Finding Your Folks: The southside Terry Family, Part 2

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

We continue this week with the Terry family of Coweta and Campbell counties, written and submitted by Nancy Jones Cornell of Fairburn. Nancy is president of the Old Campbell County Historical Society (OCCHS).

I mentioned last week that Campbell County, for you new folks, is no longer on the Georgia map but was merged with Fulton County back in 1932. Campbell was formed in 1827 and for more than 100 years was a hustling, bustling, independent county. Its county seat was originally a town called Campbellton (also a vanished community) which was west of Fairburn and just east of the Chattahoochee River. The county seat was later moved to Fairburn when the railroad came through and Campbellton sort of dwindled out. Hard economic times compelled the residents to vote for merging with Fulton in 1932 and the number of Georgia counties was reduced by one. The merging of Milton County the same year brought the number of counties in Georgia to its present 159.

With the recent revitalization of the South Fulton area, rumor has it that residents are ready to bring back Campbell County and enjoy some form of independence from Fulton. We shall see where that may lead in the future.

Nancy Cornell's continuing story about her Terry family this week includes some personal sketches of the people and the county. Nancy writes of her ancestor, Roberson William Terry, son of John and Antha Wright Terry:

According to Callie Terry Jones (my grandmother), Roberson was a shoemaker. He owned a store on Highway 92 near Mt. Vernon Baptist Church which also housed the post office for the vicinity. She said he would often stop travelers in the road to find out the latest news. Roberson enlisted as a 3rd Lieutenant in Co. B, 7th Regiment Georgia State Guards on Aug. 4, 1863. This unit was organized for a six month period.

Roberson Wm. and his wife, Mary Louisa (b. 28 Dec. 1841 - d. 4 Nov. 1922) are buried in Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery on Highway 92 outside of Fairburn.

John Irvin, son of Roberson and Mary Louisa Terry, married Lanie Ann Nethidus Tucker, daughter of Will and Tennie Tucker, in Campbell County. In 1894, they moved to Commerce, Texas, where they lived near John's half-sister, Nancy Antha Darnell, for about two years. They moved back to Campbell County where they lived for the next 23 years. In 1919, John took his wife and children, with the exception of Callie, to Oneca, Fla. He invested all he had in land and lost it during the depression of the 1930s. John and Lanie lived in Florida for the rest of their lives and many of their descendants continue to reside there.

John and Lanie's children were: (1) Roberson W. "Rooster" (b. 9 Nov. 1892 - d. 4 Jan. 1919) never married; (2) Callie (b. 29 Oct. 1894 - d. 29 Oct. 1990) married Elzie Berry Jones; (3) Clara Belle (b. 24 June 1897 - d. 18 Feb. 1915) never married; (4) Clois (b. 12 Jan. 1900 - d. 11 Dec. 1990) married Clyde L. Amlong; (5) Wm. Wayne (b. 7 June 1903 - d. 4 Feb. 1993) married Mary Wyatt; (6) Tom Watson (b. 1 March 1906 - d. 25 July 1987) married Fannie Braswell; (7) Earnest Hall (b. 30 Aug. 1908 - d. 22 April 1992) married Lucille Yonce; (8) John Harold (b. 31 Aug. 1911 - d. 21 July 1975) married Pat Taylor; (9) James Daniel (b. 28 Feb. 1914 - d. 2002) married Edna Mae Williams; (10) Alice Helen (b. 7 June 1917 - still living) married Charles Griffith; and (11) Hazel Lee (b. 4 March 1923 - d. 1963) married Edward Mathis.

John Irvin Terry was a farmer, a dairyman, a fiddler, and a teacher. He taught school at Enon in Campbell County when he lived near Mt. Vernon Church. John played the fiddle for many square dances while his wife, Lanie, tapped the fiddle strings with a broom straw to create a rhythm. John's children went to school in the one-room schoolhouse next to Mt. Vernon Church.

According to my grandmother, Callie, the teacher taught the children in small groups according to size, age or ability. Those not being helped at the moment were supposed to be studying; however, every time a horse or wagon passed by, they all ran to the door to see who it was. Callie said the wagons went by fairly slow, so you had plenty of time to decide if you knew them. Travelers were so important in those days, often bringing news the settlement had no other way of hearing; and many homes, such as Roberson Terry's, had an extra room for travelers which was usually called the preacher's room.

John Irvin and his wife, Lanie (b. 19 Nov. 1875 - d. 26 July 1960), are buried in the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery on Highway 92, Fulton County.

That concludes Nancy's story about her Terry family. I really appreciate her sharing her story with us. If you'd like to discuss this family with Nancy (or any of the families mentioned), you can email her at Or, if you'd like to meet Nancy in person, drop by the Old Campbell County Courthouse at 3 p.m. on the third Sunday of any month (except October and December) for a meeting of the OCCHS. Visitors and new members are always welcome.

Stories about your families who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send stories to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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