Biography of Alpheus Terwilleger

ALPHEUS TERWILLEGER. Deceased. – As a builder of Union county and a loyal and patriotic citzen, and a man of marked capabilities and stanch moral qualities, we are constrained to mentin the gentlman whose name is at the head of this article, and we grant this memoir to his name since he was richly deserving of the commendation and esteem of all of his fellows,and it is with pleasure that we announce that he enjoyed the same in generous measure.

In Hamilton county, Ohio, our subject was born on April 8, 1824, being the son of Mathew and Cherlottie Terwilleger, farms of that county, but later removing to Indiana, where the father died. Our subject took active management of the home place after the father’s death, until 1855, when he came to Iowa and secured a farm for himself in Marion county. There he remained until 1862, then sold his fine farm of thre hundred and sixty acres and removed to this valley, taking a homestead two and one-half miles north from Summerville, on which place and one other which he bought on Sand Ridge, he remained for seventeen years, producing the fruits of the field and raising stock. Then he removed to the place where the widow now resides, in the edge of Elgin, having eighty ares there and other land in other parts of this county.

On October 13, 1855, occurred the marriage of Mr. Terwilleger and Miss Jan P., daughter of John and Susanah (Berry) Lewis, in Marion county, Iowa. She was born April 13, 1840, in Putnam county, Indiana, her father being a native of Kentucky and the mother of North Carlina. The father farmed in Indiana, Iowa and Oregon, pasing from his labors near Summerville, where also the mother died. They were members of the Methodist church and devoted to the faith of the Christian. The widow has been a member of this church since she was thirteen years of age and the strength of her faith has enabled her to bear the heavy burdens that have been her lot. To our subject and his estimable wife, there were born the following children: James, Margaret A., Sarah E., Johnie, Martha, Charlie, Vadia and George. In 1879 and 1880 the terrible disease of diptheria settled in this happy family and from the fall to the spring carried off the last five mentioned and they sleep now in the cemetery at Summerville. On August 20, 1899, the hand of death was again laid upon the home, this time to snatch thence the father and husband and he too, is buried in the cemetery at Summerville, He was the death of the noble and upright man, and sincere mourning marked this event. Right nobly has the widow borne this accumulated sorrow, bringing to her solace the right of the Christian to ast his burden on One able to bear it and bind even the broken heart. She is now spending her golden years in the home place and is highly esteemed and beloved by all, having manifested the faith that makes faithful and gracious in all the pilgrim walk.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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