The Reverend Mr. David Craft
The township of Terry was organized in 1857. It is bounded by the Susquehanna River on the east and north, by Asylum on the north and west and by Wilmot on the south. It contains about fifty square miles of territory, nearly one-half of it remaining yet unimproved. It is mountainous and hilly, but is mostly all susceptible of cultivation. It has some good grazing land and fine meadows, but more of it is natural for grain growing and clover. A dense forest of white pine, hemlock, yellow pine, oak, ash, chestnut, maple and other kinds of valuable timber formerly covered much of it. But the best pine and ash lumber has been cut and carried off and sold. No part of the county produced more valuable white-pine trees to the acre than this township, and if they were all now standing they would be worth much more than the land is now with it’s improvements. A million of pine shingles, and as many feet of white pine lumber, have been taken from this territory annually during many of the past years and often sold at a low figure.
It has a population of about twenty to the square mile, and it has increased its agricultural wealth vastly within the last decade. Its assessed valuation at the present time is about $100,000, without including the intrinsic value of the timberlands, which are generally assessed at about one forth their real value.
Its two principal places are Terrytown and New Era, the two post-offices of the township.
Terrytown is a pleasant little village situated on the West Side of the river about two miles above the mouth of Wyualusing Creek. It is beautifully situated on a gravelly ridge, at an elevation of about seventy feet above the Susquehanna River. The buildings are scattering and extend and extend about two miles along the river in north and south directions, and in the center about half a mile wide. Its scenery is quite romantic, being environed by mountains on the north, south, and west, and the river on the east, and the mountain on the east side of the river, opposite Terrytown, rising up majestically some 400 feet, with mural escarpments or perpendicular ledges varying from 50 to 100 feet in height.
Terrytown has a union meeting-house, called "The Tabernacle," 40 by 60, seating about 400 persons, in which Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodist worship steadily, each denomination having its own preacher, and its set time for worship. It has been in use twenty-six years, and there is reason to believe that the interests of Christianity have been advanced quite as much as they would have been had each denomination had a church edifice of its own.
Mr. N. T. Miller’s wagon-factory and steam-works, Mr. Vandersloot’s smith-shop, Mr. Gay’s shoe-shop, the Horton Brothers’ and Messrs. Capwell’s general country stores, the Horton flouring-mill, and last and not least the resident preacher and the three physicians, are all very desirable institutions in the quiet little village of Terrytown.
It is one of the oldest places in the county, Benjamin Budd having built a house here as early as 1774. Capt. Jonathan Terry was the first permanent settler. He moved up the river from Wyoming valley in 1786, and settled in Wyalusing for one year at the mouth of the Wyalusing creek, on the north side, very near the deep cut through which the railroad now passes. The next year (1787) he built a house at Terrytown and moved into it, and thus became the founder of the village. Stephen Durell had built a house of white oak logs the year before, on the bank of the river, just at the mouth of Steam Mill Creek, but did not live in it long, if at all. Three of his brothers, viz, Joshua, Nathaniel, and Nathan, and four of his sisters, viz., Deliverance, and her husband, Israel Parshall; Deborah, and her husband, Lebbeus Garner; and Lydia, unmarried, came in a few years afterwards; also his father, Parshall Terry, and his wife’s father, Uriah Terry. Parshall Terry and all his family, including Jonathan Terry and his wife, were inmates of the famed Forty fort the night after the Indian battle and Massacre at Wyoming.
Governor Simon Snyder commissioned Jonathan Terry a justice in 1812, and held the office until January 1821, when he resigned; and Uriah Terry, his son, was commissioned by Governor Joseph Heister, and held the office until his death, which occurred in 1824. He was succeeded in this office by his brother, William Terry, commissioned by Governor J. Andrew Shulze; and the latter by his son, Uriah Terry; and the present incumbent of the office is Hiram L. Terry, a great-grandson of Jonathan Terry; so that, with the exception of two short intervals, one filled by Major J. Horton Jr., and the other by John F. Dodge, Jonathan Terry and his descendants have been the only magistrates of Terrytown for four generations.
Jonathan Terry was a good justice, possessing a sound judgment, a genial nature, and social qualities of a high order. He was gifted with a remarkably happy faculty of persuading litigants to settle their difficulties amicably, and thus save time, money, and an untold amount of unkind and angry feelings. He had a family of eight sons and three daughters, and, one son excepted, raised them all to maturity. His son Uriah was the first child born at Terrytown. "Uncle George," as he is now familiarly called, is the only one of the family left. He is now (1878) eighty years old, well preserved, and his large, manly form is often seen walking the streets and visiting from house to house among numerous friends. He and his son, Dr. N. W. Terry, occupy the mansion which he built about a quarter of a century ago, and his son Jonathan resides in the old home built by his grandfather in 1806. It is a large two-story hewed-log house, with a huge chimney in the centre of it, a small portico in front, and in early times, had large double doors about three inches thick. It is the oldest house in the village, and well merits the name of "the old Terry Castle." Jonathan Terry died in 1833. His wife survived him about twenty years.
When Terrytown was first settled, and for several years afterwards, the nearest grist-mill was at Wilkes-Barre, and often times, like the aborigines of the county, the people were obliged to have recourse to the pestle and samp mortar. There were neither wagons nor wagon roads. The river was the only highway of travel, and, when frozen over, it formed a splendid road, and a sleigh ride from Terrytown to Wilkes-Barre and back, on the ice, was a luxury of no very uncommon experience in those early days. And when not frozen 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. The canoes in those days were no pygmy affairs. They were made out of huge pine trees and were from forty to fifty feet long, capable of carrying several tons burden. They were the precursors of the Durham boat seen on these waters was that of Captain Means Watt.
About 1794, Parshall Terry built a small gristmill on a very small stream on the farm now owned by Major U. Terry, and occupied by J. W. Van Auken. Jonathan Terry took his fine brown mare, drove nails in her hoofs, and went to Wilkes-Barre on the ice with a jumper constructed for the purpose, and there bought the mill-stones, and, after getting his mare shod, loaded them upon the jumper, and came home upon the ice, making the trip in a little over three days. This mill was long known as Grandfather Terry’s "little mill," and it was a fine acquisition to the comforts of Terrytown.
Parshall Terry and Uriah Terry were the two great men of Terrytown. The former was a tailor, and he could make a coat for a man in a day, and would often do it for one dollar. He was an enterprising, go-ahead man, and he was hated by the Pennamites with almost perfect hatred. Once they had him in jail in Easton, but by his genial disposition and blandishments he soon won the good will of the jailer, and was granted the freedom of the premises around the jail. After remaining there for some weeks, one day, whilst enjoying his freedom in the presence of the jailer and several other persons, all at once he discovered that the jail was on fire, and he ran and cried "Fire! Fire!" and then made his way with more than double-quick to the woods and before the jailer and others found out the ruse he was out of their reach. He lay in the woods two nights. An Indian woman gave him a loaf of bread, and then he made his way to Wyoming and his family. He was not taken back though it was soon known that he was with his family.
Uriah Terry was the schoolmaster, moralist, and theologian, and also the poet laureate, of Terrytown, Wyalusing, and all this section of the country. Many of his poetical effusions found their way into the public papers, and have been preserved. His poem on the death of Washington carries sublimity in every stanza, and was and is well worthy of the hero whose death in commemorates. He died at Terrytown in 1810. Parshall Terry moved to East Palmyra in 1806, died there a few years afterwards. These two men were elders in the Presbyterian Church of Wyalusing, and meetings of that church, for a time, were held alternately at Wyalusing and at Terrytown. It is the oldest church in Northern Pennsylvania. The next permanent settler after Jonathan Terry was Major Oliver Dodge, whose wife’s maiden name was Abigail Harris. They had a family of seven sons and three daughters. All grew up to maturity and had families. They are all dead. They all left Terrytown except Edmund. He lived here all his days, and died here at the age of eighty. Major Dodge had quite a large landed property, but the most of it has passed out of the name. J. E. Dodge and Dimock D. Dodge, two the great grandsons of the major, own a portion of the old homestead farm, and they are the only representatives of the Dodge family now left at Terrytown. Major John Horton, Sr., settled in Terrytown in 1792. He had a family of six sons and five daughters. All lived to maturity. Two daughters and two sons are still living, viz., Mrs. Lydia Stafford, in her eighty seventh year, lives in Wyalusing, and Mrs. Elizabeth Baillet, aged seventy eight, lives in Wisconsin. George F. Horton, in his seventy-third year, and Edmund Horton, aged seventy; both live at Terrytown and own the most of the old homestead farm.
Joshua Terry, Nathaniel Terry, and Nathan Terry soon left Terrytown and moved to East Palmyra; so also did Israel Parshall. Lebbeus Garner settled in Canada. Among the early settlers of Terrytown we find the names of Ellsworth, Shoemaker, Wells, Marsh, Barges, Vargison, Wyeth, Vanderpool, Carr, Leonard, Turner, Crocker, Gaylord, and others; but of these families no representatives are left in Terrytown, and only a few of them in the township of Terry.
Parshall Terry and Uriah Terry were lineal descendants, in the fifth generation, from Richard Terry, who emigrated from England, and settled in Southold, Long Island, New York, in 1640. They moved from Southold to Orange County, New York, and then to Wyoming, and afterwards to Terrytown, as already stated.
Major John Horton, Sr. was a lineal descendant of Barnabas Horton of Mousely, England, who emigrated to America in 1638, and settled permanently at Southold, Long Island, New York, in 1640 (vide Horton Genealogy, Page 8), where he died in 1680.
Major Horton was born in the township of Goshen, New York, July 30, 1763, moved to Wyoming valley in 1l787, and in 1792 to Terrytown, as above stated, where he bought land and settled permanently, and where he died on April 28, 1848, and where also Deborah Lucy Horton, his wife, died May 25, 1844, aged 78.
Major Horton built the first framed dwelling house on the west side of the river, in the township of then Wyalusing, now Terry. He was the owner of the first two-horse wagon ever brought into Terrytown. He also owned the first fanning mill and built the first framed barn. It was built in 1805, and is still in a good state of preservation, and owned by Edmund Horton.
Major Horton was a wagoner in the Revolutionary War towards the close of the war, and was stationed in Mamakating hollow, and afterwards on the Neversink creek, not far from the present Port Jervis. He was major of a battalion of militia in Wyalusing, frequently held township offices, and was one of the prominent men of the place.
He was not a public professor of Christianity, but his life in the main was in harmony with its teachings. He was universally esteemed, and at his funeral a larger concourse of people gathered than had ever before been witnessed in this part of the country on a funeral occasion. Deborah, his wife, was a woman distinguished for her eminent piety, unwearied industry, and good economy; she knew well how to guide the house. Their children were all born in Terrytown except Ebenezer, who was born at Little Britain, New York, and Anna and Lydia, who were born in Wyoming. Of their children, Anna, Francis, and Harry died unmarried; Ebenezer died in 1826, leaving nine children, seven of them are still living; Eunice, wife of Thomas Ingham, Esq., died in 1844. He died in 1855, leaving four children.
Major Oliver Dodge was born in Connecticut. He is believed to have been a lineal descendant of John Dodge, who emigrated from Lancashire, England, about 1633, and settled in Wenham, Massachusetts. Israel, a great grandson of John settled in Canterbury, Connecticut, and from him came the family of Major Oliver Dodge. It is an instance of names going by contraries. If there is any fighting to be done there is no dodge to them. Five of them were in Bunker Hill battle. Samuel and Levi Dodge, from Massachusetts, and Israel, from Connecticut, served through the Revolutionary war.
William Dodge was the first of the name who came to New England. He came over, when a single man, in the ship "Lyons Whelp", which sailed from Yarmouth, May 7, 1629’ settled at Salem, Massachusetts. He in a few years went back to Lancashire, married and returned with his wife and two brothers Richard and John, the latter mentioned above. General Henry Dodge and his son, Augustus C., descended from this Canterbury stock.
A large number of the Vanderpool’s family are found in Bradford County, but only a part of them reside in the township of Terry.
Major John Horton, Jr., was one of the prominent citizens of Terrytown. He was one of the prominent citizens of Terrytown. He was born March 23, 1793. He was a careful businessman. Though long engaged in mercantile pursuits, he never had occasion to fear financial crises or revulsion. Living always prepared to honor his pecuniary obligations at maturity. In enterprises for the public good he was always among the first. He was constable for may years, justice of the peace for five years, and declined a re-election; was treasurer of the county for two years, and was one of the electors on the Democratic electoral ticket in 1848. He was captain and then major in the militia, and from 1828 to 1835 brigade inspector. He never made a public profession of Christianity, yet he conscientiously and habitually practiced its virtues. He was a regular attendant upon public worship, and paid more money for the Terrytown tabernacle (union meeting house) than any other person. He was popular and pleasing in his manners, and politically a man of mark, but never a politician, holding office only when the office sought him. He died February 21, 1867. His end was quiet and peaceful. His son, Colonel Joseph H. Horton, now a coal dealer in Ithaca, New York, enlisted in the service of his country in August, 1862; was first lieutenant of Company A, 141st. Regiment, when he went in, served through the war, and came out lieutenant colonel. He received a gunshot wound in the wrist in the battle of the Wilderness, but recovered the use of his arm and returned to the service, and was with his regiment at Lee’s surrender.
New Era is a small village situated about five miles southwest from Terrytown. It was near this place that the French refugees built a house for secreting the king and queen of France if they had succeeded in getting them to America. Mr. Charles Homet, Sr.; lived there about two years before he settled at Frenchtown. Isaac Schoonoven settled there after Mr. Homet left, and remained there until he died.
Jason Horton Esq., was one of the earliest permanent settlers at New Era. Lawrence Wiggins lived there for some years. John Morrow and N. T. Horton had a store there in 1830-31. But they left. Henry Gaylord, Esq., lived there for a few years (1839 to 1843), and then moved back to Wyalusing. J. A. Record had previously lived in the house, which was occupied by Esquire Gaylord. In 1837, Jonathan Harrison moved from Connecticut and settled just beyond New Era. He built the first and probably the only shingle house, that is, with shingles for weather boards, that was ever built in Bradford County. It is still occupied. Jonathan Buttles has been a prominent citizen there for many years. He is a manufacturer of wooden bowls, and also of lumber.
J. L. Jones, Esq., settled in New Era at an early day. He was a justice of the peace, and a man of good business capacity. He died in 1876, leaving a widow, his aged parents, and three sons. His widow moved to Terrytown and built a house, in which she now resides. His sons occupy the old homestead. One of them is a physician. Ebenezer Brock, a first class carpenter and joiner, has long lived in the vicinity of New Era. John Dyer is also there, an undertaker and furniture storekeeper. John Huffman, an enterprising farmer, resides in the vicinity of New Era.
New Era has a public house, an Odd Fellows’ hall, two sawmills, a grocery, kept by Henry Yetter, and a store, by Mr. Buttles. D. F. Wills, Esq., resides not far from New Era, and he is a prominent man in his locality.
It is situated in a good agricultural district, and its population is increasing.
GEORGE F. HORTON, M. D.
The ninth child and fourth son of Major John and Deborah (nee Terry) Horton, was born at Terrytown, January 2, 1806. On both sides the family lines run back to Puritan stock and to those who served in the Revolutionary war. Major John Horton was in the sixth generation that descended from Barnabas Horton, who emigrated from England in 1638 and settled at Southold, New York, in 1640. Major Horton was a wagoner in the Revolutionary war, being too young to serve in any other capacity (born 1763). April 9, 1785, he married Deborah, daughter of Parshall Terry, who was one of the inmates of the famed Forty fort the night of the terrible massacre. At this time Deborah was a little past twelve years of age and the recollections of those terrible scenes were strongly impressed upon her memory till the day of her death, and she never could relate them without tears. She was a woman of marked character, of great energy, and deep piety.
Major Horton built the first framed house and the first framed barn, and had the first wagon and the first fanning-mill in the township.
George Firman received his elementary education in the log schoolhouses of his native town, where he soon mastered the branches taught there and then he spent some time in teaching. He entered the Van Rensselaer School (now known as the Van Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute), at Troy, N. Y., where he enjoyed the instruction of Professor Amos Eaton, renowned in his day as a scientist; from this institution he was graduated, August 1827.
He studied medicine under Dr. Samuel Hargam, of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and commenced practice in the autumn of 1829, at his native place, Terrytown. He soon acquired an extensive reputation as an able physician and a skillful surgeon, and consequently an extensive ride. He has continued in the practice to the present, a period of fifty years. He has ever kept himself fully abreast with the most advanced theories and latest discoveries pertaining to the science of medicine, and has contributed of his own vast store of knowledge, derived from a large and varied field of observation, for the benefit of his profession. He has been one of the most active members of the Bradford County medical society from its organization. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania State medical society, of which he was elected the presiding officer, in June 1862. He is also a member of the American medical association, and an honorary member of several other medical societies. Although living in a retired part of the country, where he has been deprived of many of the social advantages to be had in more favored localities, yet such has been his reputation, that he has frequently been called long distances as consulting physician in difficult and obscure cases. Settling in a wild region, where roads were frequently nothing but sled paths, he was obliged to ride on horseback, and now after he has seen more than his threescore and ten years, still prefers that mode of travelling.
Though constantly engaged in the work of his profession, he has not been indifferent to the duties he owed to society, or to other literary pursuits, and especially has he been an enthusiastic student of natural history. As a botanist he has an extensive acquaintance with plants, and his herbarium contained specimens of more than a thousand different species collected by his own hands from their native habitat. In 1858 he wrote the report of the Bradford County Medical Society, on the geology of the county, which, accompanied by a map, was published in the "Transactions" for that year. This was the first local contribution on this subject from this county. In 1876 he published the "Chronicles of the Horton Family," a work of great merit and prepared with great labor.
On the question of temperance the doctor has always taken advanced ground. He was either the first of second person to sign the pledge in this part of the county, while his position in the abolition and liberal party has been defined elsewhere. For twenty years he was postmaster at Terrytown, was county auditor in 1836; besides holding other offices, he was township treasurer and township clerk ten years, and surgeon of the 15th Regiment of Pennsylvania militia in 1831. In the fall of 1872 he was elected delegate from the fourteenth senatorial district to the convention for revising the constitution of Pennsylvania, filling the place with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of a large majority of his constituency.
He was married June 4, 1832,
to Abigail Terry, her grandfather, Jonathan Terry, stood sentry at the
fort in the Wyoming Battle. They have had eight children, five of whom;
two sons and three daughters; are living, married and settled. The doctor
and his wife are both in good health and are enjoying a green old age.
The doctor is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church at Terrytown.