The Summers of Tift County, GA Back to Families


The following information is excerpted from my book, The Rigdon Family Notes, Hillbillies Down Home In America

Zion Hope Church was founded in 1859, thirteen years before Tifton was settled. The first services were held in a log building on land given by Thomas S. Rigdon. Also buried in the family plot there at Zion Hope are: Alice Rigdon Rimmer (8 DEC 1899)
John (15 FEB 1851)
Mary Ann Sylvania (Summers)
Infant Son (14 JUL 1926)
William (2 DEC 1886)
Mary Emma (25 JUN 1899)
Lewis (25 JUL 1902)
Berry (9 AUG 1885)

Berry Rigdon (Aug. 9, 1885 - Aug. 4, 1985)

Berry was born in Tift County, GA, the son of John (Feb. 15, 1851/1858?) and Mary Ann Sylvania (Summers) Rigdon. He was baptized in the First Baptist Church of Tifton, GA. He married first, Louise Toney. He married second Luna Baker of Tifton. She was the daughter of Judge Joseph Jackson and Nancy (Taylor) Rigdon. They had 5 children:

Jack Berry (ca. 1915)
Frank Leonard (ca. 1917)
Fred Warren (Jan. 10, 1919)
Sarah Florence (Towson) (ca. 1921)
Nancy (White) (ca 1923)

Berry was born on a small farm in Tift County, GA. He left school at approximately the 8th grade. He initially worked at his father's cotton gin, then worked as a cotton buyer, and eventually became involved in the turpentining business and other financial affairs. He was director of the First National Bank of Tifton. At his financial peak prior to the depression, he was the owner of approximately 38 farms, totalling some 8,000 or 9,000 acres of land, was director of the bank, owned a dairy, hotel, and approximately 12 turpentine stills. Berry survived the depression by becoming a land developer and timber grower.

Berry was a member of the First Baptist Church of Tifton, GA and noted locally for his generosity to numerous relatives, and people with hard luck. He contributed liberally to many individuals education including many blacks in the community. He was also known as a friend of black and white alike and treated everyone fairly and dealt generously with his many employees throughout his entire life.

Berry died just five days short of his hundredth birthday. He is buried in Zion Hope Church Cemetery in Tifton, GA.

REF: SSDI# 260-22-3824 GA