Notes for John Thomas Terry: John T. Terry Family biography written by daughter, Faye Terry. "Our Heritage" pbl. Van Zandt Co. Genealogical Society, Feb. 1985, Vol. 6, No. 1
John T. Terry was born to John Wesley and Nancy L. Terry May 30, 1858, in Atlanta, GA. The family moved to Meridian, MS, before coming to Texas in the 1870's. They settled on a farm near the Cana Baptist Church in Van Zandt County.
Mattie Elizabeth Riddle was born to Ben Preston and Mary Ann Riddle June 3, 1866 at Mr. Selman in Cherokee Co. (TX). They moved to Van Zandt Co. in the early 1870s, and settled in the Fairview Community on the farm known now as the Son Lide farm. The Riddles continued to live there until they died in 1905.
John T. Terry and Mattie Elizabeth Riddle were married December 24, 1885, at the Riddle home and went to their newly built home on the Terry farm. The house consisted of one huge room and a shed-room for the kitchen and dining room with a porch across the front of the house.
To this couple were born seven boys and three girls, all born in the same house. Grandpa Riddle jokingly remarked that as a child was added to the family, a new room was added to the house. Not quite that many rooms were added. There were seven rooms, two side halls, a bathroom, and a porch almost halfway around the house.
Children born of this couple were Ross Leslie (Note: SSDI says Ross Louis) October 24, 1886, Lester Hugh November 18, 1887; Emmett Lee September 11, 1889; Carey Crane August 25, 1891; Ben Wesley April 16, 1894, Ura February 13, 1896; John Willis March 30, 1898; Mattie Faye July 30, 1900; Russell Deyo September 9, 1902; and Mary Odessa October 1, 1905.
Ross lives in Canton. He spends the winter months in Honolulu, Hawaii, with his only child. She formerly taught school and her husband is a professor in the University of Hawaii. His wife was a former teacher.
Hugh, who never married, had the misfortune of having a tree fall on him, breaking his back. He died March 31, 1920.
Emmett also was a bachelor and owned the home place when he died September 1, 1967.
Carey was a former school teacher and then an insurance agent in Lamesa before he died January 25, 1977. He married a school teacher and they had three children - a doctor, a teacher daughter, and a son who was an architect but died early in his career.
Ben lives in Citrus Heights, California, with his wife and one son. He worked in a bank for many years before retirement.
Ura was a teacher and married a teacher. She taught school at several places and was a senior counsellor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles before her retirement, when she moved to Canton. She died September 20, 1982.
Willis lives in Canton. He taught school one year and was an assistant to the county superintendent for 10 years and then worked for the Federal Savings and Loan Assoc. before retirement. He also married a school teacher. They have a son at Oklahoma Baptist University, a daughter who graduated from Baylor University and a son with Armours.
Faye lives in Canton, and was a school teacher for 42 years before retirement. Forty years were spent in Van Zandt Co. schools. Russell lives in Houston. He was a civil engineer and worked for oil companies in various parts of the US. He and his wife had three children - the oldest died (Note: Russell D. Terry, Jr. was second oldest). He has not retired after many years.
Odessa lives in Grand Saline, and taught school. Her husband also was a teacher. They had three boys and a baby girl who died when only a few months old. The oldest son was killed in a car wreck.
All ten of the Terry children were converted and joined the Cana Baptist Church. They were baptized in various neighborhood tanks as there was no baptistry in the church. Four of the boys - Hugh, Emmett, Carey and Willis, were ordained deacons in Baptist churches. All except Carey were ordained at the Cana Baptist Church. All three girls have been pianists for the church.
The Terry were farmers, raising lots of cotton, corn and ribbon cane. The boys worked on the farm and the girls helped their mother with the housework. The girls were not permitted to do field work, as that was a boy's job.
For many years, ribbon cane syrup was made in the fall of the year. The old mule was hitched to the mill and went round and round to grind the juice from the stalks of cane. Many neighbors visited the mill during syrup-making time to drink the fresh ground juice and buy syrup in jugs. (Note by Mary T. Webster: Sucking sugar-cane for the syrup was fun and the syrup from their canes was the sweetest I had ever had - have found none sweeter.)
The juice was cooked out in a long pan to boil out the excess water from the juice. The foam was dipped off with a skimmer with holes in the bottom to allow the syrup to drip through. When it was cooked enough, the syrup was allowed to run through a hole in the pan and drawn off and poured in stone jugs and sealed with sealing wax, ready for the market.
During syrup-making time, the children would rush home from school in order to go to the syrup mill to get some juice before it was all emptied in the boiling vat. It was a very disappointed bunch of children if they were not permitted to go to the mill to get some juice.
The Terrys never moved after they married. All the children were born in the same house, which burned July 7, 1935 (Russell and wife traveling at that time and all wedding gifts were left in attic at house. Only acup and saucer were left of their wedding gifts. My mother had made a quilt - wedding ring pattern - for her new husband & self and it was lost in the fire.) The Terrys pitched tents to live in and neighbors helped with the building of the new house) The new house was built on the same lot as the old house. It still stands near the Cana Baptist Church.
Note: The house (year 2000) is still there but has been remodeled by new owners. The land looks well kept (700 acres),however, the old mule barn, barn for tractor, 2 small houses for workers, and chicken pens are gone. They built a new metal barn for tractor and 2 cottages (probably for visiting relatives or workers on the place). They now have a black top driveway instead of clay/dirt driveway. Noticed a oak tree in circular driveway in front of house, tree was there over well over 50 years.)
Terry died March 21, 1930, and Mrs. Terry August 22, 1948. They and all the children who have died are buried at the Cana Cemetery except Carey, who is buried at Lamesa.
After his mother's death, Emmett, who was living with her before she died, purchased the home place from the other children and it was sold after his death.
More About John Thomas Terry: Burial: Unknown, Cana Baptist Church Cemetery, Van Zandt Co., TX. Census 1: 1860 Fulton Co., GA; 1900 Van Zandt Co., TX ; 1910 Van Zandt Co.TX. Census 2: 1900 TX ; 1910 TX. Marriage Certificate: Van Zandt Co., TX. Occupation: Farmer. Religion 1: Methodist. Religion 2: Baptist.
More About John Thomas Terry and Martha Elizabeth Riddle: Marriage: December 24, 1885, Wills Point, Van Zandt Co. TX. Place of Marriage: Benjamin Preston Riddle Home.