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Home > Early Families > Berrisford - and general store

1875 Census - BerrisfordThe 1875 census places the Berrisford family home and store in operation in Burnsville at todays Judicial Road and Williams Drive.
1880 Census - BerrisfordThe Berrrisford Store and home was located at todays Judicial Road and Williams Drive.
1885 census - BerrisfordThe Berrisford family and others residing or working at the Berrisford home/store at the corner of Judicial Road and Williams Drive.
The store/home was located near the then location of St. John the Baptist Church.
John Berrisford and family 1885The 1885 Census provides a listing of the Berrisford Family. John being the first business owner, operating a general store near the
Catholic Church in Byrnesville/Burnsville.
Berrisford store in 2020 is Razors Edge BarbershopIn 2020 the original Berrisford Store, moved to Savage from Burnsville after the Catholic Church burnt, still stands as the Razors Edge Barbershop.
Berrisford store in 2020 is Razors Edge BarbershopNot original to the building, a stone look was placed at the front of the original Berrisford Store, now the Razors Edge Barbershop.
Razors Edge and Berrisford StoreAugust 2020 view of the Razors Edge Barbershop, which was the John Berrisford Store in Burnsville near Judicial Road and Williams Road. It was moved to Savage around 1902 after St. John the Baptist Church burnt and was rebuilt in Savage.

Photos from a few years ago show the R in Razors missing from the front of the building.
Ann Berrisford Mother of John Berrisford - Burnsville's first merchant, buried in Glendale Cemetery.
Birth: Jul. 26, 1816- Staffordshire, England
Death: Mar. 13, 1866 - Glendale (now Savage) Scott County Minnesota, USA

Spouse: Thomas A Berrisford (1813 - 1873)
John Berrisford in Hamilton news 1886August 26, 1886 - Hamilton Station - Shakopee Argus

John Berrisford had quite a severe spell of sickness in St. Paul Saturday from which he has not entirely recovered. He came home Monday evening and is improving some...

John Berrisford of BurnsvilleThe family of John Berrisford provided this information which includes references to the Burnsville 76 Community History Book article on John. The piece is written by Jack Youatt of Great Kingshill High Wycombe who would be related to one of John's wives Elizabeth Youatt.
Berrisford Store pen drawingA pen drawing by Bill Wolston, Dakota County Historical Society, of what people called the Berrisford Store, used on the Burnsville Historic map. This structure was built on the same site by Lawrence Begley in 1901 and moved the following year to Savage Minnesota.
probate request for John BerrisfordBorn September 21,1842 - died June 8,1908.

The man defined as Burnsville's first business owner left Burnsville and moved to St. Paul where he would die.
Thomas Berrisford1878 Thomas Berrisford Baptism St. John the Baptist, mother Elizabeth Smyth.
1900 Census - BerrisfordThe 1900 census confirms the Berrisford family now living in St. Paul.
Burnsville's first merchantBy DELSTELLING
November 17, 1981

John Berrisford, Burnsville’s first merchant, was one of those hardy pioneers, who not only fought in the Civil War, but also the Sioux Uprising.

Born in Staffordshire, England on Sept. 21, 1843, Berrisford and his parents moved to America in 1856, eventually settling in Minnesota.
After a rough sea voyage, they arrived in New York City and then ! took a train to Galena, where they transferred to a river boat which took them up the Mississippi River.

When they arrived at Reed’s Landing in Minnesota, they discovered Lake Pepin was still covered with ice, thus causing the passengers to disembark with their baggage.

Rather than wait until river traffic opened up, Berrisford’s father and his older brother, Tom, started to walk to the farm of William Berrisford, an uncle, who had settled in Credit River, about 100 miles away.

Later, after the ice had left Lake Pepin, Berrisford and his mother and four brothers and sisters resumed their steamboat trip to St. Paul.

Upon arriving in St. Paul, they again transferred to another river boat which traveled up the Minnesota River to Credit River landing, now Savage, where they were met by their father and Uncle William.
After a couple of days, they located a building site along side a lake and erected a log shanty, which served as their first home in America.

Shortly thereafter, Berrisford went to work on the farm of a Mr. Ragen (Regan?) at “the princely sum of $6 per month.”

In describing this later, Berrisford said he got up at 4 a.m. and milked six or seven cows before breakfast, following which he went out into the field.

After working all day in the field, he again had to milk the cows, following which he finally had supper about 9 p.m.

There were times, he said, he got so hungry he could have “eaten a jackass and chased the driver.”

It was while working for Mr. Ragan that he bargained with him to purchase a cow for his family. He purchased the cow for $20, with the understanding he would pay for it in labor.

By that time, his salary had increased to $8 per month, so after about two and a half months, he had finally paid for the cow, the first cow the Berrisford family had in America.

That winter the log shanty caught fire and burned, with the result young Berrisford moved in with his Uncle William, while the rest of family moved in with Mr. and Mrs. Murray, some neighbors.

When spring came, young Berrisford moved to St. Paul where he and his brother, Tom. went into the business of sawing and splitting wood.

Later, he learned the bakery trade from Robert Baxter, who was killed at the battle of Birch Coulee.

When the Civil War broke out, Berrisford enlisted with the Third Minnesota, serving with that regiment until the battle of Murfreesboro.

The regiment was later sent back to Minnesota on parole, and upon arriving here was sent out to western Minnesota to help quell the Indian uprising.

In doing so, the regiment participated in the Battle of Wood Lake.

It was after the war that John Berrisford opened a general store in Burnsville, near what is now the junction of Judicial Road and County Road 34.

At the time, this was on the old Shakopee-St. Paul Road, along which much of the horse and wagon traffic of that day travelled.

Nearby, the original St. John the Baptist Catholic Church was located. Thus, this became one of the most strategic locations of the community, serving the residents of Burnsville and also those of Hamilton, now Savage.

In later years, Berrisford returned to St. Paul, where he was engaged in the fuel business at Rondo and St. Albans streets.

He passed away in St. Paul on June 8, 1908.

Incidentally, the old Berrisford store is still in use. After the church burned, the store was moved to Hamilton and is now occupied by Razor’s Edge Barber Shop.
Berrisford childrenThese birth dates are taken from the records at the Dakota County Courthouse. Children of John and first wife Jane were:
James - January 17, 1873, John June 11, 1875, Margaret June 16, 1883, Thomas August 3, 1878. Child with second wife - Elizabeth:
Milicient April 15, 1887.
John Berrisford documentsConsidered Burnsville's first business owner, operating a general store near the corner of today's Williams Road and Judicial Road, members of his family have transcribed two of his speeches on the history of his family.
Berrisford family in St. Paul 1900The 1900 Federal Census establishes the Berrisford famly living in St. Paul, Ramsey County, not Burnsville in 1900. A newspaper clipping from 1890 says Berrisford exchanged his Burnsville property for a place in Minneapolis.
Berrisford Family HistoryMembers of the Berrisford family created this Genealogical chart for their family which includes John Berrisford - Burnsville's first merchant.
Berrisford farm sold 1894March 15, 1894 Shakopee Argus -

L. Thornton has purchased the old Berrisford farm. Likely the family farm of the Berrisford's in Scott County rather
than the store in Burnsville.
Berrisford Store - later Garvey StoreBuilt by John Berrisford in Burnsville, near Judicial Road and the then location of the St. John the Baptist Church. After church burnt in 1902 it was rebuilt in Savage, at which time the store was moved to the town. Mr Garvey was later the owner of the store, which in 2017 still stands as the Razor's Edge Barbershop.
Two Berrisford ladies in sleigh accident 1881St. Paul Globe, February 18, 1881 - Two ladies, the wife of Thomas Berisford and his sister in law, wife of John Berisford of Hamilton Station, driving out a little after 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon, when turning into Exchange street from Cedar, made the turn a little too abruptly, overturning the sleigh....
John Berrisford Grave Oakland Cemetery, St. Paul 1842 - 1908Born September 21,1842 - died June 8,1908.

He immigrated to America with his parents in April 1856 from Staffordshire, England. The family settled in Credit River township, Scott County, Minnesota. John was a Civil War veteran. After his discharge in 1865, he erected a general mercantile near the Catholic church at the crossroads known as Hamilton Station in the settlement of Burnsville.

Around 1887 he sold the store and relocated to St. Paul, where he ran a fuel business. He is listed as one of Minnesota's Territorial Pioneers.

When John's first wife died in 1886 she was buried at St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Burnsville. He remarried Elizabeth Youatt and they lived in St. Paul. He died June 8, 1908 in St. Paul.
John Berrisford's marriage 1887John Berrisford. Records indicate having a wife named Jennie Smith Berrisford who died in 1886 and buried at St. John the Baptist Cemetery.

Elizabeth Youatt emigrated from Devon, England in July, 1881 with her parents and brothers. She took out a homestead claim in Miner County, Dakota Territory in 1884. Married John Berrisford at Hamilton Station, MN on June 21, 1887, then moved to St. Paul, MN by 1892, where they remained the rest of their lives. They are buried in St. Paul.
John Berrisford, 4th of JulyJohn Berrisford's plans for the 4th of July. July 1, 1886 Shakopee Argus.
John BerrisfordSeptember ,1887 Dakota County Tribune

Mr. Nicholson has put up a new wind mill.
Mr. Berrisford is getting his new fence painted
Mr. Thornton, his new barn being painted.
John Berrisford profile - Burnsville's first merchantThis profile of John Berrisford was received in December 2019 from family member Marilyn Konruff.
First Merchant (John Berrisford) was importantBy BEA NORDSTROM Originally the village of Burnsville consisted of a store, a church and cemetery at the present junction of County Road 34 and Judicial Road
near the Scott County line.

William Byrne donated the hill for the cemetery and the land on which tile first St. John’s Catholic Church was built in 1954.

John Berrisford operated the gen eral store built on the southwest corner of that junction. The church was directly west of the store with its cemetery across the road to the south and east.
It was a promising location for the aspiring town on this ridge

Only a short distance away toward the west, the Eagle's Head band of Indians wintered near Teepee Hill providing impetus for the Larpenteur Trading Post near old Highway 13 (now Scott County Road 16) and Credit River.

Hamilton, now Savage, showed signs of growing but it was thought to be in an area which would be inundated during spring floods
John Berrisford was somewhat “an onion in a petunia patch”since his parents, Tom and Ann, were English immigrants settling in this concentration of Irish people on what is known as Eagan's Acres.
Worse yet, he was Prebyterian but apparently his business prospered until the church burned down and was rebuilt in 1902 at its present location in Savage.

The Irish on “the hill" couldn’t give him anymore business so John quit, leaving for opportunities in St. Paul.

A Mr. Garvey, local school teacher, bought the sturdy building so it could follow the parish to Hamilton.

Bob Allen tells of its being quite a feat to keep it in one piece, rolling it on logs down the hill to its present location across the street and to the east of the bowling alley.

It is in fine condition, housing the Razor's Edge Hair Styling Shop and an upholstering business.

What is known as the Berrisford Store has changed hands many times. Some owners included Mr. Hull, who came from Prior Lake, a Mr. Campbell, and Mr. O’Brien, whom people living there still remember.
Parents were pressured to shop there because he generously gave them a striped paper bag containing candy.

As was usual in general stores, farm wives brought their eggs and homemade butter to trade for staples they could not produce, such as cof fee. tea, sugar, spices, dried fruit, yard goods, thread, needles, lamp chimneys, matches, etc.

Frequently mail was distributed in a corner of the store, but later a post office was kept by Mrs. Hines in the Garvey House which is still standing at the corner of Sibley and Vine.

(Editor's note: The preceding historical sketch appeared in “Burnsville 76, A Community History,”This book was recently re-printed by the Burnsville Historical Society and copies, priced at $10 each, are available at the Burnsville City Hall.)
John Berrisford suffers stroke 1888April 23, 1888 St. Paul Globe reports: Friends of John Berrisford of Hamilton, Minnesota, brother of E.F. and Thomas Berrisford of this city will learn with regret of his serious illness. Mr. Berrisford suffered a stroke of paralysis a few days ago, from the effects of which he is now confined to his bed.
Inscription on Jennie Berrisford tombstoneShe was the first wife of John Berrisford, who ran the general store in Byrnesville - near the Catholic Church. They had one son James who was born and died in 1873, John re-married, sold the store and moved to St. Paul. He is buried at Oakland Cemetery, St. Paul.
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