The Richard Gray Terrell Families

Written by Great Granddaughter,
Betty Terrell Owens December 2003

Richard Gray TERRELL was born in the Hillsboro area, less than ten miles from El Dorado in Union County, Arkansas. He was born 15 December 1862, (ref: death certificate), or in 1863 (date on gravestone, Cemetery Records Smith Co. TX Vol. lll, Southwest Quarter, page 197; 1900 census of Smith Co. TX). His father was Thomas C. Terrell, and his mother was Sarah Ellen TATUM Terrell. Richard Gray Terrell was enumerated on the 1880 census of Union Co. AR. He married Lula GIVENS, 23 January 1883, in Smith County, TX, and 2nd Josephine Antoinette "Jesse" HILL on 3 April 1898 in Smith County, TX.
Richard Gray Terrell

Family tradition is that Richard's mother sent him out one night to get some coal oil, and he did not return until twenty years later with some coal oil in hand. (Source: Douglas Terrell). His daughter, Eunice HOPSON said he "left home to see the world." Perhaps he had heard family stories about his maternal great grandmother, Rachel WALKER VARDEMAN who died in Rusk County Texas in 1854, and his three Vardeman uncles who had served as Texas Rangers, and these stories caused him to head for Texas. (one source: Remembering Rusk County, by Rusk Co. Gen .Soc., 1992, page 355, Vardeman stories by Ruth S. Grant) Douglas Terrell said he was told that when Richard returned to his old home in Arkansas, he gave a signal "Rebel type yell" used as a password during the Civil War at the lane to his home, and a black man there said "It's Master Dick, he's come home." Richard's mother was not on the 1880 census. Twins were born to her in 1874. She is presumed deceased by 1880. A deed of conveyance is found on Page 1, Book MM in the Courthouse in Union Co. AR. In it, on the 29th day of January, 1890, Richard G. Terrell sold for $246.00, one black horse/ mule about ten years old, and the cotton already planted on 30 acres. His son, Minor Terrell, was born there (Source: 1910 Census).

Aunt Eunice Hopson said that her father was fair with blue eyes, and that his son, Uncle Steve Terrell was "the spitting image of him." She said that Aunt Grace, her sister, had his eyes. Richard Gray Terrell was called "Ritchie" in his father's will and was known as Dick Terrell in Texas. He made his living in sawmills, and the logging business. All his children except Minor Terrell were born in various sawmill towns in East Texas. Richard Gray Terrell was employed by the McMann or McMinn Sawmill in Henderson Co. TX. It was located on the Neches River, and the family lived there. Eugene Terrell was born there. Richard ran the ferry across the "Big Eddy" on the Neches River near Chandler, Texas. The ferry was owned by the owner of the saw mill. This was before the bridge was built across "Big Eddy". The "old Ferryî crossing was where many families went for picnics and swimming in the 1940's. At one time, loggers put logs in the Neches to float them down to the saw mill. Richard Gray Terrell operated a steam powered boat that worked with pulling the logs down the river. He built a bridge across Fork Creek at the fork of the Neches and Kickapoo Rivers and it was called "Terrell's Crossing." A log road was built in conjunction with the crossing, and this was built with the help of Eugene Terrell and his brothers. Douglas Terrell said in the area where "Terrell's Crossing" was located, that his father, Eugene ìGeneî Terrell, had sunk big hollow logs to make a habitat for catfish. They would go there, and as "Gene" could hold his breath longer than Douglas could hold his, "Gene" would dive down to try to catch a catfish. The method involved tying a rope to oneself, and tying on a plank to block the fish from going out the other end of the log. One time, "Gene" had tied the rope to his hand, and was taking an extra long time to surface. When he finally came up, he had a 22 pound catfish with him. These logs were used to put catfish on the Terrell family tables during the Depression years. Along about 1935, there was a forest of very large old trees that grew in the Neches River vicinity in Henderson County, TX. The National Guard had used the trees for target practice for a long time. About this time, Tom Terrell, Richard Gray Terrell' s eldest son, bought the timber, and proceeded to cut it. The community was very angry that the trees were being cut. Douglas Terrell said it could have very well been a natural virgin stand of trees. He described it as very, very beautiful. Eugene Terrell was employed there for a long time, doing nothing but sharpening the saws that were used to cut the trees. They were full of shells that had been shot by the National Guard, and dulled or broke the many saws used to cut the trees.

Richard Gray " Dick" and Lula Terrell had seven children:
1. Thomas "Tom" C. Terrell: (1886-1955) (He had the same name as Dick Terrell's father.) He married Ethel RASH.
2. Mittie E.: (1882-1907) (Dick Terrell's mother was named Ellen.....Could the E. be for Ellen?) She married W.L.HUBBARD.
3. Sam: (1888ca -1905) Uncle Steve said he died trying to wire rafters together to make a ceiling for their house. Douglas Terrell said that Sam was very smart. Sam, as a very young child, had made a small mechanical sawmill that actually worked.
4. Carrie Frances: (1894-1971) Aunt Carrie married several times. One of Aunt Carrie's husbands was William K. BAILEY that she married in Beaumont, Texas. He was a member of the Bailey family of Barnum, and Bailey Circus. She also married Joseph BEALL.
5. Minor Wallace (1890-1977) ( Minor is a name found in previous generations of Terrell families, and there was a Minor Wallace living in Union County, Arkansas). Minor married Oma Jane SHIFLETT.
6 & 7. Infants who died.

Lula died prior to 1898. Eunice Terrell Hopson said Lula Givens Terrell was buried at Teasleville, TX near Bullard TX in an unmarked grave. Richard Gray Terrell married Josephine Antoinette "Jesse" HILL 3 April 1898 in Smith County, Texas.

They were the parents of fourteen children:
1. Richard Gray, Jr. :" Dick" (1899-1986)
2. Eugene Matthew "Gene": (1901-1984) Both names came from Jesse Hill Terrell's side of the family, Matthew being her father's name, and Eugene from the Augier family. Eugene "Gene" Terrell married Mary Belle NOWLIN in Henderson County on 22 Feb. 1922, and are the grandparents of the author.
3. Dave: (c 1902-1905) Died as a child after eating lye soap (source: Steve Terrell) 4. Alice Lee: (1903-1968) Married John B. NOWELL
5. Steve: (1904-1995) Married Laverne WYATT.
6. Clyde: (1906-1981) Married Willie GIDEON.
7. Eunice Inez: (1913- 1998) Married Riley HOPSON.
8. Willy Frank: "Bill" (1915-1989)
9. Joe Horace: (1917- still living ) Married Sara COTNEY.
10. Jefferson Francis: (1919-1974) (Jesse's father was named Jefferson.) married Louise CLOUD.
11. Grace Ann: (1922-1972) (Richard had a sister named Grace.)
12. W.O.: Died young. (These initials may stand for William Organ. Organ is a family name from Richard's mother's family.)
13. Caddie: Died young...(Richard's sister was named Caddie.)
14. Infant

Richard Gray Terrell joined the Baptist Church in Chandler, Texas in 1913 (ref: Chandler, Its History and People) After his death, his wife and children still at home were members of the Martin Springs Church of Christ in Henderson County, Texas. (Source: Doris and Douglas Terrell). Richard Gray Terrell returned to Union County, Arkansas in 1925 and became sick with the flu, which turned into pneumonia. He was carried to Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. MOON, his personal physician in Chandler, Texas, went to Little Rock, and brought him home on the train to Chandler. He died 6 April 1925. (Source: Steve Terrell). Richard Gray Terrell was buried in Loftin Cemetery in Teasleville Cemetery in Smith Co. TX. Surely he was buried beside his first wife, Lula. A small tombstone was put there. When Jesse died, a double headstone with Richard and Jesse's names was erected, and the original stone was also left in place.

Josephine Antoinette "Jesse" Hill Terrell
18 September 1878-20 October 1956

From the first, Josephine Antoinette 'Jesse' HILL Terrell lived an interesting life. I remember being taken in to see her when I was young, when she looked quite ancient. When she died, her vast Terrell and Hill families gathered at her daughter, Eunice Hopson's home. Jesse, as she was called, was born to Ernestine Matilda AUGIER HILL, who was born in France. Her family moved to Cooke County, Texas by wagon train, and Jesse was the fifth child born. Before she was two years old, her father, Matthew Jefferson Hill was accidentally shot and killed. Numerous family tragedies occurred, and finally her widowed mother returned to Henderson County, Texas, where her maternal grandmother and the aunt, for whom she was named, lived. (source: East Texas Family Records,Vol 13, #2, pages 24-26 by DR. Alma MOORE FREELAND) In her teens, Jesse had an illegitimate son, Paul BREWER, who was given to a family named Brewer for adoption. Later, he returned to her, and was known and loved by all. On April 3, 1898 she married a widower, Richard Gray "Dick" Terrell. Fifteen years younger than him, she acquired a ready- made family of five children age 16 years to 3 years. With her husband, living in the East Texas woods while pursuing his living working in sawmills, and working on a boat in the Big Eddy, one shudders when one contemplates what her life must have been like. Richard and Jesse started a family, and it seemed as soon as one child was weaned, another took its place...fourteen times. Jesse lost an infant, and another child, Dave, died young from eating some lye soap. When enlarging family pictures, the author was startled to see how beautiful she was in one of the pictures holding one of her babes with her husband. She was a heart-faced woman with a "widow's peak" in her hair. Richard Gray 'Dick' Terrell, her husband, left on a trip back to his place of birth in Arkansas in 1925, and returned to their home in Chandler on his deathbed. Soon Jesse was a widow with five or six young children for which to provide. She became a member of the Martin Springs Church of Christ, where her daughter- in- law, Mary NOWLIN Terrell was a member. Another member of the Church there was Doris COTTEN Terrell who remembers the little purse in which Jesseís daughter Grace used to bring her Church offering. Jesse had a brief second marriage.

Tragedy struck Jesse. She lost her eyesight.

In the 1950's, Grandma Jesse Terrell made her home with her daughter, Eunice Hopson on an East Texas farm in Henderson County, Texas. A vicious tornado made a direct hit on their farmhouse, and the family, including Jesse, found themselves flung into the adjacent field. All survived. The home was smashed to small pieces. I do know that even forty years or so after Jesseís death, Aunt Eunice still showed a fierce love for her Mother, as did her other children. There are several different spellings of Jesseís name, from Annette to Auntunett. I asked Aunt Eunice if a family Bible existed, and she said that it had blown away in the tornado. Because Jesse had a maternal aunt named Josephine Antoinette, I believe Jesse was named for her, and so have chosen to spell her name the way I have in the records. Her death record has several inaccuracies in it, including the spelling of her motherís maiden name and that her mother had been born on a ship as it crossed the ocean. The correct name was Augier, and her mother was three years old when she sailed to America. Ernestine Matilda Augier and Matthew J. Hill obtained a marriage license in Henderson County, Texas on 28 Oct, 1872. She was the daughter of Clarissa ìClaraî Antoinette ROBERT AUGIER and Bienvenue Pascal AUGIER. Clarissa and her children had joined her husband in America in 1856, and all were born in France. Augier died in Rapides Parish Louisiana in the 1860ís and Clarrissa was found on the 1870, and 1880 census of Henderson County TX before she moved with her son, Charles Augier to Terrell in Kaufman County, Texas, where she died in 1900. Matthew J. Hill was the son of John Jacob Hill and Mary MULLINS Hill, and the grandson of Asaap Hill and Elizabeth MARR Hill. The widowed Elizabeth Hill first came to Texas before 1846 with her daughter, Rebecca Hill, according to family stories. She is buried in the Meador Cemetery in Smith County, Texas. (primary source Övarious publications of Dr. Alma Moore FREELAND).

Josephine Antoinette "Jesse" Hill Terrell was the second wife of Richard Gray Terrell. She, along with his first wife, Lula Givens, were the founding Mothers of the East Texas Terrell family. What a great clan they gave birth to, and how straight and tall they would have stood if they could have seen the future of their Terrell family in Texas.

Richard Gray Terrell's family in Arkansas

Thomas C. Terrell

Know all men by these presents, that I Thomas C. Terrell of Hillsboro, in the County of Union, and state of Arkansas, being in ill health, but of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and publish this, my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made. 1st. I hereby constitute and appoint my beloved daughter Grace to be the sole executrix of my last will, without giving bond, directing my said executrix to pay all my just debts and funeral expenses and the legacies hereinafter given out of my estate. 2nd. After the payments of my just debts and funeral expenses, I give to each of my children Perry Terrell, Thomas Terrell, Richie Terrell, and Cad Tatum, the sum of one dollar each, to be paid to each of them as soon after my decease but within one year, as conveniently may be done. 3rd. And for the payment of the legacies aforesaid, I give and devise to my said executrix all the personal estate owned by me at my decease, also all moneys owned by me, or oweing me, also my household furniture and wearing apparel for her sole use. 4th. I give and devise to my said executrix all of my real estate, of whatever kind and description, I may own at the time of my decease, to be hers and hers alone, to do with, and dispose of in any way she may see proper. In testimony whereof, I hereto set my hand, and publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, in the presence of the witnesses named below, this 13 day of Dec. 1904. Thos. C. Terrell

With these few words, Thomas C. Terrell of Hillsboro, Union County, Arkansas leaves an impression of his character and legacy to his descendants. All he possessed except for four dollars, he left to his daughter, Grace, the wife of Charles W. TELFORD. Soon after Terrell's death and burial in Hillsboro Cemetery, Grace buried her only child, name unknown, beside him. The tombstone has the name Telford, "Our Darling", b. Dec. 8, 1906 engraved on it. Thomas Terrell' s stone has a Masonic emblem. The graves of his brother, Thomas O. Terrell (1861-1923) and sister.in law, Gussie, (LEWIS) (1869-1900) are in the same plot. These four dollars - .where did they go? The first one went to his first born son, William Perry Terrell. William Perry had married Frances FLENIKEN, and moved to Duncan, Oklahoma, where he died about 1910. The second dollar went to Thomas O. Terrell. This son stayed in Union County, Arkansas, and married first to Gussie Lewis, and second to Hortense JORDAN. The third dollar went to Richard Gray "Richie" Terrell who moved to Henderson County, Texas, and married first, Lula Givens, and second, Josephine Antoinette ìJesseî Hill. The fourth dollar went to Graceís twin sister, Caddie. Caddie (Oct. 28, 1874-March 21, 1940) married her first cousin, Dr. Perry A. Tatum, (March 30 1868-October 18, 1928) and lived in Cherry Ridge, Union Parish, Louisiana. It is said that Caddie and her husband made a decision to never have children because of their close kinship. In her will, she bequeathed all she owned to her caregiver and niece, Mrs. J.P. HEBERT (Mamie) and her sister and brother in law, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Telford. The Telfords were deceased by this time, with no descendants. Mrs. J.P. Hebert was the sole beneficiary. Thomas C. Terrell married Sarah Ellen Tatum on December 25, 1857 at the home of her father, Joshua Perry Tatum. The 1860 census lists Terrell' s occupation as farmer with a $10,000 value of Personal Estate. The 1860 Index of Slave Owners shows that he owned three male slaves and three female slaves. In March 1862, Thomas C. was a Private in Co. G, 19 (Dockeryís) Arkansas Infantry, Confederate Army. This unit defended Vicksburg, Mississippi during the siege. There is no known information on the military career of Thomas C. Terrell, other than the two small cards from the National Archives. No children were born between 1862 and 1874 that survived to be enumerated on the Census. Sarah Ellen, wife of Thomas C., was not found on the 1880 census of Union County. She had birthed twin daughters in 1874 at the age of 38. Richard Gray left home between 1880 and 1883. Sarah Ellen is said to be buried on her father, Joshua Perry Tatum's plantation, now called the Taylor Plantation, located in Union County,Arkansas. (source: Jackie MYERS).

The Biographical and Historical Memories of Southern Arkansas, Goodspeed, 1890, stated that T.C. Terrell in 1890 was Tiler of Polk Lodge, A.F.& A.M. located at Hillsborough.

These records for Thomas C. Terrell are located in El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas.
1. Register of School Directors, Union County, Arkansas 1882-1916, Compiled by Flora Lovette; Indexed by Alwyn Murph, published in 1981 Date of Elected or Appointed:
T.C. Terrell Hillsboro ..Appt. July 1887
T.C. Terrell Hillsboro ..Elected May 20, 1893
T.C. Terrell Hillsboro ..Elected May 16, 1896
T.C. Terrell Hillsboro ..Elected May 20, 1899
2. 1876 T.C. Terrell, et al to Mrs. D.A. Golsby Jan. 29, 1876 Thos. C. Terrell account of 1250 pounds of cotton to be used as payment to school Teacher with others in community (T.C. Terrell liable for largest payment)
3. 1883 -T.C. Terrell sold C.A. Suggs 600 acres, also sold one black mare mule about nine years old, one small horse mule about twelve years old, one dark brown mare mule about twelve years old, one bay mare mule about thirteen years old, twenty head of cattle marked with swallow fork in the right and crop and split in the left ear. Also all the cotton and corn Terrell shall make or cause to be made this year in Union and State. Terrell already planted eighty acres of cotton and sixty acres of corn.
4. February 1897 T.C. Terrell sold to E.F. Saxon 600 acres for $900.00

1899 T. C. Terrell purchased Clerk's Deed of Tax Sale unspecified acres

Dec. 1901 Thos. C. Terrell sold to P.C. Moon and H.L. Moon this amount of land: 160 acres, 40 acres, 40 acres, 40 acres, 160 acres, 80 acres, or a total of 680 acres for $2040.00.

Dec. 22, 1902 T.C. Terrell purchased 40 acres, from John.W. Robertson and S.M. Robertson for $216.00

1902 T.C. Terrell purchased 40 acres from Mrs. Abbey McStew for $80.00

July 1904 T.C. Terrell purchased 120 acres from T.C. Starrett, Delphine Starrett for $300.00 November 23, 1904 T.C.Terrell Quit Claim-sold 120 acres to Cornie Stave. Co.for $325.00

Thomas came to Union County, Arkansas with his parents, William Pitt Terrell and Lucy B. JEFFRIES Terrell, and siblings probably between 1848 and 1850 from Wake County, NC. The family received patents on many acres of land, and brought numerous slaves with them from North Carolina. Thomas married Sarah Ellen Tatum, who had recently moved with her family, Joshua Perry Tatum, and Sarah Elizabeth Vardeman Tatum from Alabama. The Civil War raged around them and their families, undoubtedly changing their lives forever. Two sons left to seek their fortunes in other states. . It is evident that better times returned to the family. Terrell was first appointed to be a School Director, and then won three elections to the Register. His daughters filled the void left when Sarah Ellen died, and helped ease his life in his old age. Thomas C. Terrell was the grandfather of 30 known grandchildren, and many of them lived in Henderson County, Texas.

Betty Terrell Owens lineage through Richard Gray Terrell has been proved for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution for the following Patriots:
SOLOMON TERRELL, Patriot, North Carolina
JEPTHA TERRELL, Patriot, North Carolina
SYLVANUS WALKER, Soldier, Georgia
MATTHEW ORGAN, Patriot, North Carolina
PETER TATUM, Patriot, North Carolina
JOHN HOWELL, Patriot, North Carolina