Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
History & Geography of Bradford County by Heverly
Bradford County PA
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Tioga County PA
Chapter 26 - Terry Township

History & Geography of Bradford County

By Clement F. Heverly

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Chapter XXVI  pp. 317-322

Terry Township

By Clement F. Heverly 
(Transcribed by Barbara Conrad)

Terry was so named in memory of Jonathan Terry, its first permanent settler. A part of the area of Terry was within the old Connecticut town of Springfield. The Indians called that section adjacent to the river (Terrytown) Chung-gote-heising.

Geographical.- Terry, comprising 1-37 of the area of Bradford county, is bounded northwest by Asylum, northeast by Wyalusing, from which it is separated by the Susquehanna river, southeast by Wilmot and west by Albany. Environed by mountains on the north, south and west, the surface of the township is high and hilly, except the flats along the river. The slope or trend is to the southeast and is drained by Sugar Run creek and other small streams flowing into the Susquehanna. A dense, primeval forest of white pine, hemlock, yellow pine, oak, ash, beech, chestnut, maple and other timber covered Terry; white pine was specially abundant and the finest in the county. Deer and ferocious beasts, panthers, bears and wolves, had their runways and lairs in this wild region. Shad and other fish swarmed the river. The township has an area of thirty-one square miles and was organized in 1859 by taking the place of Asylum, and changing Durell to Asylum; population 855 in 1920.

Before the Revolution.- Benjamin Budd of Southampton, Long Island, who had moved to Orange county, N. Y., "having tired of contending with rigorous climate and ungrateful soil, entered with enthusiasm into the new project of the Connecticut people for a colony on the Susquehanna river." Accordingly, he removed early with his wife, six sons and two daughters to Wyoming. Having purchased lots in Springfield, he erected a house and settled with his family at Terrytown in 1774. Budd’s three sons, John, Joseph, and Asa, took part with the Whigs, while he, though a non-combatant and pacificator, became obnoxious on account of suspected Tory sympathies and was obliged to retire to Wyoming. On the approach of the enemy, Mr. Budd and his family took refuge in the stockade. After the battle they started for Shamokin but finding lack of accommodations, pushed on to Northumberland. Here Mr. Budd and two of his sons died of smallpox. His wife, Rachel, and other members of the family were finally escorted to Orange county. None of the Budds ever returned to Terrytown.

The Pioneers.- Jonathan Terry was born in Connecticut, June 13, 1758. The greater part of his early life was spent in the Wyoming Valley, where he gave his heart and hand to the cause of Liberty. In 1786 he removed to Wyalusing, and the next year (1787) built a house at Terrytown and moved into it, thus becoming the founder of the village and the first permanent settler in what is now Terry township. He purchased a tract of 600 acres, which he occupied during his life. He was a typical pioneer, and noted for his genial nature and social qualities of a high order. For many years he was a Justice-of-the-peace and possessed the happy faculty of persuading litigants to settle their difficulties amicably. In 1806 he constructed his mansion in the wilds, which is yet standing, in an excellent state of preservation. Here the weary traveler found shelter and entertainment in early times, and here was the election place, when citizens came through the wilderness from what is now Overton, Albany, Asylum, Wilmot and Terry to vote. On Mr. Terry’s farm were erected the first grist-mill, saw-mill, tannery and distillery in the town. He also owned and operated the first ferry. Mr. Terry married Abigail, daughter of Uriah Terry. Their children were Jonathan, Abigail (Mrs. Edmund Dodge), William, Nathaniel, Mary (Mrs. Eben Horton), Uriah, Nathan, Ebenezer, Hiram, George and Deborah (1st Mrs. Gilbert Chamberlain, 2nd Mrs. Thomas Ingham). Mr. Terry died, 1833, aged seventy-five, and his wife, 1849, aged ninety-two years. A few years after Mr. Terry had settled in Terrytown he was joined by his father, Parshall Terry, father-in-law, Uriah Terry, brothers, Joshua, Nathaniel and Nathan, and sisters, with their husbands - Deliverance, wife of Israel Parshall, Deborah, wife of Major John Horton, Remittance, wife of Libbeus Garner - and Lydia, unmarried. the three brothers and Mr. Parshall and family soon left, going to Palmyra, N. Y.; Garner and family removed to Canada.

Parshall Terry was born in 1734 near New London, Conn. He and his brother, Nathaniel, were among the 117 Connecticut settlers, who came to Wyoming in 1763. Wyoming suffered from the Indian troubles, and on the 15th of October of that year, Nathaniel was shot and killed by an Indian. Parshall, soon after, made his way back to Connecticut, which journey was repeated twenty times. He was also in Wyoming in 1773 and was made one of the directors for the town of Kingston. He with his family, including Jonathan Terry and wife and Uriah terry and family, were inmates of famed Forty fort, the night after the battle at Wyoming. He afterwards with other fugitives made his way over the mountains to the Delaware river. Leaving his family at Stroudsburg, he went East to obtain assistance to remove his family to a place of safety. Here his wife died. On his return, he took his children to Sugar Loaf, near Newburg, N. Y., where he remained until after the close of the war, then returned to Wyoming, afterwards removing to Terrytown. He was a tailor by occupation, and could make a coat in a day and often did it for a dollar. About the year 1794, he built a small grist-mill on the Major Terry place, the first in the town. He died, 1811, in his seventy-seventh year. His children were Parshall, Jonathan, Joshua, Nathaniel, Nathan, Deliverance, Deborah, Remittance and Lydia. The only discreditable member of his notable family was Parshall, who joined the Tories and Indians in their raids upon the settlers; he went to Canada and died there.

Uriah Terry, a cousin of Parshall, was born on Long Island in 1728. He married Abigail Case and removed to Wyoming. After the Revolutionary War he returned there and subsequently joined his son-in-law at Terrytown. He was the school-master, moralist, theologian and also the poet laureate on Terrytown, Wyalusing and all that section of county. He died, 1804, aged seventy-six years.

John Horton was born in 1763 at Goshen, N. Y. In 1787 he removed to the Wyoming Valley, where he remained until 1792, when he moved into the wilderness at Terrytown. He was decidedly enterprising and the leading spirit in the community. He filled many local offices, was elected the first coroner of Bradford county, was major of militia and popularly known as "Major Horton". In 1805 he built the first framed barn in Terry and in 1806 the first framed dwelling house. By his wife Deborah Terry he had children: Ebenezer, Anna, Lydia (Mrs. John P. Stalford), John, Eunice (Mrs. Thomas Ingham), Sally (Mrs. John Morrow), Betsey (Mrs. Francis Bailett), Francis, George F., Edmund and Harry M. Major Horton died April 28, 1848, and at his funeral "a large concourse of people were gathered than had ever before been witnessed in that part of the country on a funeral occasion." Mrs. Horton died, 1844, aged seventy-eight years.

Oliver Dodge was born September 2, 1745, at Colchester, Conn. He was a Revolutionary soldier and of a family of patriots, being one of five of that name who fought at the battle of Bunker Hill. In 1785 he emigrated from Connecticut to Wyalusing where he remained until 1788 when he removed to Terrytown, settling on a 600-acre tract, known for more than a century as the Dodge farm. He was a man of prominence and activity in the early history of the county. From his rank in the militia he was generally known as "Major Dodge." He died July 31, 1802. His first wife was Sarah Williams by whom he had two children, his second wife was Abigail Harris and their children: Hannah (Mrs. Humphrey Brown), Oliver Williams, Alpheus, Edmund, Sarah (Mrs. Pinkerton), Abigail (Mrs. Alexander d’ Autremont), Lyndis, Jonathan, Daniel, and Alfred. "In the management of her husband’s estate, Mrs. Dodge exhibited great prudence and foresight, the business of which frequently compelled her to go to Wilkes-Barre, a distance of sixty-five mile, always on horseback and frequently alone. In 1806, while making one of these trips it became very dark. In passing a school house, she found the teacher and children crying, thinking the world was coming to an end. She pacified them by explaining that the darkness was only an eclipse of the sun and would soon pass away."

Samuel Wells, a shoemaker by occupation, came from Rhode Island about 1800. He took up land but lost his claim. He had a family of nine children, one of whom, Daniel, was the father of seven sons and six daughters.

West Terry.- A settlement was begun (1794) by the French in West Terry where two spacious houses were erected for the reception of the king and queen of France, a large bakery constructed and other improvements under way, when news reached Asylum of the death of the king, which put an end to further preparations. Charles Homet, Sr., lived here nearly two years then settled at Frenchtown. Isaac Schoonover settled at this point about 1815.

Hill Settlers.- One of the first hill settlers was Nathaniel Viall, who came from New York state about 1813. The section occupied by him and his sons, Charles and Francis, is still known as Viall Hill. In 1837, Jonathan Harrison from Connecticut, located near New Era. He built and occupied a shingle-house, the only one in the county.

First Events.- The first child born in Terry was Uriah, son of Jonathan Terry, October 24, 1789. The first marriage, Humphrey Brown of Wyalusing and Hannah, daughter of Oliver Dodge, in 1791. The first person called by death, Major Oliver Dodge, January 31, 1802, in his fifty-seventh year. The first means of communication with the east side of the river was by boats and a ferry that was established by Jonathan Terry previous to 1797. The French road through West Terry, and the river road, being a section of the Tunkhannock-Breakneck road (1797) were the first public highways. The first vote for President, 1860, was Lincoln 109, Douglas 53.

When Terry was first settled and for several years afterwards, the nearest grist-mill was at Wilkes-Barre, and oftentimes like the aborigines, the people were obliged to have recourse to the pestle and samp-mortar. There were no wagons nor wagon-roads. The river was the only highway of travel, and when frozen over, it formed a splendid road, and a sleighride was a luxury of no uncommon occurrence. When not frozen, the river was navigated by canoes. Generally the neighbors would club together and make up a grist of fifty or sixty bushels, and two men start to mill with it in a canoe, making the trip in from six to ten days.

Patriotism.- The following was Terry’s representation in the different wars: Revolution.- Oliver Dodge, John Horton, Jonathan Terry; War of 1812.- Nathaniel Viall; Civil War.- Furnished one hundred and forty-six soldiers, of whom eighteen were killed in battle, two died in rebel prisons and ten of disease; Spanish-American War.- Two soldiers; World War.- Forty-three soldiers.

Favorite Sons.- Representative, Uriah Terry; member Constitutional Convention (1873), Dr. George F. Horton; Sheriff, William T. Horton; County Treasurer, John Horton; County Auditors, George F. Horton and Jonathan Buttles, Geo. H. Terry; Coroner, John Horton.

Villages.- Terrytown and New Era have been the business centers and at one time each contained a number of enterprises. The Terrytown post-office was established in 1826 with George Terry, postmaster; New Era post-office, 1857, John Huffman, postmaster.