Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thomas Sirls Terry

Thomas Sirls Terry and the story of Enterprise and Hebron, Washington County, Utah
W. Paul Reeves in "A Century of Enterprise 1896-1996"

In the case of Thomas Sirls Terry the story of Enterprise begins in Shreeville, New Jersey where his family had settled when he was around sixteen years old. It was there, in the fall of 1841, that Terry first heard rumors that "a man by the name of Joseph Smith had found a Gold Bible." It was not long thereafter that two Mormon missionaries, Joseph Newton and William S. Appleby, came to Pemerton, a neighboring town of Shreeville. Terry recalled: "There were a few of the men of our town who went to hear the Mormon Elders preach ... The next week, the Mormon Preachers were the general conversation. I listened, very anxious to learn all I could about the doctrine of these curious people." (11)

After nearly a month the Mormons came to Shreeville. "I listened very attentively to the remarks," Terry recalled, "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."

Terry continued to attend the Mormon meetings until he became certain all the preaching was true and on, 12 March 1842, was baptized a member of the "peculiar" new religion. But by 1845, at age twenty, Terry was determined to leave home and set out on his own. "I thought I would see what the world was made of," he wrote, "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."

Several odd jobs later, Terry had "some good clothing and sufficient money" to travel west and unite with the body of Mormons who were in the middle of their exodus from Illinois. In March 1847, he notified his family that he was going to start west, and despite his parents' attempts to persuade him otherwise, Terry remained resolute. "I was a Moromon, and was determined to gather with the Saints," he reasoned. Even though it was a time of difficulty for the saints as they were driven from Nauvoo the year before and were on the move, Terry would not be deterred. "Their God was my God and if they died, I could die with them."

On June 9, 1847, Terry joined with a company of Mormons leaving Council Bluffs, Iowa. He became part of a train of 656 wagons that journeyed for over three months across the semi-barren expanses of the midwest before arriving in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. It was there, in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains that Brigham Young determined to establish his Kingdom of God. And it was there that the first Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake Valley soon commenced building houses, clearing land and planting crops. As one of these initial settlers, Terry's first few years in the Great Basin were busy. He helped dig the first well in the valley as well as prepared the lumber for the first water wheel. The hard work notwithstanding, Terry still remembered those years as "a time of rejoicing among the Saints" because they "were now free from...oppression."

Apparently this new freedom also gave Terry time to pursue interests of a personal nature. In December 1849, at age twenty-four, he married 16 year old Mary Ann Pulsipher whom he had met earlier that summer. The new couple "took up forthy acres of land on Little Cottonwood" where they built a house and began establishing a farm. In the ensuing years Terry continued to demonstrate devotion to his chosen faith. He filled a mission to the eastern states, became captain of a company of saints emigrating to Utah, and married two additional wives (his second wife, Eliza, was Mary Ann's younger sister). (14) Then, at the October 1862 church conference, he and his families were "called" to travel south and there help build the Cotton Mission and strengthen that portion of the "kingdom".

One missionary described it this way: "Brother Brigham wished us to go over the rim of the Great Basin south and down, down til we should come to the mild climate along the Virgin River, where we can raise the cotton, cane and fruits which are so much in need." (17)

Fewer than half of the nineteenth-century Mormons who colonized Utah's Dixie stayed. (18) Those who remained often did so out of a sense of duty to their faith and the "inspiried" church authorities who sent them there to live. Perhaps Terry typified the attitude of the more determined settlers when he wrote: "I had the spirit of perseverance. In my travels through life, when misfortune seemed to press down hard upon me, I always pressed forward the harder and would accomplish that which I undertook to do. And when famine and starvation stared me in the face...still I hung on to my faith and integrity in the Lord." (19)

This religious confidence certainly accounts for Terry's willingness to join the Cotton Mission and relocate his family to southern Utah. He sold his farm in November 1862 and, with his thirteen year old daughter Mary Ann driving one of the horse teams arrived in St. Geroge on New Years Day 1863. Terry spent the remaineder of the winter in St. George where both his wives gave birth to baby girls. In March of that year apostle Erastus Snow, leader of the Cotton Mission, called Terry to "take [his] families to Shoal Creek... to help establish a settlement there." (20) This move proved a joyful reunion for Terry's wives as their three brothers, John, Charles and William Pulsipher had been herding the St. George cattle there for nearly a year. In addition, Zerah, the father of these Pulsipher children, after his call to Dixie, had joined his sons on Shoal Creek in December of 1862, where he found the location to be "a very healthy section" despite its "obscurity".

The Pulsiphers and others had chosen a site about two-and-a-half miles east of the present town of Enterprise, and began constructing permanent dwellings. Despite their already friendly relations with the Native Americans, the Pulsiphers were still cautious. They built their first structure directly over a spring so if they ever came under Indian attack they could not be cut off from water. Their first homes were crude adobe dwellings with walls partly constructed of cedar and roofs of willow "stringers" that were then layered with bark and dirt. (28)

It was there that Thomas S. Terry, united with the Pulsipher's to manage the herd of the Cotton Mission. Soon other settlements started cropping up around them, and the number of Indian uprisings that plagued colonies throughout central and southern Utah increased. Prior to the Indian troubles, possibly as early as the summer of 1863, William and his father Zerah moved about eight miles west of the original settlement. (Terry became the owner of this post about ten years later and it became known as Terry's Ranch).

The Pulsipher-Terry clan wanted to find a placed where they could all live together. The scarcity of water limited their choices. They finally decided upon a spot located between these two sites called "Big Willow Patch" where the branches of Shaol Creek merged and the main stream curved in a big bend. In response to Erastus Snow's council ten families joined the Pulsipher-Terry group and built a fort at the Big Willow Patch. The fort consisted of two rows of pine and cedar log houses running east and west. All the houses were joined together with the doors and windows facing inside. At the center of the fort the colonizers dug a 20 foot deep well from which they carried water. At the west end they built "a nice log building for church services, school and amusement hall." (35)

Resdients at the fort soon dug a two mile ditch, planted gardents and brought about 25 acres of land under cultivation. They enjoyed a fairly comfortable life-style in their tiny colony and even found time for social activities. Three of the Hunt brothers, Johnathan, Jefferson, and Amos were good violinists and provided music for dances "at least once a week" during the winter season.

After Indian troubles had largely subsided the settlers grew anxious to leave the protection of the fort and colonize a new town. The high ground surrounding the fort was chosen and blocks were laid out. The town was named Hebron after the name for the biblical village where the prophet Abraham pastured his flocks and herds. Lots were chosen according to seniority with the best of feelings. (38)

Hebron residents were plagued with a variety of difficulties over the years that led to the gradual decline and abandonment of the town. A core group of residents seemed willing to persist despite an onaslaught of challenges. Thomas Sirls Terry was one such inhabitant. He became bishop of the Hebron congregation in 1877 after Bishop Crosby's house was destroyed by fire in November of that year. Crosby moved to Leeds. Even while serving as the new bishop of Hebron, Terry moved up to his "ranch" during the summer's to graze the cattle.

The United Order was set up in Hebron and Terry was asked to be the Superintendant. The Order seemed doomed from the start and in less than five months, Terry "rather abruptly resigned his office and went to work for himself and requested that his name be no more used in connection with the United Order." Others soon did likewise and gradually the Order faded. After a year it had all but disappeared in Hebron. (53)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Documentation: (11) Thomas Sirls Terry, "Thomas Sirls Terry (1825-1920)", in Terry and Nora Hall Lund, ed., "History of Thomas Sirls Terry Family" (n.p., 1954) 2-3
(14) ibid., 3-9. Terry's marriage to his third wife, Lucy Stevenson, proved to be shortlived. He married Lucy in 1857, but before long she had caused him "some little trouble." She partcularly enjoyed dancing and in the spring of 1861 became angry when Terry refused to take her to a dance. She consequently left him, apostatized from the church and "went off and married an outsider." in 1878 Terry took a fourth wife, Hannah Louisa Leavitt, who took care of him in his old age while living in Enterprise.
(17) John Pulspher, "The Journal of John Pulsipher," typescript, Special Collections Harold B Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
(18) Dean L. May, Lee L. Bean, and Mark H. Skolnick, "The Stability Ratio: An Index of Community Cohesiveness in 19th Century Mormon Towns..etc.
(19) Terry, 9.
(28) Fish, 35
(35) Fish, 43; Frei 30-31, Alydia T. Winsor, 3.
(38) John Pulsipher, journal
(53) Frei, 37-39; Huntsman diary, 1:76-79; Hebron Ward Record, 45. No explanation is given for Terry's
departure from the order but notes in the ward record for 2 August indicate that "Father Parker" visited Terry and reported that Terry "felt well and had no fault to find and no complaints to make of any one."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Terry bought land at Beaver Dam Wash as a place of "exile" from prosecution during the height of federal anti-polygamy raids. The Hebron Ward Record (p 227) in hindsight, noted: "Since the U. S. Deputy Marshals have been making raids upon the saints, Bp T. S. Terry has made him a home on the Beaver Dam Wash in the mountains south of Hebron where he has lived with one of his families in exile, only visiting the ward occasionally."

Enterprise, a small budding community about 5 1/2 miles east of Hebron, shown indications that the reservior project would succeed but Hebron residents still refused to join the venture. In fact, behind the leadership of George A. Holt, their new bishop. According to 1893 Hebron ward records, town "busy bodies" had been agitated for the replacement of Thomas Sirls Terry as bishop for some time. Many felt that Terry's "interest was not with the people of the town", as he was away much of the time with his family at Beaver Dam Wash. Others desired a "young man" to preside who could lead the town into prosperity. (16)

The reservoir is a big part of the history of Enterprise, but I have not included it here, but instead will place it with the Hunt histories as they were a big part of the success of that undertaking.

After many trials and hardships, Hebron was hit with a devestating earthquake 17 Nov 1902. It left most of the homes uninabitable. Eventually most of the people vacated Hebron and moved down to the edge of the Escalante Desert, where they founded Enterprise. While the moving process was going on, gradually the old town up in the canyon retained its name of Hebron, but at a meeting held October 18, 1905, the two settlements, Hebron and Enterprise, were joined together and organized as the Enterprise Ward with George Albert Holt, the former Bishop of Hebron as Bishop.

At the present time the little town of Hebron is abandoned, anda deep gully or washr uns through where once was the one main street and town. The little cemetery remains fenced in with a chain link fence.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dean Terry founded a little park at the east end of Enterprise called "Heritage Park". It is a tribute to his ancestors Thomas Sirls Terry and his three wifes, Mary Ann Pulsipher, Eliza Pulsipher, and Hannah Louisa Leavitt. On display are some of the tools and equipment used by Terry and his descendants at the Terry Ranch and also from the Beaver Dam homestead.

The Plaque on the Thomas Sirls Terry Monument in the center of the park states:

Thomas Sirls Terry
3 Oct 1825 - 12 Aug 1920

Thomas Sirtls Terry was born in Bristol Township, Bucky County, Pennsylvania, on 3 October 1825 to Thomas Sirls and Mary Ann Murkins Terry. Thomas went to work at the age of 7 in a local cotton mill. At 17 he was apprenticed to learn the trade of printing calico cloth.

Thomas first heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in November of 1841. He was taught and baptized by Joseph Newton on 12 Mar, 1842. Thomas was always true to his new faith. On 19 Jan 1847 he began the 1,030-mile jounrey west as a teamster, to be with other members of the church arriving in the Salt Lake Valley on 25 Sept 1847.

In 1849 Thomas became acquainted with Mary ann Pulsipher, the daughter of a porminent pioneer family, they married on Christmas day that year. On 6 May 1855, he took a second wife, Eliza Jane Pulsipher, the youngest sister of Mary Ann.

In October of 1856 Thomas was called to leave his families and farm and go on a mission. He labored in Philadelphia and New Jersey. He was released from his mission by Parley P. Pratt and was assigned as captain, of a company of the Saints going west.

In the fall of 1862 Thomas was called to the Dixie Cotton Mission in southwestern Utah. After spending the winter in St. George he moved his families to Shoal Creek (Hebron), Washington County, Utah. Later he built a ranch and stage station ... Moroni Springs west of Hebron.

In 1867 Thomas was ordained a high priest and called as bishop of the Hebron Ward. He served as bishop for 27 years. In 1878 he married his third wife, Hannah Louisa Leavitt. Because of the Edmund's Tucker act, in 1885 Thomas moved Hannah's family to the Beaver Dam Wash in Washington County, Utah.

Hebron was abandoned. Thomas and his family moved to Enterprise where he was called as patriarch of the area.

Perhaps the greatest written statement of Thomas Sirls Terry are his own words of encouragement to his 30 children. "When famine and starvation stared me in the face, and hunger had so weakened my mortal frame that when at my lobors I would have to sit down to rest in order to gain strength...still I hung on to my faith and integrity in the Lord...And when a mist of darkness had darkened the horizon of truth and when the prophets of God, who were slain for the testimony which they bore, by the wicken fiends of Hell, and when destruction seemed to the total overthrow of the whole church, my faith was still in the Lord, and would serve the God of Israel and would never let anything shake me from my firm position in the commandments of the Church. Therefore, my dear children, let nothing of an evil nature persuade you from a righteous course through life, and always carry out your righteous decrees and be firm in your determination."

Thomas Sirls Terry died 12 Aug 1920 at the age of 95 and was buried in Enterprise, Utah.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Extracted Marriage Records, LDS Temple Records, SL, UT M183393 1851-1854 Film

!THOMAS SIRLS TERRY, RHT's great-grandfather, was born 3 Oct 1825, at Bristol, Bucks, Pennsylvania. TST was baptized 12 Mar 1842. He may have been rebaptized at Winter Quarters in 1847. Thomas crossed the plains in 1847, as a member of Daniel Spencer/Peregrine Sessions Company. TST married MARY ANN PULSIPHER 25 Dec 1849, after a voice from Heaven told him whom he was to marry. He was called to leave his two wives to fulfill a mission to the United States and was a Wagon Train Captain on the way back to Utah, who experienced the raising of the dead. He dug the first domestic well in the Salt Lake Valley in the spring of 1848, on South Temple, 53 feet deep. He was married four times and raised 30 children to maturity. He was Patriarch and first bishop of Hebron. TST died 12 Aug 1920, at the age of 95, and was buried at Enterprise, Washington, Utah. A Pioneer Park was dedicated in his rememberance at Enterprise in 1996. RHT's lineage through TST is: THOMAS SIRLS TERRY > ALMIRA TERRY > LORA HARMON > ROBERT HENRY THOMPSON.

!Mormon Pioneer. [Bucks County Pennsylvania is often called Buckshire, Pennsylvania].
! A monument to Thomas Sirls Terry as the founder of Enterprise, Utah, was dedicated Sunday, 14 July 1996, at the crossroads just as one enters Enterprise from the south. TST was married 4 times and had 30 living children. TST was Bishop of Hebron [Heebrun], and is buried in Enterprise seven miles to the east of Hebron. Pioneer, Wagon Train Captain, Raised the dead, Patriarch, Master Printer, Missionary, Arrived in the valley September 1847, Learned penmanship and shorthand while crossing the plains at age 21, He dug the first well in Utah in the spring of 1848, worked for Apostle Parley P. Pratt, was told by revelation whom he was to marry. lived 95 years. TST dug the first domestic well in SLC, on South Temple Street, fifty three feet deep. He crossed the plains missing Nauvoo and the persecutions.
!"I enjoyed myself firstrate on the plains!" He was hired to drive the 3rd new conastoga wagon for Darwin Richardson the last lap of the journey. Grandmother Richardson rode with him in the 3rd wagon and taught him shorthand and penmanship as they traveled. He helped found Hebron (Heebrun), Utah. He married two daughters of Zera Pulsipher. Mary Ann settled in Enterprise, Eliza Jane in Panaca. TST died at age 95.
1841 - TST first heard Elders of the "Restored Church of Jesus Christ" in 1841.
1845 - TST was listed as a printer.
1847 - TST traveled West to join the Saints in 1847, arriving at Winter Quarters in June.
1847 - TST was baptized in 1847, at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, by Joseph Newton.
Also in June he started for the Valley.
1847 - TST arrived in the Valley in 23 Sep 1847. "I enjoyed myself first-rate on the plains!"
1847 - TST crossed the plains in 1847, as a member of Daniel Spencer's hundred, Perregrine Session's
fifty, and Elijah F Sheet's ten.
1848 - TST was ordained a "Deacon" in the spring of 1848, by Edward Hunter, Officiator.
1848 - TST dug the 1st domestic well in the Valley 53' deep on South Temple Street in the spring of 1848.
1848 - Crickets Attacked the crops in 1848.
1850 - TST homesteaded forty acres on Little Cottonwood Creek in 1850.
TST was rebaptized at Union Fort, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory.
1851 - TST was ordained a "Seventy" in 1851.
1854 - TST received his endowments 20 Mar 1854, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
1855 - TST was sealed to his 2nd wife, Eliza Jane Pulsipher, 6 May 1855, in the Endowment House.
1855 - TST was assigned to the 29th Quorum of Seventy 6 May 1855.
1856 - TST filled a Mission to the United States. Reporting to President Erastus Snow in St Louis, he was
sent to Philadelphia.
1857 - TST was appointed Wagon Train Captain. Apostle Parley P Pratt asked TST to accompany him west.
While Parley went south to gather the company TST was released from his mission. He then
learned of the murder of Elder Pratt and was called to be Wagon Train Captain leaving Winter
Quarters 1 July 1857 and arriving in the Valley in September. He raised the dead.
Handcart Companies, Utah War, Move south to Springville, Return to Cottonwood,
Wife Lucy left him twice....
1858 - During "the move" in 1858, TST moved his family temporarily to Springville, but then back to Little
Cottonwood. He was then Counselor to Bishop Silas Richards.
1859 - TST attempted to raise sugar cane in 1859.
1860 - TST was listed as a farmer when the 1860 Federal Census was taken in Salt Lake City.
[was head of a household of ten, Real wealth of $350.00, Personal wealth of $500.00]
1862 - TST was called along with 200 other families to the Dixie Cotton Mission.
1874 - TST was visited by the Adversary. TST was then very ill.
1876 - TST was ordained a High Priest and set apart as Bishop in 1876.
1878 - TST was sealed to his 4th wife, Hannah Louisa Leavitt, 5 Apr 1878, in the St George Temple.
1885 - TST moved to Beaver Dam Wash south of Hebron during the anti plural-marriage raids.
1894 - Bishop TST presided over the Hebron Ward until it was discontinued 9 Sep 1894.
1908 - TST was ordained Patriarch 14 Jun 1908, & gave a Patriarchal Blessing to g-daughter Lora Harmon.
TST was a Patriarch in the St George Stake of Zion
1913 - TST's first wife, Mary Ann Pulsipher Terry, died 18 Sep 1913, and was buried in Enterprise.


1. Mary Ann Pulsipher 25 Dec 1849 Salt Lake City Council House
2. Eliza Jane Pulsipher 06 May 1855 Salt Lake City Council House
3. Lucy Stevenson 27 Dec 1857 Salt Lake City Council House
4. Hanna Louisa Leavett 05 Apr 1878 St George Temple


Thomas Sirls Terry: 12 Aug 1920 Enterprise, Washington, Utah, USA

1. Lucy Stevenson Camp Floyd , Point of the Mountain, Utah County, Utah, USA
2. Mary Ann Pulsipher: 17 Sep 1913 Hebron, Washington, Utah, USA
3. Eliza Jane Pulsipher: 05 May1919 Panaca, Lincoln, Nevada, USA
4. Hannah Louisa Leavitt 05 Jan 1938 St George, Washington, Utah, USA

Census Place: Hebron, Washington, Utah
Source: FHL Film 1255339 National Archives Film T9-1339 Page 402C
Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace
Thomas TERRY Self M M W 55 PA
Occ: Farmer Fa: PA Mo: PA
Eliza J. TERRY Wife F M W 40 IL
Occ: Keep House Fa: --- Mo: ---
Sarah M. TERRY Dau F S W 15 UT
Occ: At Home Fa: PA Mo: IL
Rebecca J. TERRY Dau F S W 10 UT
Fa: PA Mo: IL
Frank D. TERRY Son M S W 7 UT
Fa: PA Mo: IL
Elthara TERRY Dau F S W 3 UT

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! It's exciting to find a Terry on my Mom's side doing genealogy. I typed in Thomas Sirls Terry looking for any available photos of him and discovered your blog. My Mother, Edith Louisa Blake, was the daughter of Rowland Ellicock Blake and Exie Terry. I descend through Hannah Louisa Leavitt. My Mother had a Terry Family Book years ago and I've never been able to locate it. I contacted a Terry in South Ogden, Utah about 5 years ago, but her husband had died and she didn't have a copy of the book. If you ever hear of a Terry Family Reunion, please let me know. Thanks for the information! Deena Jiieeggy@aol.com