That census also lists M.R. Berry as owning two unnamed Black girls 12 and 13 years old. Perhaps these young women acted as nursemaids or nannies to the house full of Berrys. A Southerner born in North Carolina, Maxwell Berry held several slaves in the antebellum years and actually was a dealer for a short while.
Although only a few years older than their charges, enslaved girls often spent their time looking after the children. Carrie kept a diary when she was older, mentioning two women who might be these girls: Mary and Tilo.
The city of Atlanta was not much older than Carrie. Marthasville, as it was first called, was located in northwest Georgia on land taken from the Cherokee and Creeks, driven west in 1838. New railroads were incentive for expelling the natives as entrepreneurs looking for rail links from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic saw the site below the Blue Ridge mountains as perfect geography. While the frontier settlement grew in the mid 1840s a more sophisticated name was required and a railroad executive made up the word "Atlanta," a reference to the eastern terminus on the ocean.
The 1860 census lists almost 10,000 residents of whom 3,000, a third of Atlantans, were African-American, most of them slaves.
Maxwell Rufus Berry, born in Lincoln County, North Carolina, came to Georgia when he was an adolescent, working as a store clerk and then seeking his fortune in the gold mines of Alabama. Soon he was back in Georgia as an itinerant peddler selling clocks. In the 1850s he married Harriet Eliza Key, 7 years younger, and they moved to Atlanta. Over his life he is referred to as builder, contractor and real estate developer, partnering with Thomas Healey and Julius Hayden in Hayden, Healey & Berry, which lasted until 1883.
"I went up to Aunties this morning to get her to tie Cousin Minnies brass pin. This eavning I got so tired of staying at home I went down at the store with Papa and he went down to Mr. Bookarts shop to get Mama's sewing machine. It has been raining and it is a bad day." December 18, 1865---The family was making brass pins for Christmas presents.