Biography of Theodore H. Terry

Theodore H. Terry. While his home for upwards of half a century had been in one of the quiet country towns of Saline County, the name of Theodore H. Terry is not unknown to the state at large. He had had the friendship and acquaintance of many prominent Kansans and his friendship and counsel have been valued and esteemed not only in his home town but elsewhere. Mr. Terry for many years was the genial village blacksmith of Bavaria, and had also become widely known as a breeder of Percheron horses and Spanish jacks.

He is a native of the old Western Reserve of Ohio, where he was born October 16, 1852. His birthplace was a log house on a farm in Huron County. That house gains distinction as having been the third house built in Huron County, and it was also the birthplace of his father, Palmer E. Terry, who was born there October 3, 1830. Both the father and grandfather were millwrights by trade. The grandfather erected the first mill situated west of Cleveland, Ohio. Palmer E. Terry followed his trade for many years and died at Peoria, Illinois, in 1899. He was married in 1851 to Miss Sophia Rice, who was born at Bellevue, Huron County, Ohio, in 1832, a daughter of John Rice, also a native of the same place. Mrs. Palmer Terry died in 1910 at Bavaria, Kansas. There were four children in the family, three sons and one daughter: Theodore H.; Frank L., who was born in 1855 and is now a farmer in Saline County, Kansas; Emma T., born in 1856 and died in 1860; and Fred W., born in 1863 and now a resident of Denmark, Kansas.

Theodore H. Terry grew up in his native county, had the benefit of the common schools and learned the blacksmith’s trade as a boy. On the 2d day of March, 1869, he arrived in Kansas. He was then sixteen years of age. Two days later, on March 4th, the day that General Grant was inaugurated for his first term as President of the United States, he opened a blacksmith shop at Bavaria. That shop was continued under his management and direction for forty years. It came to rank as an institution of the town. It was the home of reliable service in the blacksmithing line. It was also a favorite rendezvous for the constantly increasing circle of Mr. Terry’s friends and acquaintances who liked to gather there and swap the stories of the countryside. While the industry of Mr. Terry never slackened on account of the presence of friends about him, his quiet and sturdy character made him a forceful element in local citizenship. Since 1876 he had been extensively engaged in the breeding of Percheron horses and Spanish jacks. Since 1900 he had been registered under Kansas laws as a veterinary surgeon.

For thirty-two years Mr. Terry served as a justice of the peace. He had always been active in republican politics, both in the county and state. Among his numerous friends he enjoyed the esteem of the late Senator J. J. Ingalls and the late George W. Martin, who for a number of years was secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society. Mr. Terry himself is an active member of the State Historical Society. In 1913, when he lost his left leg by an amputation, the State Board of Agriculture passed resolutions of condolence and he was similarly honored by the Grand Lodge of the State Anti-Horse Thief Association. For thirty years he was president of the Saline Sub Order No. 281 of the Anti-Horse Thief Association. Mr. Terry is historian of Brookville Lodge No. 270, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is one of the oldest members of that order.

Mr. Terry was married January 7, 1876, at Bavaria, Kansas, to Miss Hester Ann Hawley. Mrs. Terry was born at Coldwater, Michigan, in 1857, a daughter of Capt. George B. and Marian B. (Whitcomb) Hawley, both natives of Michigan. Her father was captain of Battery B of the Sixth Michigan Artillery during the Civil war. He came out to Kansas with his family in 1871 and spent his last years in Bavaria, where he died in 1897. Mr. and Mrs. Terry have three children, two sons and one daughter. Henry was born October 7, 1879, and is still at home with his parents; Ralph E., born September 20, 1881, is now grain buyer and station agent at Ash Grove, Kansas. He was married in 1905 to Anna Beir. Emma E., the only daughter, was born October 20, 1885, and on April 4, 1907, married Earl H. McLaughlin, their home being at Bavaria.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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