What little I know about Robert Fulton Terry, and a big mystery at the end.

Robert was born April 25, 1849, died March 19, 1900. He was listed in the 1850 and 1860 Union Parish Census, but was not in Union Parish in the 1870 census. Sometimes in the early 1870's he married Sarah Knotts, daughter of Dr. J.A. Knotts (who lived in AK). In Feb. 27, 1872, he sold cotton in Fort Smith, Ark. Sometime in 1873, he had a child, Walter, who was listed in the 1880 Union Parish census as 7 yrs. old. (Census in 1880 said he was born AK/LA?) The first time we show him back in LA was a letter dated Sept. 2, 1875, from T.J. Shields and John A. Lee, in Texas, to him in Downsville, LA. In a letter (from AK) dated November 21, 1875, (copy enclosed) from J.T. Tarks that his little baby had died in Sept. In a letter dated Feb. 4, 1876, John M. Terry asked Robt. F. to check the taxes on his place. John Monroe stated that he paid taxes in 1873, the last year he lived on the place. We think at that time he left to go to Texas. In a letter dated Feb. 23, 1876, Robt. F. received a letter from J.A. Knotts (his father-in-law), but there was no mention of Robert's wife or children.

Robert F. married Malissa Jan. 31, 1878. Robert and Malissa had and lost an unnamed baby in 1878. Now the mystery:

1880 census has Robert F., Malissa, Walter (b. AK), and Edgar (b. Feb. 1880). All my notes from family state that Sarah Knotts was the mother of both Walter and Edgar??? All our records state that Robert L. Terry was born Feb. 5, 1880. Robert L. Terry was not in the 1880 census, as in the household of Robert F. and Malissa. In the 1900 census, Robert L. is shown as born in Feb of 1880, but he did not show up in the 1880 census with Edgar. It appears that they renamed Edgar as Robert L. Terry and raised him as Malissa's child. As a note of interest and further mystery, Edgar was born two years after Robt. F. married Malissa. We have to say that we've seen no official document that states Edgar was Sarah Knott's child. It could be that Edgar was Robt. F. and Malissa's child all along, and they simply renamed him to pet Robert F.'s ego. We attempted to go the state of LA birth registry to check his birth certificate, but due to the devastation of New Orleans due to Katrina, we cannot get it at this time.


[i] This is a file sent to Mike Terry in an email October 10, 2007 by Roslyn Terry Johnson concerning a mystery in the family concerning Robert Fulton Terry.  It was originally from Bob Dixon Terry a cousin.