He’s a regular Pete-of-all-trades

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 18, 2000

At first glance, visitors to Pete Berryhill’s house will not notice anything out of the ordinary. The one-story, brick home surrounded by tall oak trees with a shop tucked away from the street is like most homes on Ogden Road in the Kingston Community south of Natchez

But through closer inspection visitors will find something extraordinary. If they talk to the Berryhills’ visitors will discover that almost everything on the property was built by Pete Berryhill himself. From the house and most of its furnishings to the shop and all of the tools in it, Pete, with help from his wife Jewel, has single-handedly created the world in which he lives.

&uot;I am what my daddy called a jack-of-all-trades,&uot; Pete said smiling.

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When he retired from construction in 1982, Pete refused to take things easy. Instead, he sought the things that were a challenge.

In fact, the cabinet maker, pipe fitter and all-around craftsman has always loved to be challenged. &uot;If it is real hard to do and nobody likes to fool with it, that is what I like to do. I like to do anything that is hard to make,&uot; Pete said.

And when Pete says anything he means it. Airplanes, dozers, truck trailers, and boats, he has worked on all of them.

He has even built his own 11-horsepower automobile that he and his wife used to drive on Sunday along Ogden Road until the clutch wore out.

He has built almost every tool in his shop.

With the tools he has ingeniously created, Pete works on many projects. On the weekends he sharpens all of the bushhog blades for Adams County.

During the week, he does work for many of the area’s historic landmarks. From the gate latches and hinges of Choctaw to the window casings in Shields Townhouse to the handrails at the Old Natchez Institute, Pete has made a small but significant contribution to the preservation and upkeep of many of Natchez’s private and public historic properties.

&uot;He has worked in just about every home – even Laird’s funeral home,&uot; said Jewel Berryhill.

Pete takes special pride in fixing old locks and doorknobs that others have given up trying to fix. They know that if anyone can fix them Pete can.

&uot;If he can’t fix it you might as well junk it,&uot; Jewel said proudly.

The Viewfinder is a weekly feature produced by our photography staff to reflect the diversity in our community.