wpe1.jpg (2788 bytes) Biographical sketch of some of my Ancestry gleaned from such sources as accessable And recorded this the 3rd of January 1919

by George W. Terry

Thus begins the earliest surviving written account of the ancestry of George Washington Terry. George continued this journal in the pages of a bound register whose original intent was to record the membership of the American Legion of Honor. Although George was a member of the A.L.H, the purpose of this organization has been obscured by time and distance. However, it now seems very appropriate that he chose to use this record book to chronicle not only his "Ancestry" but also his descendants. Without a doubt, these individuals should be included in the rolls of an American Legion of Honor.

My search into my own "Ancestry" began in 1988 when my mother, May Terry Cunningham (great-granddaughter of George W. Terry), declared that she had no idea of her genealogical background. Her mother, Pauline Gill, had died in an automobile accident when my mother was a teenager. After that, contact was lost with her Terry relations and as far as she knew she had no living relatives (other than myself, my sister and our children). I set out to find these long-lost relatives and some of the results are contained herein.

George Washington Terry was one of my first objects of research. In the passing of time, I have come to feel very close to him. I have traveled to the place of his boyhood in Union county, Arkansas; stood beside the same spot of ground that his parents now occupy; taken a stroll down the street and into the shops of Prescott, Arkansas which he called home. I have camped out in Arkansas woods and heard the night sounds which he must have heard in those days long since past. I have met many of the descendants of the people George W. Terry called friends and neighbors in his beloved Arkansas, and found them most likely as George found their ancestors. These Arkansans (or Arkansawers depending on which side of the Arkansas River they resided) are a very gracious, considerate and friendly people who willingly took me (a complete stranger) into their confidence. They entertained and chauffeured me around their homeland, never once expressing a notion of inconvenience. At no time in my existence had I ever felt that I was more truly in the midst of old acquaintances than during those few days in the Arkansas spring of 1990. Was this simply my perception, or was it part of an ancestral memory that each of us may have inherited from our foreparents?

George W. Terry made several efforts to preserve his memories and notions. How fortunate we are that this material survived, leaving us a window into his time. This writing is an effort on my part to continue to preserve what our ancestors deemed important. George is said to have commented, "Don't data-tize people" when remembering them. This advise I have attempted to follow through the use of interviews, personal letters and journals. Some of the material uncovered, by today's standards, may be offensive to some groups. With this in mind, I ask you not to judge our progenitors by today's values but consider what they did in the context of their time. We scarcely can comprehend the circumstances leading to their actions.

I wish to thank those who willingly shared their memories, notes, photographs and dreams with me towards this writing. And especially to George Washington Terry who learned to be a survivor.

John S. Yates, a great-great-grandson of George Washington Terry

January 3, 1995

 

GEORGE WASHINGTON TERRY

HIS ANCESTORS AND DESCENDANTS

 

A NEW ADDITION

 

On the day following the tenth wedding anniversary of Green Berry Hill Terry and Eleanor Gill, the couple celebrated the birth of their fifth child. Born on Thursday, May 13, 1841 at 10 o'clock in the morning, George Washington Terry came into the world six miles south of the present-day capital building in Atlanta, Georgia. Today Peachtree Street crosses that spot. The child's father, G.B.H. Terry, had claimed this homestead in the Gold Lottery of 1832, and it was there that the couple's first child, Hugh McClure Terry, also had been born in March, 1832.

The newborn child, George W. Terry, undoubtedly was named for his father's youngest brother, born just seven years previous. Other siblings of the infant George also had received traditional names from their parents' families.

The firstborn child, Hugh McClure Terry, was named for his mother's brother, Hugh McClure Gill. Martha, the second child (1833), likely was named for her father's sister who had been born in 1824. The third child, Mary Elizabeth Hill Terry, owes her name to her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Hill. Moses Green Berry Hill Terry (1838) had Moses added to his father's name in honor of his paternal great-grandfather, Moses Hill. Younger brother John Wesley (1844) was named either for his father's brother John Wesley Moses Terry or for the fact that his parents were devout Methodists. The seventh child, Sarah Elizabeth (1847), could trace her namesakes to her father's sister Sarah and his mother, Elizabeth Hill.

Little is known about Green Berry Hill Terry, although from all accounts he was an educated man. He was a farmer, teacher and a county official. He also is remembered as writing "with a beautiful hand, and was an excellent reader – one of the best among a thousand." Some writings of May Terry Gill refer to him as "Berry Terry," and it appears that he was named, at least in part, for his mother's brother Moses Berry Hill. No military service has yet been located for Berry Terry.

The Terry family left Georgia in 1848 to new lands in Union county, Arkansas. They settled in the vicinity of New London, where two of Eleanor's brothers, Robert G. and James Gill, had recently established themselves. Berry Terry died soon thereafter on March 22, 1848 "following an illness on the boat enroute." He was 38 years old and was buried in Georges Chapel Cemetery near Strong, Arkansas. When he died, Berry left "young children, a few slaves and the newly purchased farm." His brother-in-law, Robert Gill, was named administrator of the property, and Eleanor's cousin, R.M. Wallace, was appointed guardian of the children.

A LOOK BACK

George W. Terry's grandfather, Stephen Terry, is considered an Atlanta pioneer, having settled there in 1843 when it was still known as Marthasville. He first arrived in Georgia as early as 1820 and was given the rank of Major in the Georgia militia. Stephen married Elizabeth Harrison Hill on July 4, 1809 in Fairfield county, South Carolina. To this union were born twelve children, the first being Green Berry Hill Terry. Stephen's wife, Elizabeth, died December 3, 1838 in Dekalb, Georgia at age 45. Upon settling in Atlanta, Stephen became a contractor for the Monroe (later Macon & Western) and Georgia Railways. He also was a master cabinet maker and built "Washington Hall," one of the city's first hotels. Later in life Stephen took up farming in an area of Atlanta now included in Lakewood Park. He remarried in 1860 to Mary Lewis. Stephen Terry died November 15, 1866 at age 78 and was buried a few hundred feet from his house. Located south of and overlooking the park, the Terry home was still standing as late as 1930. However, nothing now remains of the cemetery or the uninscribed field stones that had marked Stephen's grave.

Eleanor Gill, mother of George W. Terry, was born January 20, 1811 in Chester county, South Carolina. It should be noted that some sources list her given name as Margaret, and Ellen is sometimes substituted for Eleanor. The fourth child of Samuel Gill and Mary McClure, Eleanor was born in the area of Fishing Creek, Chester district (county), as were many of her Gill, McClure, and Gaston relatives. Her namesake was one of her paternal great-grandmothers, Elinor Kelsey Gill. If indeed Margaret was her given name, that too can be traced to the same lineage.

Eleanor Gill was reared in the "old school Presbyterian Church." Although she later joined the Methodist Church with her husband, she maintained her Presbyterian upbringing and steadfastly adhered to that church's strict rules in the training of her children. As the Presbyterians believed that no work and very little or no cooking should be done on the Sabbath, "The sound of an axe or hammer was not heard on the place on Sunday," wrote her son George. He also recalled that "the only chastisement my mother ever laid upon me that I remember was for violating the Sabbath day once for playing and being noisy and for going to the creek bathing." Eleanor did not remarry after the death of her husband, Berry Terry, but did maintain the farm with the help of her eldest son, Hugh, and her brothers who farmed nearby. Eleanor Gill died of "congestive chill" in her home on Saturday, October 5, 1861 at age 50 years. All of her children (except George who was in the Confederate Army at Union City, Kentucky at the time) were at her bedside at the time of her death. She was laid to rest beside her husband at Georges Chapel Cemetery near Strong, Arkansas.

Both of Eleanor's parents could trace their lineage to Ireland, and her ancestors were actively involved in the American Revolution. One of her grandfathers, Robert Gill, was at the Battle of King's Mountain, South Carolina. Of interest is the fact that Eleanor's husband, Berry Terry, did not have a Terry in the American Revolution. This Terry family appears to have been neither Loyalist nor Patriot, but fall into that group not actively involved. Berry Terry did however have several Hill and Roden ancestors in the Revolution.

Eleanor' father, Samuel Gill, is referred to by the rank of Major probably because of service in the South Carolina militia. He was a carpenter by trade. Upon his death in 1840, he left an estate valued at about $13,000. Several claims were made against the estate including a bill from Dr. John Douglas for $100 against "Est. Maj. Sam'l Gill, for visit at night & operating, for strangulated hernia," dated February 5, 1840. Samuel Gill also was attended by Dr. C.S. Moffat, who billed the estate $10 "for visit and ... for medical attendance during his last sickness." Samuel Gill died on February 5, 1840 likely from the "strangulated hernia" or from an operation for the same.

Eleanor's mother was Mary McClure. Her family, like that of her husband Samuel, also was involved in the American Revolution. Hugh McClure, father of Mary McClure, and his parents were active in the struggle for Independence. [ See Appendix A ]

ON TO NEW LONDON

The United States Congress created the Arkansas Territory in 1819, and the first territorial legislature met at Arkansas Post on July 28 of that year. The capital was moved to Little Rock two years later. On June 15, 1836, Arkansas became a state, opening more land and encouraging western migration.

Berry Terry, following the lead of his wife's brothers, moved his family to the community of New London, Arkansas in 1848. Located about 20 miles due east of El Dorado in Union county, New London had been settled early because of its high rolling terrain, its rich soil, and its prime location – only six miles from Careyville Landing on the Ouachita River.

The first settler, a Mr. Hughes, arrived before 1839 and occupied a site north of the present-day Baptist Church location. The first Baptist Church in the area was established prior to 1857, and a Methodist Church was built by Dr. Edmond Thompson, who had moved to New London from Wilmington and built his home over the Hughes cabin foundation in 1856. By this time, New London was a thriving village.

Union county's first Masonic lodge, chartered at Wilmington in 1845, later moved to New London and met on the second floor of the Methodist Church until the Lodge closed in 1869.

New London was one of the cultural centers of the area and had some influence during the days before the railroad. In fact, it once served as the second county seat when Union county was divided into the western and eastern sections. This area included the Lapile community which was only a few miles to the east.

When Congress created the Arkansas Territory, it set aside a section of land in each township for the support of public schools. In 1843 the legislature established a system of public education, although there were few public schools until after the Civil War. Private schools and academies provided schooling for a small percentage of the population.

The New London Academy existed prior to 1850 and was located southwest of the present crossroads that mark the New London community. Among the early teachers were Thomas Norman who was educated in the colleges of Georgia; Mrs. Mary Shackleford; and William G. Rolfe.

Mrs. Shackeford was in the household of Henry Harper of Lapile Township in 1850 and served as that family's teacher. She evidently also taught in New London for a number of years. Her fees in 1856 were $10 for five months in the lower grades and $16 for eight months in the upper grades. William Rolfe was teaching at the New London school in 1857, and his fee was $7.50 for three months. Prices for certain fees, books and supplies in 1859 included $5 for Latin tuition, $2 for philosophy, $.50 for Butler's grammar book, $.20 for Lander's Speller, $1.25 for a philosophy book, and $.50 for stationery.

Attesting to the extent and quality of education available to New London-area children are three young men who went on to higher levels of instruction. Eugene Rowland and Oscar Mullins Thompson were able to compete with other scholars in the medical department at the University of Louisiana in New Orleans (now Tulane University). These young men later returned to the community and practiced medicine. Another New London scholar, Ira L. Wilson, was elected to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention as Union county's representative on November 5, 1867. The convention met in Little Rock on January 7, 1868 and a new constitution was approved. Mr. Wilson is credited with writing the act incorporated into the constitution that established the public school system in Arkansas.

As mentioned previously, Careyville Landing was located near New London on the Ouachita River and was the freight and traffic hub for the surrounding area. Warehouses were built there to store merchandise and supplies that arrived regularly by steamboat from Monroe and New Orleans, Louisiana as well as other locations. New London, however, was not served by the railroad (the closest station was at Strong, Arkansas), and this ultimately led to the community's demise by 1917.

George W. Terry recorded but a few remembrances from his childhood in the community. In The Boy Who Fell into the Spring, he indulged in memories of building play houses decked with fresh dogwood blossoms at the corner of the yard. He also provokes our interest with the event for which the prose is named. In this account it would appear that young George was either playing or going for water (most likely both) at a spring near his home. For whatever reason, he tumbled head first into the water and had to be "rescued by the good old Colored Woman." [ See Appendix B ]

George further recalled that "At the age of 17 years in the fall of 1858 I was converted to faith in Christ. And joined the Methodist church on six months probation. And at my confirmation I was challenged for taking a drink of whiskey at the dinner of a public 'log-rolling'. My mother and relatives were present and of course it was embarrassing to us all but the Lord was good to me and supplied me with His grace sufficient to overcome all anger and keep me humble, submissive and in Christian spirit, and the Lord gave me favor with the congregation and the commendation of my people."

He was kept in school at the New London Academy most of the time after the death of his father. He referred to the Academy as "little Billie Jones's School house. A mile from Home and Mama." Like most young children, he enjoyed school but missed his mother. As time went by he mingled "with his school fellows with independence and a knowledge of his rights."

Helen Terry Marshall, granddaughter of George W. Terry, recalls that George told her of traveling to Tulip, Arkansas by way of Bartholomew Bayou. He related that he had spent some time there and that Tulip was a center of education and culture in the area. Tulip, Arkansas is located in Dallas county and was noted for its schools as early as the 1840s. In its heyday, Tuilp was home to the Ouachita Conference College for girls and the Arkansas Military Institute.

"THE STORM OF HUMAN DESTRUCTION"

George continued his education until 1861 when Arkansas joined the Confederacy on May 16. The young men of the community "closed our desks for the last time in the New London Academy in Union county. Enlisted and began to drill and prepare ourselves for the coming storm of human destruction. Many of us left the beloved and sacred old school grounds never to meet in this world again. On the eleventh of July 1861 we kissed our mothers and loved ones goodbye, shouldered our rifles and were off for the front." At this time the young men of the New London Academy were aged 16 through 20 years.

Union county contributed between 1200 and 1300 of its men, young and old, to the Lost Cause. George W. Terry was "the first to enlist" and his Company G, 9th Regiment grew to over 150 men. A number cannot be given as to causalities from the area, although doubtless many of this number were lost. Of those men from Union county, fewer than 400 returned home. By September, 1928 George W. Terry would be the last survivor of Company G.

Among those men lost was George's youngest brother, John Wesley Terry, who died at Shiloh. George recalled that he "died in camp" and May Terry Gill wrote that she thought John Wesley had died of measles. Robert Gill, George's uncle, "was killed on the 4th [October 1862, Battle of Corinth] just lacking one day of being one year from date of mother's death." Hugh McClure Terry, George's oldest brother, was wounded and crippled for life. Although George himself was in the midst of several battles and skirmishes and had men fall all around him, he never suffered any wounds. He wrote many years later:

"General R.E. Lee surrendered to General Grant on April the 9th 1865 and General Johnston surrendered to General Sherman at Greensboro, N.C. on April 16th 1865.

"And Johnston's Army was paroled on May the 1st 1865. and on the 5th of May brother McClure and I began our long homeward journey towards Arkansas being compelled to walk much of the way [Hugh McClure Terry was crippled from wounds making walking difficult] on account of many sections of the rail ways not being in running. We rested a week in Chester, S.C. [birthplace of George's parents] with relatives and also in Atlanta [George's birthplace and home of his grandfather Stephen Terry] a week with relatives...I arrived home on the 9th of June 1865 to the old doorstep that I had turned my back upon just 3 years 10 months and 28 days before."

"When I decided to enlist my home was a lovely one. In it was a loving mother, sisters and brothers – with all conveniences to make it a successful and a real home. When I returned all life had fled. Nothing of value remained to be seen – not even a chicken. No mother, no brothers nor sisters, no stock, no slaves, – an empty home. Imagine my state of mind. Yet was I glad and thankful for life and health, and that God had cared for and kept me from harms and wounds, and brought me back home safe and sound. I had the capacity to start anew, obstacles lay plenty along the way before me – but I believed they could be overcome so I decided now to adopt the business of an honest overcomer and forged my way forward to higher climes."

".. again a private citizen with the absolute deed of as great courage and determination as it required to approach the firing line years before. I was then prepared for the firing line...and the only assets at hand to reconstruct the southern home and redeem it from the late ravages of war was muscle and courage. And with these two assets the sunny-south was brought to life again."

RECONSTRUCTION

George W. Terry's first job upon returning home was as a clerk in a general store in Bradley county, Arkansas. He received $25 per month with room and board and was able to purchase clothing at cost. He held this position until "I gave it up and started for New Orleans, La. on that special 10th day of November ... 1867. I landed in N.O. with money enough to pay my way through [Levi] Dolbar’s Law and Commercial College," located at 203 Canal Street in New Orleans. After graduation George was employed by E.J. Hart and Company Grocers and Druggists at a salary of $100 per month. He remained there until 1871 when he accepted a position with Thomas Simms and Levy Exclusive Grocers. At this time, he was a boarder at "Mrs. Emerson's" located at 194 St. Charles.

On a photograph of his wife, Fannie Alabama Pitfield, George inscribed "1868 We first met N.O." This coincides with the year George first enrolled in Dolbar's College. How this couple met is the object of some surmise. George was somewhat "fresh" from Arkansas and not yet established in the social circles to which the affluent Pitfield family might have been accustomed. Also unlikely was a chance meeting at a church function as George was Methodist and the Pitfields were members of the Episcopal Church. It is possible that Fannie met George through her brothers, several of whom listed their profession as "clerk" and may have received their education at the Dolbar business school. The Pitfields did not neglect the education of the females of that family. Fannie's sister, Louisiana, listed her profession as "teacher" and it is not unlikely that Fannie also had some higher education. Traditional oral history states that both Fannie and Louisiana taught school in the Pitfield home during and after the War. Perhaps Fannie herself attended the Dolbar school and met George there (however most schools at that time were not co-educational). In later years May Terry Gill (first child of George and Fannie) made a notation that "mother graduated" but without reference as to when or where.

George Washington Terry and Fannie Alabama Pitfield were married June 26, 1872. According to George, they were married "at the Bride's home"; however, the marriage license states that the ceremony took place at 174 Erato Street, the location of the Church of the Annunciation (Episcopal) in New Orleans. The ceremony was performed by John Percival, church rector, and witnessed by W.L. Cashing, Lionel Levy, Oliver Pitfield, and Mary Pitfield.

Fannie Alabama Pitfield has an interesting lineage. Her father, Oliver A. Pitfield, listed his profession as steamboat or steamship captain. He was born November 7, 1809 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. His father, George Jefferson Pitfield, was a loyalist in the American Revolution and was deported and arrived in Saint John on May 18, 1783. George Pitfield's wife, Eliza Kenny, was the daughter of Samuel Kenny, an Irish Protestant. The Pitfield line has been traced to Robert Pitfold (note spelling variation) who died at Allington, Dorset, England in 1586.

Pitfield family tradition relates that George Pitfield chose a wife for his son Oliver. Oliver rejected her and chose instead Mary Amelia Martin, whom he married in Trinity Church, New York City, on August 10, 1833. Disapproving of this marriage, George Pitfield subsequently disinherited his son.

Oliver Pitfield appears to have been connected with steamships all of his adult life. He commanded the steamer "Arrow" in 1861 and is said to have been a blockade runner during the Civil War. This entry appears on a correspondence book of the Quartermaster General's Office, Confederate States: "Marine Dock Company, Mobile, claim for docking and repairing the Steamer "Arrow" in October, 1861, certificate by O.A. Pitfield commanding "Arrow" and Lieutenant J.D. Johnston, Confederate States Navy."

Oliver's name also appears in the "Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion". M.D. McAlester, Captain of Engineers and Chief Engineer noted a memorandum of information obtained from Mr. Pitfield, "who, as supervising inspector of steam-boats under the Federal Government before the war, has visited the whole navigable portions of the rivers ... I place the fullest confidence in the above statements of Mr. Pitfield, who is a very intelligent, truthful man, and whose occupations and opportunities have been such as to enable him to know and judge correctly as to these rivers." He is also listed as a reliable source of information in another entry concerning the Mobile, Alabama area.

May Terry Gill, in her book of poetry, "Mind and Melody," credits this quotation to Oliver Pitfield: "A river has a unifying influence on the land it traverses." She also credits him as "United States Navy" however this connection has not been proven. He did have the title of "U.S. Supervising Inspector of Steamers" at New Orleans prior to the Civil War.

Oliver A. Pitfield died at his home on January 20, 1880 with the cause of death listed as "phthisis pulmonalis." As noted on the death certificate, "Deceased was married; a sea captain by occupation and a resident of the U.S. for 50 years." His wife Mary Amelia Martin died at No. 124 Terpsicore Street in New Orleans on February 12, 1885. The death certificate gives the cause of death as "chronic hepatitis" and states that the "Deceased was a resident of this city for 40 years." Both are buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in New Orleans.

The first child born to the union of George Washington Terry and Fannie Alabama Pitfield was named May. Born May 21, 1873, she probably was named for the month in which she was born. The young Terry family continued to live in New Orleans until the autumn of 1873 when George began his return trip to Arkansas.

GREENER PASTURES

"In the summer of 1873 with wife and one child I moved to south Arkansas and on the 8th day of January 1874 I moved into my first home of my own and located in the town of Prescott, Arkansas." This statement by George W. Terry makes one surmise that he was probably living with relatives in New London between the summer of 1873 and January 8, 1874. Doubtless he was preparing for the move to Prescott in Nevada county.

The State of Arkansas was re-admitted to the Union in 1868. From that point it suffered under Reconstruction with the rest of the southern states until 1874 when an independent state government was allowed. Nevada county was created by an act of the Arkansas Legislature on March 20, 1871 and was carved out of Hempstead, Ouachita and Columbia counties. Nevada county was named for the state of the same name but of different pronunciation ("nuh-vay'-dah"). Courts were held at Mount Moriah, the temporary county seat, until the permanent seat was located at Rosston in the winter of 1871. On October 6, 1874 the Nevada county Board of Supervisors entered an order incorporating the town of Prescott (pronounced "press-cut").

The Cairo and Fulton railroad (later a part of the Missouri Pacific) had been constructed across the northern end of Nevada county in the summer of 1873. Townsites had been laid out for the town of Boughton on the eastern county line and Emmet on the western line. After the railroad had been laid to Emmet, the line was extended to the village of Moscow two miles south of where Prescott would be located. In August, 1873 railroad and county surveyors laid out the town of Prescott, comprising 24 blocks on each side of the railroad right of way.

Within two weeks a small frame storehouse was built by Robert Burns on West Main and First streets. The lumber was hauled by E.F. Gee from his father's sawmill four miles north of the townsite. On the next Sunday, Rev. Thomas Aaron, a traveling Methodist minister, delivered a sermon in the building. Two weeks later a general merchandise store was built and a restaurant opened under a tent on the east side of the railroad.

The young Terry family had arrived at a very exciting time in the town of Prescott. New construction was constant, and George lost no time in securing property. He purchased several town lots and his wife, Fannie, acquired property in her own name in 1881. George went into partnership with his distant cousin, James Monroe Gill, who also had come to Prescott. The partnership of Terry and Gill lasted a few years and resulted in several business ventures, mostly in real estate. George eventually settled into the drugstore business and also sold general merchandise. He wrote that he "opened up a retail business in Prescott in 1875," and by1888, the town of Prescott had eight drug stores. George purchased one of the stores, owned by John M. Milburn, in May, 1889.

Like the town of Prescott, the George W. Terry family also was growing. The first child born to the couple in Prescott was Laura Eleanor Terry in 1875. Then followed Lula Pitfield Terry (1877), George Jefferson Terry (1879), Stephen Hill Terry (1880), Howard Terry (1882), Earl Terry (1884) and John Wesley Terry (1887).

Because George was raised as a Methodist and Fannie as Episcopalian, the family’s church affiliation at this point is not clear. In a 1995 interview with Helen Terry Marshall, daughter of Howard Terry, she recalled family stories of Episcopal church services held in the George Terry home. An article in the Arkansas Gazette stated the St. James’ Episcopal Church had opened in January, 1878 in Prescott, indicating that there were enough Episcopalians there to warrant the building of a church.

The Terry family took an active part in the social and political life of Nevada county. George was appointed as Postmaster on May 14, 1877. He was Circuit Clerk from 1885 through 1888 and was elected Alderman in 1887 and 1889. In 1888, he ran unsuccessfully for the office of Arkansas State Treasurer on the Greenback Party ticket. He was commander and adjutant of the Walter Bragg Camp No. 428 of the United Confederate Veterans in Prescott, and also was a member of the Masonic Lodge, American Legion of Honor, and Knights of Phythias. George wrote:

"I was also appointed Post Master of Prescott which I held most of the time until the election of President Garfield in 1881 at this time the Prescott Post Office began to attract political attention and became one of the party spoils. So I had to step down and out to give place to a republican. In 1884 I was nominated for Clerk of the Circuit Court and ex-officio County and Probate Court and elected again in 1886. In 1888 I was nominated by the Independent Peoples Party on the State ticket for Secretary of the State of Arkansas. And no doubt was elected by a good majority. In Little Rock there at least eight boxes stolen from the court house, door prised open and the crowbar left at door in evidence. But the result which was never published as the number of votes I received was really a financial favor to me. I was placed on the ticket without my full consent because I was making considerably more out of my drug store than the salary of Secretary which business I would have had to give up. I also had a good home with a large family in which I would have had to make changes. And in the Canvass I never left home. I did not make a speech or spend a nickel in interest of my election. I only refer to this to show how corrupt politics was then in 1888 and politics has become more corrupt as the years have gone by."

DARK CLOUDS

The Terry family also suffered its share of setbacks. Stephen Hill Terry, the fifth child of Fannie and George, died in 1882 at age 18 months (this occurred on May 13, 1882, George Terry’s 41st birthday). Fannie Pitfield Terry died five days after giving birth to John Wesley Terry on January 21, 1887. The infant also died seven months later. Sometime during this period of time, Fannie’s sister, Louisiana Pitfield, moved to Prescott. She most likely came to care for the family and remained in Prescott until her death on October 19, 1904.

As George recalled, "My children were of the age when they most need a mother’s care. I concluded to seek some one who would care for them in a motherly way and on the 9th of February 1888 I married a Miss Jennie Feemster of Little Rock, Arkansas, who proved to be a faithful and kind stepmother and a congenial Christian wife and companion to me."

Jennie O. Feemster brought the Terry family into the Presbyterian fold. May Terry is the first Terry family member listed on the roll of Cumberland Presbyterian Church Prescott, February 22, 1888. By March 25 of that year, George and his bride, Jennie, also had joined the Cumberland Church. George was elected Deacon October 15, 1888, and Elder July 8, 1899. Jennie was president of the Missionary Aid Society. Daughters Laura and Lula joined June 17, 1888; followed by George Jefferson, October 12, 1890; and Howard, October 31, 1897. The youngest child, Earl Terry, is not found on the roster.

Like George’s mother, Jennie was a strict Presbyterian in the old traditions. Remembrances of one of George’s granddaughters, Helen Terry Marshall, confirms this. Helen recalled the stories told by her father and grandfather concerning Sunday activities. No cooking was done on Sunday and likewise no coffee brewing. George resorted to warming day-old cups of coffee near a heating fire or outdoors in the hot sun. Howard Terry, George’s son and father of Helen, also told stories about not being allowed to play on the Sabbath. He would spend several lonely hours watching other children in the neighborhood at play while he was restricted to things spiritual.

George W. Terry was not without some vices, at least in his early years. In his memoirs he wrote:

"I contracted the tobacco habit while a soldier in the Civil War. It seemed that I was a natural tobacco worm for it did not make me sick to use it but it gradually got the best of my nerves. And after using it 16 years I became almost a tobacco fiend and believed that I must quit its use or it would shorten my life. And believing this, I must admit according to the Bible that I would die a surcid. So while wife and children were all sleeping on the night of the 16th of November 1881 I resolved by the help of God to forever abstain from any further use of tobacco. And God has helped me to keep that pledge until this good day. And I further quit selling it in any shape or form or keeping it in my store as long as I remained in business.

"I also in August 1894 declared myself a teetotalist so far as alcoholic beverages was concerned. And have never touched it since only strictly when administered as necessary in sickness. And also about 20 years ago I abandoned the use of coffee absolutely. And seldom ever have head ache since I quit drinking coffee."

Few records and remembrances now exist concerning life in the Terry household under the guidance of Jennie. The family appears to have been active in church and community activities. The eldest daughter, May, taught school while brothers George and Howard became interested in their father’s business ventures. Then, little by little, the family matured, established families of their own, and moved on.

Life took a great change in the Terry household shortly after the turn of the century. George "moved from Prescott Ark early in 1906. I entered in to the real estate and fire insurance" business in the new city of Sulphur, Indian Territory. One might speculate why George would close an established business and start all over again in new lands. This may in part be answered by his granddaughter, Helen Terry Marshall. She recalled that George was working day and night at the drug store, not to mention his other business interests, in Prescott. Plus, his health was in decline and local doctors recommended that George get outdoors. Perhaps, too, he was ready for a change and relished another chance to get in on the ground floor of another enterprise. Taking the doctors' advice to heart, he closed the business, sold some of his property and left his home of 30 years. "Those doctors gave me good advice," George later said. "I have outlived them all."

THE SULPHUR SPRINGS

People always have been taken by the promise of a miracle cure. Such was the case in any location fortunate enough to have mineral spring waters nearby. Hot Springs and Eureka Springs in Arkansas were two of the most famous in the south. Visitors by the thousands flocked to these locations searching for renewed health and recreation. One of the later day and perhaps lesser known "Fountains of Youth" is located at Sulphur, Oklahoma. As generally the case, the mineral spring waters were first used by the Indians (in this case the Chickasaw tribe) and later "discovered" by the white man. The springs at Sulphur are bromide and sulphur which the white man quickly learned also flowed money. Seeing a profitable enterprise in the mineral waters, the Sulphur Springs Indian Territory Resort was built in 1892.

The village of Sulphur did have a number of hotels and was doing fairly well prior to 1900. But because the land which the springs occupied was allotted by the United States Government as an Indian reservation, a dispute arose as to the ownership of the property. This tended to discourage further development in the area. However, most of this was resolved by 1905, and the promotion of the healing waters of Sulphur, Indian Territory began in earnest.

Sulphur was fortunate in that it was served by two railroads, the Frisco and the Santa Fe. During the spring of 1905, a Frisco excursion train with 600 passengers in six coaches arrived. On another occasion, 1700 tourists arrived on an excursion and many chose to stay. The population of Sulphur doubled to 3500 in just four months.

By October 22, 1905, the 374 vacant lots in the townsite had sold for a total of $18,400, and January, 1906 dawned with great promise. Sulphur had 50 two-story, brick and stone buildings, and as many scheduled for the coming year. There were hotels, a telephone company, electric lights, automobiles, and all of the other refinements of the day. The population quickly grew to more than 4000 inhabitants.

George W. Terry remained in the real estate and fire insurance business until "Fall of 1910 (when) I sold to F.T. Gafford." It appears that during those times Jennie’s health was failing, and George sought out the care of a doctor for her. Dr. John Minos Feemster Gill had married May Terry in 1893 and had established a medical practice in Cameron, Texas. George and Jennie stayed with Dr. Gill’s family in Cameron until Jennie’s death on April 11, 1912. She was laid to rest in the Gill family plot in the Oak Hill Cemetery at Cameron.

Jennie's death was a great loss to George and his family, as she had guided the family and raised the children as if they were her own. Lovingly referred to as "our little step-mamma" by May Terry Gill, Jennie was revered by all. George was so stricken by the loss that he felt compelled to reflect upon his life up until that time, composing The Boy who fell into the Spring. [ See Appendix B ]

George returned to his home in Sulphur, Oklahoma and continued active in church and civic affairs. He also began to travel, visiting with his friends and family, and seemed to take a keen interest in his family and corresponded with several family researchers. This also was the time that May Terry Gill began attempting to establish a membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. George recorded various events of his life and gave copies to any of the children who were interested. He also kept up with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren by recording their births and marriages. [ See Appendix C ]

During his travels, George spent considerable time with his children in their homes. His surviving grandchildren recall that his visits were frequent and greatly enjoyed by all. It was during one of those visits that George saw his first, and probably last, motion picture.

Howard Terry, like his father George, was a man of many interests and investments. One of Howard’s pursuits was the new motion picture business, and he saw the great potential of the industry. He established a movie house in a room above his drugstore and sold concessions at the soda fountain after a film. Howard’s venture was not met with enthusiasm by some of the community clergy. And George Terry firmly believed that it was the work of the devil!

In an attempt to change his father’s ideas about the venture, Howard finally persuaded George to view a film with a Biblical theme. It is not clear which movie he saw, but he seemed tolerant of it until there was a dance scene. At this point George walked out of the theater, more confident that ever that Satan was at work.

In his later years, George lived with his daughter Lula Stephens and her family in Sulphur. He continued to correspond with family and friends but travel was becoming a burden. This was during the Great Depression and everyone was needed to help make ends meet. George drew a very modest Confederate veteran pension of $250 per year from the State of Oklahoma, and he also helped out in the Stephens' small grocery store. This business appears to have been located on the residential property, adjacent to the Chickasaw Recreational Area. Times were very hard for the family and George’s health was beginning to fail.

DEATH OF AN OLD SOLDIER

Prior to the observance of George’s ninetieth birthday, family members decided to honor their father with a family reunion. Although they were widely dispersed, almost all of the descendants made the pilgrimage to Sulphur. This tradition was carried on for five years until at last, the old soldier faded away.

News of George Washington Terry's passing was announced to the world through the United Press News Service:

CONFEDERATE VETERAN DIES AT SULPHUR, OKLA.

SULPHUR, Okla., Oct 12 (UP) - George W. Terry, 95, the last surviving member of company G, ninth regiment, Arkansas volunteer infantry of the Confederate army, died yesterday at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Lula Wright Stephens.

He will be buried at Prescott, Ark., tomorrow.

Terry, a native of Atlanta, Ga., was a pioneer citizen of Prescott and had lived in Sulphur since 1905.

Besides Mrs. Stephens survivors include Mrs. J.M.F. Gill, Abilene, Texas; Mrs. Laura E. Dickinson, Norman; George J. Terry, Batesville, Ark; Howard Terry, Conway, Ark.; Earl Terry, Houston, Texas; 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

GEORGE W. TERRY, 95, DIES AT SULPHUR, OKLA.

Funeral Services to Be Held Here for Pioneer Prescott Man.

George W. Terry, 95, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Lula Stephens at Sulphur, Okla., Sunday, the remains being brought to Prescott today for burial Tuesday morning. Mr. Terry is survived by three daughters, Mrs. May Gill of Abilene, Texas, Mrs. Lula Stephens of Sulphur and Mrs. Laura Dickinson of Norman, Okla., and three sons George J. Terry of Batesville, Ark., Howard Terry of Conway, Ark., and Earl Terry of Houston, Texas.

Mr. Terry was born near Atlanta, Ga., in 1841, removing with his parents to Union county, Ark., when he was a child; he served throughout the Civil War under General Forrest and was the last survivor of his army company. In January, 1874, when the town was less than six months old, Mr. Terry located in Prescott, opening a drug store; he was postmaster at Prescott from 1875 to 1881 and was county and circuit clerk of Nevada county from 1884 to 1888. He retired from business in 1902 removing to Sulphur, Okla., where he resided until his death.

Funeral services will be held at the First Presbyterian church Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock, burial at De Anne cemetery. Following are the pallbearers;

Active: S.O. Logan, W.P. Murrah, Horace McKenzie, Ira Gee, Charlie Tompkins, H.J. Wilson. Honorary: W.V. Tompkins, Dan Pittman, Charlie Pittman, Thomas McRae, F.E. Murrah, M.H. Bailey, H. Vick Scott, Hunter Scott, Imon Gee, Dr. Sam B. Gee, Watt White, R.P. Hamby, Sam T. White, W.R. White, R.I. Blakely, W.T. Hart, M.W. Greeson, Dr. S.J. Hesterly, Pomeroy Whitten, J.M. Kenser, George Christopher, A.M. Denman, T.E. Logan.

On June 26, 1872, Mr. Terry was married to Miss Fannie Pitfield, daughter of Capt. and Mrs. Oliver A. Pitfield of New Orleans. Mrs. Terry died in January, 1887.

The News joins the many friends of the family in expressing deepest sympathy.

Among George's descendants are found educators, explorers, poets, engineers, writers, business leaders, musicians, scholars, entrepreneurs and dreamers. His personal accomplishments include reading the Bible completely through 45 times. And whether by blood or circumstance, George W. Terry set the course of many lives today. His words and actions affected his children, and in turn guided their children. Perhaps today George still affects his descendants with his ideals. In reflecting upon his life's experience, George commented to his grandchildren, "And if I had not made it, you would not be here today."

APPENDIX A

 

JAMES MCCLURE AND HIS WIFE MARY GASTON

James McClure, a patriot, was captured by Tories while molding bullets from his wife's pewter vessels. The bullets were intended for South Carolina troops.

-DAR Lineage Book, 1933 Vol CXXXV, member 134955, pages 300-301

Mary Gaston McClure, a patriotic woman, valiantly defended the American Cause in the presence of the Tory, Captain Christian Huck. For her defiance, Captain Huck struck Mary in the face with the flat of his sword. Huck was killed at the Battle of Huck's Defeat on July 12, 1780.

-DAR Lineage Book, volume 62, page 175, Oklahoma City, member 61510

Hugh McClure (great grandfather of George W. Terry) was wounded in the American Revolution and left crippled for life.

Elizabeth Gaston, sister of Mary Gaston McClure, married John Knox. Their son, Dr.James Knox had a daughter named Jane Knox. Jane Knox married Samuel Polk in 1794, and their son, James Knox Polk, was the 11th President of the United States.

-Hanna's Historical Collection of Harrison County, Ohio

 

THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN JOHN MCCLURE

Captain John McClure was a son of James and Mary Gaston McClure. His mother was a sister of Justice John Gaston. He is the great grand uncle of George Washington Terry. This poem written by Dr. Richard Wylie of Lancaster, S.C., prior to the Civil War, as a memorial to Captain John McClure of Revolutionary fame.

Captain McClure was from Chester District, S.C. who fell at the Battle of Hanging Rock, Bravely fighting, where he always stood, in front of his Company. He commanded the Chester Rocky Creek Irish, who, like himself, were always first on the field of fight and the last to leave it.

Said Sumter, "Good men must be lost,

At yonder point, I see",

McClure replied, "That is the post

For Rocky Creek and Me."

McClure was brave, they called him rash,

He fought to win, or die;

I saw the fierce electric flash

Of battle in his eye.

The contest raged, - the field was red,

For blood in torrents ran;

Some bravely fought - perhaps some fled

But every single man

From Rocky Creek, led by McClure,

A daring front did show;

Their well aimed rifles, deadly sure,

Laid many a Red Coat low.

Though in their ranks red carnage stood

Naught could their courage quell;

Three Gastons dying, mingled blood,

A fourth one wounded fell.

His cheek was shattered ere he sunk,

by which good mark we know;

A Gaston ne'er turned back or shrunk,

Before his country's foe.

A bullet struck our Captain's thigh,

He plugged the gushing wound;

"Advance", he cried, "let's win or die",

"On, on - we are gaining ground".

Like hail the Tory bullets poyr,

Among his bleeding band;

Yet high above the battle's roar

Was heard his stern command.

"Take aim, the Tory columns rake,

"Who fears the soldier's grave?

"No prisoner make,

"The British suppliant save".

Then came the tug - the deadly strife,

Where all that's good and kind

And all that makes man cling to life

Is left far, far behind.

I saw mad Fury's blood-shot eye,

Where goodness dwelt before;

And, brother did by brother lie,

And roll in mingled gore.

Just then, oh heaven! why, why was it so,

Could not stern fate relent?

A tory's bullet through and through

Our Captain's bosom went.

He fell as brave men always fall,

Teeth set and sword in hand;

His friends ran up - some few, not all,

He gave his last command:

"Waste not your lead - take deadly aim,

Shoot when a mark you find;

Rush to the fight - your country's claim

Is stronger far than mine."

"Go, go - I'm in the arms of death,

Stop not for me - no - no;

Club guns and charge them to the teeth, Crush the d'nd Tories, go

Crush the d'nd Tories, go!"

I saw the men the clubbed gun wield,

Their arms were red and bare;

Mercy fled shrieking from the field,

And vengeance revelled there.

Shot, armor's clang, mad charge and flight

Swept o'er that rocky hill;

Behind were groan, death, sob and fright,

The dead alone were still.

A moment - and the wild uproar

Had ceased - the fight was gone

Low - with eighteen brethren more,

Lay Chester noblest son.

Thus fell McClure, the truly brave,

And filled the patriot's tomb;

Where that man rests beyond the grave,

Let that place be my home.

 

Tank's Own Bard, Lancasterville, S.C.

from the Travis McClure collection, Wichita Falls, Texas, 1994

 

APPENDIX B

(Appears to have been written by George Washington Terry shortly after 1912 when Jennie Feemster Terry the "2nd occupant of the Mothers Chair" died. It is written in pencil on ruled paper and is in very poor condition. From the Florence Gill McCall collection. )

Written by Papa, his life story

The Boy who fell into the Spring

or Pictures on Memories' Wall

Some times it is pleasant past time for the mind to enter the Hall of Memory and review each picture again as it hangs there on memories wall.

How eagerly we examine them from the old stand points, which too remain only in memory. In some we gather only sad sweet recollections of things and scenes almost forgotten. Our home of early childhood. The dear old family fireside at our mother's knees. Our old play houses in the corner of the yard decked with fresh Dogwood blossoms. There again we meet the childish faces of Brother and Sister with playmates long since scattered to the four winds far away from each other, Many of whom have been called from the walls of time to eternity.

We see the old spring from which we dipped water with long since departed mother flowing from a cleft in the rock (and is still flowing). We see a certain little boy pitch head foremost into the spring and rescued by the good old Colored Woman. (perhaps it would have better had she not done so). Yes there is the old wren's nest in the bank among the Honey suckle bushes. Oh this picture is so solemnly vivid and yet more than sixty years in the past. (Not let us follow the "boy" who fell in the Spring)

He has grown a little both in age and stature when we see him in little Billie Jones' school house. A mile from Home and Mama he restless and does enjoy school but wants his dear Sweet Mama. The years swiftly pass. And the boy has grown more. And is mingling with his school fellows with independence and a knowledge of his rights. And in this picture, these familiar faces of his fellow schoolmates only remains in the picture on the wall. They have been scattered too, the most of them have "crossed over to the other side" for that has been over 50 years ago. Let us pass on to the next picture in which we now see him (the boy who fell into the Spring) almost a young man. And surrounded in school with many others of his age looking forward and preparing for useful prosperous lives. All is peaceful and full of hope and ambition.

"But Hark" Just at this juncture an unusual sound breaks in. All are at attention "It - is!! it is, the Cannons opening roar" (Fort Sumpter). The war bugle sounds. Books are lain aside - school is ignored. And empty desks only show where those brave young hearts were want to be. And the teacher stands alone looking out after his beloved students, as they press toward the battle front. And among them we see the boy (who fell into the Spring) now not 21. He is now a real soldier with uniform of "grey" and equipped for battle. This picture shows a loving sad faced mother standing by the road side and as the boy soldiers, as if passing in review, takes the last lingering "look and farewell" of that Precious sweet "Mother Sweet Mother" never to meet again on Earth (Oh the cruelty of war!) There is no time to stop or linger now, his place is in line, and he must move on. Oh the sadness of that moment. She was soon called home to Heaven and now after 50 years that boy is still walking among men on Earth.

We follow him through hardships and exposures common to soldier. And now after months have passed we see him far from his home and native state. War Clouds are gathering. Deep rumbling tones of the coming storm are heard. And the loud pealing of the heavy artillery begins to jar the very earth and to crash the timber overhead. The boy stands now in the front rank (his file leader having been wounded) ready for orders. The storm of battle grows fiercer. Men are falling all around. At last the order to "Charge the Hornet's Nest" (that had defied regiment after regiment) comes from Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson is with you becking who lead the Charge. (Johnson receives death wound in the charge) On they charge into the thickest of the scene of Carnage. The smoke clears, the enemies line is broken and the field is strewn with the dead and dying. (Horrible scene) but where is the boy? (who fell into the Spring) there; see him standing with smoking gun 20 paces in front of the main line by the side of his Captain (W. J. Wallace) and if you will follow him through dreadful four years of the civil strife you will find him in many like scenes as described above and in the last infantry charge of the war. Made at Bentonville North Carolina. But we will pass on to another picture. One of sadness and sorrow. Here we see the overpowered boys(for they fought the unequal fight of 1 Conf to nearly 4 USA) As they return to the once proud Sunny South thy find amidst desolation and ruin their loved homes had either been destroyed or wrecked by the their brothers in blue. What the boy? See him there as he enters his old home. It seems no more like home. No it never can be any more. With no Mother to greet him or sweet sister to receive him but instead Empty Chairs, empty rooms. Mother gone from earth. and sister no longer a member of the blessed old home of his childhood. He turns away and to the sacred grave to pour out his lamentations and his tears. There alone with God. And sweet Memory of Mother. He rises. And standing he looks out on a desolate county. And himself divested of all means by the cruel fate of war. All gone except Hope, Honor and the same determination that led them to the front at first. With these principles living and burning in the breasts of the overpowered Veterans, we will not desert our native land although so shamefully devastated. We will stay with her and build her up. A new South that will astonish the world as our efforts did in defence of our "Lost Cause" did. And now after 49 years, it is done. And yet there is more to follow.

Now let us pass on to another picture. More personal to the "Boy"(who fell into the Spring). As years pass the old home is abandoned and almost forgotten, but we see a new bright happy mother surrounded by a group of happy cheerful little ones. And the "boy" is Father to this new home. All is brightness joy and happiness. But only for a season. Death knocks, enters and casts his dark withering shadow across the threshold. Joy departs and sorrow and sadness enters. Soon again, the unwelcome messenger calls. Yea, and the third call is made. And from the Center of the beloved Circle the precious Mother is pushed. Sadness, gloom, desolation and distress reigns because the "Mother Bird" is gone. And her nestlings are left to battle against coming events as best they may. Chaos is enthroned. The Father is unable to bring about order. And fails in the struggle to do so for he knows not the soft soothing loving touch of a mother. His voice is not the mothers voice. See him on his knees pleading with his Heavenly Father for light and guidance in this hour of trouble. God answers. "The Chair" is no longer vacant. And from its new occupant radiates love, sympathy and kindness for the little ones. And their little hungry hearts are tenderly drawn to her and filled with genuine love for the new occupant. Once more order and happiness is established. And once more the home is cheery and bright.

We now pass to the closing picture. After the lapse of 28 years this home is much changed again. It is lonely now for it is almost deserted. Now there but the old ones. The boy that fell into the Spring and his beloved 2nd occupant of the Mothers Chair.

One by one the Nestlings have grown to maturity and made nests of their own. And now live for themselves. The mother looking Heavenward says, Father have I accomplished thy will in the work thou gavest me to do?

The Answer comes "She hath done what she could" and a rich crown awaits thee. And she further pleads that each jewel entrusted to her may all be hers to present to the Master through her, as the humble instrument in his hand and with out the loss of one.

APPENDIX C

October 25, 1923

Letter to grandaughter Pauline Gill Cunningham, daughter of John and May Terry Gill on the event of her marriage to R.D. Cunningham in Burkburnett, Texas

My Dear Polly,

Although while not actually and personally present but in keen imagination we held a reflective in our minds; a view of the real nuptial scene, at that time 8:30 pm Oct. 24th 1923, being enacted in the home of beloved parents, and from our quiet corner beheld with hearts filled to overflowing with loving congratulations, prayers and hopes for the precious Bride and Groom of the occasion, withholding no wish for the promotion of their future happiness as they gently went their way with unison of step, thought and purpose. True Co-workers, hand in hand in all of life’s undertakings. And may no needless storms or billowing waves be known to them. And a pacific quietude ever prevail. And the gentle days of the Son of Peace ever greet them though their days, and always safely protected under the shadow of His loving wings through their nights, until the landing is safely made on the Golden Shore of the great beyond.

Lovingly Grandfather

 

APPENDIX D 

Confederate Veteran magazine 1928

 

Dr. E.E. Rowland

After a long and useful life, our beloved comrade, Eugene E. Rowland, died at his home at Ruston, Louisiana on September 5, 1928.

Dr Rowland enlisted in Captain R.M. Wallace's company, in June, 1861, which later became Company G, of the 9th Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, of which he proved a faithful member to the final surrender at Greensboro, N.C., in May, 1865.

This company had upon its roll more than a hundred and fifty men, but today this writer stands alone as the only living member of that noted old Company G, which followed General Albert Sidney Johnston to his death at Shiloh and was with General Joseph E. Johnston at Bentonville, N.C. in his last battle.

(signed) George W. Terry, Sulphur, Okla.

 

OBITUARIES

 

-George Jefferson Terry, son of George Washington Terry-

 

Prominent Local Man Killed in Car Accident

Batesville citizens were shocked and grieved Friday when it became known that one on our beloved and most highly respected citizens, Mr. George Jefferson Terry was killed in an automobile wreck at about 1 o'clock Friday morning.

The fatal accident occurred near Cave City at a very sharp and hazardous curve approaching a bridge. Mr. Terry was returning home from a business trip to Carthage, Mo., with his partner, Mr. Roy N. Jeffery, with whom he was associated in the operation of the Arkansas Black Marble Company.

Mr. Jeffery was driving his Lincoln car. As he made the approach on the bridge the rear wheels became crossed in the loose gravel causing the car to overturn several times. Mr. Terry was killed instantly, his body being thrown from the moving automobile. While Mr. Jeffery received severe body bruises and lacerations, his condition is not considered extremely serious. He was brought to Batesville and given medical attention at the Johnston-Craig Hospital and later removed to his home where his is recuperating.

Mr. Terry was 60 years of age. He came to Batesville in 1909 from Prescott, Ark., where he was born and reared, and where he was engaged in the drug business. For many years he operated an extensive drug business in Batesville and has throughout his residence here been interested in various business enterprises. His chief business interest at the time of his passing was in the Arkansas Black Marble Company, a business in which he had spent many years in intensive study and work. He was Deputy United States District Clerk under Mr. Grady Miller of Little Rock.

The deceased is survived by his wife, four children: Mrs. Terry Griffith, Little Rock; Mrs. James B. Rasco, DeWitt; George J. Terry, Jr., Greenville, Miss.; Howard L. Terry, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.; one grandson, Howard Griffith of Batesville; three sisters, Mrs. J.M.F. Gill, Abilene, Texas; Mrs. William Stephens, Sulphur, Okla.; two brothers, Howard Terry, Conway; and Earl Terry, Houston, Texas.

Mr. Terry was a member of the First Methodist Church of this city and has always been keenly interested in civic matters.

Funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock from the First Methodist Church with the Rev. Allen D. Stewart officiating. Funeral arrangements will be in charge of the Crouch Funeral home.

Batesville, Arkansas, Friday, April 19,1940

George Jefferson Terry

(AN EDITORIAL)

By Jared E. Trevathan

The untimely passing of one of our fellow townsmen, Mr. George Jefferson Terry, on Friday morning has deeply saddened Batesville citizens. The crushing news of his death in an automobile accident near Cave City leaves his friends with heavy hearts and overcome with speechless grief.

It is hard for to give up our loved ones at any time, but for them to be snatched from us without a moments warning seems a cruel test of our mental and physical forces, yet we do know that beyond the feeble grasp of mortal hands there is an anchor to which we can cling for aid and comfort in such trying experiences of life.

I am happy that I can say that I have known George Terry since my boyhood days. He was our neighbor in the formative years of my life, and I can truthfully say that I have always considered him to be a man of high ideals and fine purpose.

He was affectionately known to his intimate friends as "Brother George," and that is the way I always spoke to him. He was a man who had great and unbounding love for his family and was always loyal to his friends.

To say that George Terry will be missed in our social and civic life is by no means a meaningless phrase. He was respected by all who knew him for his noble qualities which men admire.

To his good wife with whom it has been my privilege of intimate association in a business way for many years, and to his family of children and other loved ones, we know that we are joined with the entire community in extending deep and tender feelings of sympathy in their great hour of sorrow. 

In Memoriam

A tribute to George J. Terry who lost his life in a car accident April 19, was read in Dr. H.W. Jinske's class at the First Methodist church school Sunday morning. It follows:

"Once more so soon our class convenes in the shadow of another automobile tragedy in which another beloved member of our class, George J. Terry has lost his life. Another vacant seat, another voice silent in death, another sorrow sweeps the heart strings of our class and brings grief to a host of kindred and friends.

"We shall miss his quiet unobtrusive mannerism, his general smile and friendly greetings, his interest in our Christian ministry and helpful co-operation in all our work.

"With sad hearts we cherish his memory as we suffer the loss of a friend."

----------------

At the funeral service for Mr. Terry at the church Sunday afternoon Rev. A.D. Stewart, pastor of the church who officiated gave a brief biographical sketch and concluded with the following:

"It was when I was a guest in the Terry home nearly four years ago that I first knew and loved Brother George Terry. Later when I came here as pastor of this church our friendship was renewed. It was on Monday, I think, after my first sermon that Brother Terry called to me across Main street down near the Post Office. When he reached my side of the street he began to express his appreciation of the sermon of Sunday, and to tell me how it had helped and encouraged him. As we talked together I learned that in early life he had been thoroughly saturated with a knowledge of the Scriptures, and that he came to the Sanctuary with a sincere desire for help and inspiration.

"Many times since then he has gone out of his way to talk with me about the sermon of the Sunday just past; and I found the he came more nearly getting all of every sermon he heard than any one who has ever talked with me about our services.

I loved him devotedly: and in his going I feel a keen sense of personal loss."

A Tribute

Tom Shiras, editor of the "Baxter Bulletin," Mountain Home paper, pays the following tribute in his editorial column to the late George J. Terry:

George Terry, who met a tragic death in a car wreck on Thursday of last wee, was one of Batesville's outstanding citizens and one of the finest characters we ever met. Few men do anything outstanding. George Terry did. He gave the United States domestic black marble. Twenty five years ago he showed me samples of black marble from around Batesville, and compared it with samples he had from Belgium. His conclusion was that the Arkansas samples were better, and since that time, has been developing the industry at Batesville.

Besides this one outstanding accomplishment, George was not all for George, but had the good of his community and state in his heart. We do not know what his religion was, but we know that he was a man who trod the paths of righteousness, decency, and truthfulness. His religion, or code of life, was one that could be followed by any man who wanted to live the right kind of a life, and be a benefit and help to the community in which he lived and the world at large. Men who contribute to the progress of the world are men who can see a little bit farther ahead than the rank and file. George had this quality; a conservation, constructive vision, that added to the progress of the section in which he lived. He was a fine husband and father and raised a fine family, who will further contribute to the betterment of the world. George Terry is a man who will be missed by his friends. The memory of him will live in their minds until the last one passes away. A memory of a man who trod the right kind of path; a charitable, friendly man, whose life on this earth made it better by his living.

 

A HEAVY COMMUNITY LOSS

The sudden and untimely death of George J. Terry leaves the entire community saddened.

Few people in the community could count more true, personal friends than he could. His career here was a long and useful one and he made a distinct and lasting contribution to the city and county.

He was a useful citizen who took a real personal interest in his community and his neighbors. He was a druggist of the old school - a personal druggists. Because of his love for people - poor and rich, high and low - he was far more than a competent druggist. He was a personal friend and confidential adviser to many, many families. Few business men in Batesville won the love and respect of his community that George Terry enjoyed during his career.

He was an optimistic, tenacious pioneer. His pioneering in the field of black marble development in this section has unquestionably won for him a permanent niche in Batesville's Hall of Fame. He bucked discouraging odds, he convinced skeptics, he sold hard-boiled construction buyers, he kept plugging until he had Batesville black marble on the world's construction materials map - turning what was once barren, worthless hillsides into bustling, profitable quarries. The industry he created has gradually moved out of the pioneering phase. it is growing into what should prove a living monument to a grand character.

The loss of citizen of George Terry's type is not only a crushing loss to his family and loved ones, it is a distinct blow to the entire community.

Batesville Arkansas newspaper

Note: George J. Terry’s wife Laura appointed to succeed him as deputy United States court clerk at Batesville

 

-Howard Terry, son of George Washington Terry-

Howard Terry

Howard Terry, aged 66, veteran Conway druggist and real estate owner, died at the local Memorial hospital last Saturday. He first settled in Conway over 30 years ago, and had been active in the city's civic, commercial and religious life.

For many years, Mr. Terry, affectionately called "Pop" by his younger friends, operated the "Corner" and during this time he established an admirable relationship between himself and Arkansas State Teachers College. He was known and respected by succeeding generations of ASTC students, and through the years there were hardly any faculty members but claimed him as a real friend.

Teachers College and Conway community will miss this courteous entrepreneur of good will. Truly we were made happier for his having lived in our midst.

The Echo, Publication of Arkansas State Teachers College, Conway, Arkansas

from Conway, Arkansas newspaper:

Howard Terry Succumbs at Noon Today

Howard Terry, 240 Donaghey Avenue, veteran druggist, merchant and real estate owner of Conway, died at 12 noon today at the Memorial hospital, following a series of heart attacks which began nearly two weeks ago. He was 66 years old.

Coming to Conway from Batesville 32 years ago Mr. Terry had an important life in the civic, commercial and religious life of this city for more than three decades.

He was born at Prescott, Ark., a son of the late George W. and Fannie Pittfield (sp) Terry, on July 30, 1882. Prior to going to Batesville, when he was in the drug business with a brother, he had conducted businesses at Prescott and Murfreesboro. At Conway he purchased a drug store which he conducted for many years, later acquiring the "corner store" near the Teachers college campus, which he and Mrs. Terry successfully operated for a long time before disposing of it several years ago. The Terry’s also acquired a number of valuable pieces of city and farm real estate. During recent months, Mr. Terry returned to he old profession as a pharmacist and was working at the W.D. Cox drug store when his last illness overtook him.

Mr. Terry was married June 8, 1904 to Miss Louise Brooks, who survives him. He is also survived by three daughters, Miss Frances Terry, member of the ASTC faculty, Mrs. Clara Thompson of Memphis and Mrs. Fred Marshall of Little Rock; two sisters, Mrs. Mary (sp) Gill of Abilene, Tex., and Mrs. Lula Stephens of Sulphur, Okla. one brother, Earle Terry of Houston, Tex., three grandsons, Curtis and Jimmie Thompson of Memphis and Fred Marshall of Little Rock, and one granddaughter, Helen Marshall of Little Rock.

Mr. Terry was a member of the Woodman and Masonic Fraternities and was a ruling elder and lifelong member of the Presbyterian church.

Funeral services will be held in the First Presbyterian church at 3 o’clock Sunday afternoon, conducted by the pastor, Rev. J. Russell Cross. Burial in charge of Doolin’s funeral home, will follow at Oak Grove cemetery.

Active pall-bearers will be Carl Moore, Robert A. McNutt, Dr. C.A. Archer, M.M. Satterfield, J.E. Ketner, James Stewart, Boyce Phifner, Kenneth Mosley and Robert W. Mosley. Honorary pall-bearers will be: B.M. Harton, Dr. Nolen M. Irby, George W. Reece, W.D. Cox, Merritt Simms, Guy R. Farris, Jesse Duffield, Dr. H.L. Minton and R.W. Tubbs (Mt. Vernon).

 

-May Terry Gill, daughter of George W. Terry-

Illness Fatal To Abilenian

Mrs. J.M.F. Gill, prominent church and civic leader in Abilene for the past 20 years, died in Hendrick Memorial Hospital at 7:30 pm Tuesday. She had been in ill health for several years but had remained active until a few weeks ago. She became seriously ill two days ago.

Mrs. Gill was born in New Orleans, La. She was the wife of the late Dr. J.M.F. Gill who was on the Abilene State Hospital staff here about 16 years.

She was a member of the Central Presbyterian Church and taught the Earnest Workers' Sunday School class for many years. She was assistant teacher at the time of her death. Mrs. Gill was also a member of the Abilene - Taylor County Medical Society Auxiliary, the Abilene Study Club and the Pen and Scroll Club of Texas. During World War I while Dr. Gill was in the Army, she was active in newspaper work at Burkburnett. She wrote short stories and had one volume of her poems published.

Mrs. Gill is survived by one daughter, Mrs. C.H. McCall of Pittsburgh, Penn. and one sister, Mrs. W.S. Stephens of Sulphur, Okla.

Funeral arrangements are pending arrival of Mrs. McCall. She is expected to arrive today at 1 p.m. Kiker-Warren Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Abilene Reporter-News, morning edition, February 2, 1949

 

Mrs. J.M.F. Gill Dies At Abilene

Mr. and Mrs. Allen C. Yates and small son, John Scott Yates and Mrs. Yates’ father, Mr. R.D. Cunningham of this city attended the funeral of Mrs. Yates grandmother Mrs. J.M.F. Gill, Thursday, at Cameron. The deceased who is well known in Electra, was the mother of the late Mrs. R.D. Cunningham of this city and has visited here many times during the past thirty years. She was prominent in church and civic work in Wichita County during her residence in Burkburnett where her husband Dr. J.M.F. Gill practiced medicine and she was engaged in newspaper work. She was a talented writer, wrote short stories and had a book of poems published. A poem she wrote in tribute to those who lost their lives in World War One has been used on Armistice Day and Memorial Day programs throughout the nation. Her husband served in the Army Medical Corps during that war.

Mrs. gill died as she lay asleep in the Kendrick Memorial Hospital in Abilene at about 7:50 PM Tuesday, February 1, shortly after Mr. Cunningham had visited at her bedside. She had been in ill health several years but remained active in church and civic work until two days before her death.

A native of New Orleans, La., Mrs. Gill and her husband formerly resided at Cameron but he was a member of the staff of the Abilene State Hospital about 16 years, immediately prior to his death. Funeral services were held Thursday morning at the Kiker-Warren Funeral Home in Abilene and graveside rites were held at Cameron cemetery where she was buried by the side of her husband.

Survivors include a daughter, Mrs. C.H. McCall of Pittsburgh, Pa., a sister, Mrs. W.C. Stephens, Sulphur, Okla.; a brother, Earl Terry, Houston; the grand-daughter Mrs. Allen C. (May Terry) Yates, Electra; grandson, Russell Cunningham, Waco; a great grandson, John Scott Yates, Electra.

Mrs. McCall of Pittsburgh was present for the funeral and expects to visit in the Yates home here before returning to Pennsylvania.

Electra Star-News, February 4, 1949, Electra, Texas

 

-Lula Pitfield Terry Wright Stephens, daughter of George W. Terry-

 

Rites Held for Mrs. Stephens

Mrs. Lula Stephens, 91, a resident of Sulphur since 1911 died at Arbuckle Memorial Hospital here July 17. Mrs. Stephens, who was quite active until her final illness, resided at 406 W. 12th. She spent much of her time the final years in crocheting and knitting and was an active member of St. Paul Methodist Church for many years. She was born December 2, 1877 in Prescott, Arkansas.

Funeral services were held Saturday, July 19 at 4 PM from the Chapel of the Bahner Funeral Home with Rev. David A. Eadie officiating, assisted by Dr. Thomas B. Ritzinger. Interment was in Oaklawn Cemetery.

Organist for the service was Mrs. Frieda Shaffer and Mrs. Shirley Myers sang "In the Garden" and "In the Sweet Bye and Bye".

Mrs. Stephens is survived by three grandchildren, Mary Lou Swain, Amarillo, Texas; Jimmie Embree, Fayetteville, N.C.; and Lela May Lennings, Pampa, Texas; nine great-grandchildren and a daughter-in-law, Mrs. Gladys Wright, Sulphur.

Pallbearers at the service were Lloyd Clinton, Bruce Govett, Robert Gowan, Leo Horsman, Bill Lance and Bill Heath.

Sulphur, OK newspaper Thursday July 24, 1969

 

-Earl Terry, son of George W. Terry-

 

TERRY

Mr. Earl Terry, 83, 629 Columbia, passed away Wednesday, Survived by: Wife, Mrs. Anna Terry, Houston; daughter, Mrs. Inez Sheppard, Houston; son, Chester R. Terry, Houston; sister, Mrs. Lula Stephens, Sulphur, Okla; two grandchildren; five great-grandchildren. Services will be Friday 1:30 PM Heights Chapel, with Rev. Robert Kalb officiating. Interment Brookside Memorial Park.

Houston Post,

Laura Eleanor Terry Dickinson

There is no trace at the time of this writing for Laura Terry. She married J.M. Dickinson and had one child, Ada May. Ada May married Earl E. Bradley according to papers in May Terry Gill’s collection.

The Dickinsons lived in Wapanuck, Johnston County, Oklahoma which is in the general vicinity of Sulphur, Oklahoma (G.W. Terry’s home in later years). J.M. Dickinson is listed as a registered voter in 1908 there in Wapanucka. G.W. Terry wrote of this family living in "Wappy" in the 1920s. Other family papers mention a residence in Oklahoma City.

Laura Terry is not mentioned as a surviving family member in her siblings obituaries after April, 1940. In George Jefferson Terry’s 1940 obituary, she is not mentioned by name. He is listed as having three surviving sisters, but only May and Lula are named.

This writer hired a professional researcher who was unable to uncover further information.

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