I feel so neglectful not posting anything on Pioneer Day to honor the pioneers like I have in the past here on my blog. You can find blog posts, here, here, here, and here about my pioneer ancestors. So I thought I would make up for this year’s lack by honoring one of my pioneer ancestors, two weeks after the Pioneer Day holiday, in light of finding a kinsman this week.
This distinguished looking man is my 3rd-great-grandfather, Thomas Sirls Terry, a pioneer who came to Utah in September 1847. He heard the Mormon missionaries preach the gospel in New Jersey. He said:
I listened very attentively to the remarks. I became convinced that the doctrine he advanced was true according to my understanding of the religion of Christ. I had, in my youth, gone to all kinds of meetings but never before did any preaching come with such force to my understanding as did the remarks of the Mormon Preachers.
So he got baptized on 12 March 1842. In 1845, as a 20 year old bachelor, he determined to leave his native country of the eastern United States to join with the Saints in the barren desert of the Utah territory, despite his family telling him not to go. He declared
I thought I would see what the world was made of, but yet I had a greater motive to inspire me than all this, and this was that I had joined the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, and I was determined to gather to where the Saints were gathered.
Here is a photo of my mom, my sisters, my second cousin, Jorgina and me.
Last summer, I found out one of my homeschooling friends, Jorgina, is also descended from him, and that we in fact share the same great-grandmother, Ethel Winsor Simkins, who is the granddaughter of this man. So we are 2nd cousins! I saw Miss J this week and she announced that she has found another cousin, another descendant of Thomas Sirls Terry, none other than Diann Jeppson, a somewhat famous homeschooling mom. Diann is descended from a different daughter of Thomas Sirls Terry. Jorgina and I are descended from Sarah Alydia Terry, the mother of Ethel Winsor Simkins, and Diann is descended from a sister of Sarah Alydia, so I think that makes us third or fourth cousins or something. One of these days I will look it up to figure it out. Ironically, this sister that Diann is descended from has my same name, Celestia. Celestia Terry Hunt is her full name and you can read about her here.
Thomas was an amazing man. He brought someone back from death after giving her a priesthood blessing while on the pioneer trail. He helped to dig the first well in the Salt Lake Valley and cut lumber in the valley for the first mill. He had settled in the Cottonwood area of the valley but when Brigham Young called him to help settle Dixie with the “Cotton Mission”, he went, and there he remained the rest of his days, despite the heat and lack of modern air-conditioning. Fewer than half of those who were called to settle in Dixie stayed. He helped supervise the United Order in Hebron when the saints were asked to practice it there. He was also one of the early settlers of Enterprise, Utah. Enterprise boasts the Terry ranch which is named after him. His stories of faithfulness, testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and willingness to obey the Lord inspire me greatly.
This is a photo of the Terry ranch.
Who else out there is descended from him? I know that Patricia Terry Holland, wife of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland is. We share a great heritage! Calling all Thomas Sirls Terry cousins! You can get a free pdf of his autobiography right here.
Someday maybe I can meet you all at a Terry reunion! Here is a list of all of Thomas Sirls Terry’s children, copied from findagrave.com. He had three wives, hence the reason he was so prolific.
Mary Ann Terry Huntsman (1850 – 1943)*
Adelia Terry Mackelprang (1853 – 1930)*
Celestia Terry Hunt (1854 – 1893)*
Zera Pulsipher Terry (1856 – 1949)**
Sarah Alydia Terry Winsor (1857 – 1950)
Thomas Nelson Terry (1858 – 1938)**
Wilhelmina Terry Laub (1859 – 1890)*
Eliza Jane Terry Wadsworth (1860 – 1931)**
Almira Terry Harmon (1861 – 1936)*
Aluna Terry Hunt (1863 – 1916)**
Sarah Mariah Terry Wadsworth (1865 – 1885)**
Thomas Searls Terry (1866 – 1941)*
Charles Henry Terry (1868 – 1868)**
John William Terry (1868 – 1868)**
Minerva Susan Terry Lund (1868 – 1922)*
Olive Amelia Terry (1869 – 1869)**
Josephine Rebecca Terry Wadsworth (1870 – 1942)**
Elizabeth Terry Woods (1870 – 1907)*
Frank Durmoth Terry (1872 – 1952)**
Luther Murkins Terry (1873 – 1949)*
Tacy Roselee Terry (1875 – 1876)**
Joseph Alma Terry (1876 – 1973)*
Maud Etna Terry Patten (1880 – 1933)**
Mary Elsie Terry Bunker (1881 – 1944)**
David Dudley Terry (1883 – 1971)**
Jedediah Murkins Terry (1885 – 1952)**
Edward Sirls Terry (1886 – 1977)**
Hannah Louisa Exile Terry Blake-Perkins (1888 – 1957)**