoves.
Martha Berry set out to change all of that.
She planned to teach them God's Word and how to read God's promises from those beautiful Bibles that had long been hidden and packed away. She wanted them to know how to study God's Word for themselves.
Later, near the cabin, she planted a garden path.
Along the path, she planted stones with words. Some of the
words were from the Bible, some from poets, and some of
the words were her own. She was a lady who longed to have
words make a difference.
The first posting about Berry College was September 30, 2009,
A Magical Southern Place.