This is the remarkable face of Almarinda Mae Smith Terry, my 2nd Great Grandmother. My mother's great grandmother. I found this photo and was captivated by her intensity. I wanted to know her. So I searched among the family letters, nothing.
So I Googled her. Magically, at the top of the page was a link to her obituary on the Denny-Loftis website featuring the history of Putnam County and tons of amazing genealogy research. It offered me a glimpse into her life. But I wanted more, so I kept digging.
On a whim, I searched the same website for other Terry relatives, and there he was. My 4th Great Grandfather, Curtis Terry, Chapter 7 from the book: James Terry of Tennessee by Woodford Terry. (More on Curtis another time.)
Some days, you just get really, really lucky.
This is Almarinda:
ALMARINDA (SMITH) TERRY
Putnam County Herald, Cookeville, TN
28 July 1938
MRS. TERRY DIES ENROUTE TO ARKANSAS AFTER VISIT HERE:
Mrs. Almarinda Terry (nee Smith), 84, died Monday afternoon while crossing the Mississippi river at Dyersburg, in the company of her son, E. M. Terry of Blytheville, Ark, on the return trip home from a visit with relatives in Putnam county.
She was the daughter of James G. Smith whom older citizens remember as a leading citizen of the Fifteenth District of Putnam county many years ago, and whose grandfather came directly from Scotland and settled on Williams Mill creek in what was then Jackson county more than a century ago. Her husband was James Terry, son of Elijah Terry, a brother of Will Terry of the Fifteenth District, and a member of one of the most numerous and prominent families in this section of the state.
She and her husband migrated to the state of Missouri nearly sixty years ago, and during this time she has lived in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Since moving west she had made only one visit to Tennessee which she made nineteen years ago accompanied by her husband. Mr. Terry having died four years ago, she requested her son, E. M. Terry to bring her back to her old home for a visit. They arrived here on June 10, having driven from Blytheville, AR, in a little more than six hours. The son returned with the expectation of letting her remain here during the summer, but on last Friday at the home of Mrs. J. A. Grimsley, her only living sister, she was taken seriously ill. Her son, on being notified came immediately. Monday morning she appeared to be much better, and they left here about 8:30 in the morning for Blytheville, AR, in an automobile. Her friends are greatly shocked by the message of her death. She was frail and weak, and it is believed that she died of heart failure.
While here nieces, nephews and cousins in this county would number into the hundreds, the only living member of her father’s family is Mrs. J. A. Grimsley, and the only living brother and sister of her husband’s family are Will Terry and Mrs. Thomas Lynn of Putnam county and Mrs. Julia Cook of Overton county.
She left a large and interesting family of her own, the names of all of whom are not known to the writer. One son, E. M. Terry who was with her when she died, is president of the Terry Abstract and Realty Company of Blytheville, AR. Another son, Bryan Terry, is postmaster at Broken Arrow, OK.
When parting from her sister, Mrs. Grimsley, her last words were “we will never meet again here, but we will meet upyounder.” Thus while crossing the great Mississippi, she crossed the greater river, the River of Death.
Source & more Putnam County History at: http://www.ajlambert.com
A little rustling amongst my mother's old genealogy papers and I found more family records typed up "as given to Christine Terry Roberts by Mrs. James W. Terry in 1936 by Mrs. James W. Terry, her grandmother."
James W. Terry married Almarinda Smith 17 Sept 1871. They had 9 children together.
1. Sarah Anne: b. 2 August 1872 - d. March 1947
2. William Gutherie: b. 25 August 1874 - d. Sept 1943
3. Elijah Monroe: b. 17 Jan 1877 - d. 1 April 1942
4. Mary Callie: b. 12 May 1879 - d. 19 years old (Typhoid fever)
5. Floyd Clayborn: b. 20 Nov 1881
6. Grover Cleveland: [1884-1904 source FamilySearch.org]
7. Stella Mae: b. 8 April ..... [Estella 8 Apr 1888-9 Jan 1969 source FamilySearch.org]
8. Zalia Emeline: (Died at about two years). [1890-1892 source FamilySearch.org ]
9. Addly Stevenson: b? d. (Died at about 8 years of age). [Adlai Stephenson 1893-23 Dec 1903 source FamilySearch.org]
And then I found a letter dated April 25, 1947 sent from J.M. Hatfield, Representative Putnam County Cookeville to Mr. Floyd C. Terry, son of Almarinda Mae Smith. It's been transcribed below.
April 25, 1947
I call you cousin because that is what we are, first cousins. Out mothers were the eldest daughters of James G. Smith, and resembled each other almost as if they had been twins. This family of Smiths came originally from Scotland to North Carolina, then to Tennessee about the year 1806. Our great grandfather was John Smith, our immediate grandfather was James G. Smith who married a Matheny of French decent. His wife died just after the civil war, leaving him a family of seven children, five girls and two sons. He latter married again, but had no children by his second wife.
The following are the names of our immediate family on the Smith side, in the order of their ages:
William Monroe Smith, moved to Oregon, near Medford, reared a family and died there. Some or all of his children still live in Oregon.
Levina Smith, my mother, married L.B. Hatfield
Almarinda Smith, Married James Terry.
Leander Smith, married a Maynard, lived and died on his father's old place.
Mary Smith, married a Mayberry, moved to Missouri when your father did, and died there.
Tennessee Smith, married a Maynard - family lives here years ago, but Uncle Ashton Grimsley is still living at the age of 88 being the only one of our uncles or aunts on the Smith side still living.
It so happened that today when I received your letter I met Casper Terry who had also received a letter from you. Casper and I live within a half mile of each other. He asked me to give you the Terry side, for he was not sure that he had done so correctly. I think the Terrys were of English decent, but am not sure.
Elijah Terry married an Anderson at first and had the following children:
Sons: James, Will and Jess.
Daughters - Julia, Reta, and Elizabeth. Of these, Will is the only son living, and is not in the 90's. I am not sure that any of the girls is living.
Elijah Terry married the second time a woman by the name of Fiske originally, but who had formerly married a Burton. They had the following children;
Sons - Add, who moved to Montana and I think died there. Young, you moved to Oklahoma, or Texas and is still living.
Daughters - Lucy Price, married a Mitchell. One of her sons is now a judge in this district. She is dead. Emma - Married a Burgess - now dead. C - Went to Oklahoma, married, and I think is still living.
When Elijah (son) brought your mother back here some years ago, when she died on the way back home, as you will remember, he was greatly surprised at the number of relatives he met while here. They are here by the hundreds no farther removed than third cousins.
Both the Smith and the Terry families were pioneers in the state, and were respectable, and some of them prominent people, and are until now. It would take a whole book to tell you all about your people here, and I shall not attempt it further. Jas said that when you did come, we would give you a rousing time. I home you can and will do so. I would like to know a little while before you come the time you expect to be here, for I plan to go to Washington D.C. some time this May or June to visit a son who lives there, and I would not want to be gone when you come.
I am the oldest child of my parents, and am 75 years old, but still quite active. I have spent my life in school work, having taught in all classes of schools from the one room school to the college where I taught as a professor English for the last 25 years. Last summer I returned from teaching in order to take advantage of the Teacher's Retirement law. When I quit teaching the people urged me to become a candidate for the Tennessee legislature. I was elected by a large majority, and served as Representative from my county from January through March. I have two sons, Cleburne B. and Gilbert H. The former lives now in New York, and the latter in Washington D.C. My wife died four years go. I have a housekeeper, and live on a farm 2 1/2 miles from Cookeville.
When you come, I can show you a coverlet (bed spread) woven by your mother from thread spun by my mother about 80 years ago. This is a wonderful piece of work, and is well preserved.
This is all now. Let me hear from you again.
The joy of this discovery is vast, as is my desire to learn more. There are so many breadcrumbs in these letters to follow. Perhaps another relative might find the details here, as I found Almarinda on another genealogy website, and share more information about the Smith and Terry family history.
With hope & happy hunting,