In the beginning…
We will begin the story of the Terry Family with John Terry. John Terry was the owner of a plantation in Warren County, Georgia. He eventually bought a new plantation and moved to Marion County, Georgia. At a later date a portion of Marion County was renamed Schley County, Georgia. Moses (1839) and Hannah (1838) Terry were born in Warren County, Georgia and were slaves of John Terry. James (1830) and Mary (1834) Terry were born in South Carolina and were also slaves of John Terry. Moses and Hannah had 10 children and James and Mary had 16 children. Louisa Terry was the daughter of Moses and Hannah Terry, and Reuben Terry was the son of James and Mary Terry. Louisa Terry married Reuben Terry, which explains the name Louisa TerryTerry. There is also a link between the two families through Taylor T. Terry and Victoria Terry. Our hope is to continue to research our history so that can share a precise and documented story.
The Terry’s married into various local families in Schley and neighboring Marion Counties. Some of the families include, but are not limited to Sales, Davis, Killebrew, Blue, Black, Grundy, and Wilcher.
The Terry family migrated to the North for better job opportunities between 1900 and 1930. In 1900, Schley County had 6,900 people. By 1930 there were 2,300 people due to the northward migration. The population in Schley County has remained the same since then.
As a result of the migration to the North, Terry family members reside all over the United States and in other countries. Today we are a truly international family with people in twenty six states, one territory, and three additional countries.
Reuniting the family…
There were several smaller reunions that took place between 1960 and 1971. However, in 1980 the idea to have a reunion on a larger scale came to Janie Smith and Theresa Bowman of Trenton, New Jersey. They both felt that they wanted to meet their other family members at gatherings other than weddings or funerals. Janie Smith went to the residence of Nunnie Terry McCrary and spoke of their interest in having a reunion. The following week Nunnie’s daughters, Anna Ruth Jones and Edith Collier went to Trenton, New Jersey to see if Louira Bowman and her daughters were serious about the reunion. They were very serious. This represented the first meeting of the Central/South Jersey and Philadelphia Committee.
As word spread about the reunion others became interested. W.D. and Queen Terry joined the committee and expanded the focus to include the James Terry clan. The response to the reunion was an overwhelming success. Four hundred and twenty five persons attended at The Rickshaw Inn in Cherry Hill, NJ. The relatives came from Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia. This was the first time that both Moses and Hannah and James and Mary’s descendants met for a weekend reunion headquartered at a hotel. It was such a success that it was decided that the reunion would be held every other year at various locations. We are proud to celebrate thirty+ years of successful reunions.
We have continued to grow and flourish since 1980. We now have a National Committee, a Terry Family Scholarship Fund, a Metro Detroit based “Salute to Excellence” and a Youth Department. And we are looking forward to reaching even higher goals. Celebrating our family heritage has become an important part of our lives and we must continue to grow in love and cooperation in order to perpetuate our tradition.