1980 - Picture from photo album depicting farm before a drought and recession of the first half of the 1980s.  Top picture shows the knoll before, about 275 yards (251.5 meters) away from house; bottom picture shows sides of barn about 15 yards (13.7 meters) away from house, which later was torn down and moved to knoll.



1983 - Wood cookstove inside one-and-a-half story 16'x32' 1879 house after fire which severely damaged upper story, Aladdin kerosene lamp in foreground - to survive an economic downturn.



1983 - House with vehicles and woodpiles for firewood.  There is an outhouse (outdoor toilet) to the left of the house.


farm 4

1983 - A fire in cookstove, useful when it's below 0 (degrees) outside, with the wind blowing in a South Dakota winter.


farm 5

1983 - Different view.


1983 - Bathroom: water is heated on cookstove for washing; a galvanized bathtub is for bathing.


1983 - Railroad tie chicken house; shed used as a shop to the right...during the Farm Crisis.


1983 - Chicken coop, different view.


1983 - A hen laying an egg in the shop.


1983 - Eggs.


1983 - Handpump for getting water out of the cistern - this provided water for bathtub, heated on cookstove.


1983 - View of cistern/handpump from backside with woodpile in background.



1983 - Corrals, loading chutes and barn in construction.


1983 - A milk cow in the barn, milked by hand.


1983 - Eating the grain.


1983 - Calf milking the cow.


1983 - A corral system, built over a period of months.


1983 - Different view.


1983 - Road fence with horses in background.



1984 - More construction, new calf, in early part of year.


1984 - A neighbor's sheep.


1984 - Windbreaks being constructed with corrals, barn and house in background.


1984 - Windbreak with a stock pond in foreground.


1984 - Neighbor's livestock, and farm's 1957 one-and-a-half ton truck, small granary and 1948 Ford 8N tractor.


1984 - Different view.


1984 - A third view.


1984 - View from the road fence.


1984 - A road to Newell, South Dakota, from farm.


1984 - Old wagon in foreground with '57 box-with-a-hoist farm truck; shed/shop to left.


1984 - Lots in construction in order to create small cattle feedlot - this and subsequent photos taken toward end of year.


1984 - Swing with some of the farmground.


1984 - View of corrals and barn from same tree.


1984 - A neighbor's sheep by stock pond.


1984 - Different view of completed barn complex.


1984 - Road fence in construction.


1984 - Different view of lots in construction.


1984 - A loft in the barn with straw and hay bales.


1984 - Cross fence in construction.


1984 - View of outhouse, house, vehicles, shop, barn, etc.; all construction, with exceptions of moving house and farm buildings onto property, done by Jacob Berry.


1984 -  Different view of completed barn with haystack; Berry had someone put up sides of barn with a tractor, did the rest himself.


On the morning of March 7, 1982 there was a fire which occurred under the eaves of the roof of a 1879 house, three miles northeast of Newell, S.D.  The house was heated with a barrel wood stove.  It was 10 degrees the night before and 50 degrees that day.  A small fire was started in the stove between 7-8am.  The fire was noticed outside the house between 8-9am.  The chimney on the outside of the house was a stovepipe that was insulated against the roof, however some of the insulation had worn off over some months.  A strong east wind was blowing, and blew the flames which started at the point of contact between the stove pipe and the roof, surrounded, again, by worn insulation, into the eaves of the roof of the house.  Jacob Berry had burned railroad ties for firewood in the stove the previous winter, as it would drop below 0 degrees at night, with no problem and no danger.

Why would a house fire start when it was approximately 30 degrees and a small fire was started that morning?  To survive the "Farm Crisis" of the first half of the 1980s, Berry used a small inheritance left by his grandfather, as well as funds given to him by his father who lived overseas to help.  He also worked jobs around the community for various farmers and ranchers when available.  This included setting sheep for shearers, stacking hay, fixing fences, feeding sheep and cattle, helping to rebuild a barn, cleaning manure out of a pig shed, and etc.  He was building his small 120 acre farm from scratch.  When he bought the land in September 1979, it had only two cisterns and two stock ponds.  The house was moved onto the property from Spearfish, S.D., forty miles, and put on poured foundation.  A water pump was installed in the crawl space, a septic tank and drain fields as well.  Various improvements were placed on the property - barn, chicken coop, small shop/shed and etc.

In the Farm Crisis many were "going down the tubes".  One rancher, Alvin Falzarano with 1500 head of sheep on 5000 acres was reduced to 160 acres in the middle of his 5000 acres, with no improvements.  A second rancher, Don Bridenbach, lost his 10,000 ranch.  A third, Keith Swan, lost his cattle.  Berry was none too popular with some because he was building improvements while others were going broke.  One rancher told him: "Even if we have to take your little farm away from you."  In the local Assembly of God church, families were ruined, the orchestra and choir ceased, and 70% of the key membership left.  The pastor, Morris Conklin, was likewise none too happy.  Berry attended the church sporadically.  He told Berry such things as: "I don't care where you've worked," referring to the farm/ranch jobs.  And, "You came to the church in dirty jeans," when Berry had to walk three miles down to the church on the muddy day, due to a mechanical breakdown, in near-new washed jeans, getting a little mud on the cuffs of the pants.  Dress code was loose, even an elder wore jeans to church.

The pastor, as was discovered subsequently, was into witchcraft.  This was admitted to in a United States Federal District Court lawsuit against the Assembly of God in 1996 - the "operation of spiritual forces invoked" and "the actions of Satan as applied".  Two and a half years after the house fire, late October 1984, Berry had three three fires "down by the barn".  One was a haystack fire, the other two being small prairie fires set - one in front of the corrals and one in front of the barn.  Were these fires - the house fire in 1982 and the others in 1984 - a result of someone who didn't like Berry coming up from Denver, Colo. and "doing his own thing" putting improvements on his property while others weren't doing well, or were these fires extraordinary supernatural disturbance, given the Assembly of God pastor's skill at using the black arts.  The church had a history of problems while the pastor was there - foreclosing on a fellow church member, two women walking off and leaving their husbands, and this in a small town church of approximately fifty members.

On Beltane 1983, Berry was accused of, in so many words or less: "You have been found guilty of disloyalty and treachery.  Have you anything to say before judgment is passed."  The punishment was rendered by the pastor: "I LOOSE SATAN."  One of their possible associates, Anton LaVey, stated: "If your curse provokes their actual annihilation, rejoice that you have rid the world of a pest."  He subsequently was told by a church leader: "Have you read the Book of Job?"  This was around the same time period as Assembly of God evangelist Jim Bakker, head of the PTL Club, was committing adultery with Jessica Hahn.  And, Assembly of God evangelist Jimmy Swaggart was caught consorting with a whore.  These were high profile leaders of a denomination who thought they could do anything they wanted.