James TERRY James TERRY Joseph TERRY Nathaniel TERRY Keziah TERRY Benjamin M TERRY Sarah TERRY Levina TERRY Peter TERRY Mary TERRY Elizabeth DICKERSON Stephen TERRY Joseph TERRY Champness TERRY Nathaniel TERRY Mary Diane ROYALL Mini tree diagram
Benjamin M TERRY

Benjamin M TERRY1,2,5,3

also known as Benjamin TERRY

17001,2,3 - before 26th Sep 17711,2,3

Life History


Born in Lunenburg County, Virginia.1,2,3


Birth of son Joseph TERRY in Halifax County, Virginia.6,2


Birth of son Nathaniel TERRY in Virginia.7,3


Married Elizabeth DICKERSON in Virginia.8

about 1730

Birth of daughter Sarah TERRY in Virginia


Birth of daughter Keziah TERRY in Virginia.8

about 1730

Birth of son Benjamin M TERRY in Virginia

about 1740

Birth of daughter Levina TERRY in Virginia

28th Dec 1760

Wrote will in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.4


Death of Elizabeth DICKERSON in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.1,3

about Sep 1771

Buried in Pittsylvania County, Virginia

before 26th Sep 1771

Died in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.1,2,3


Birth of son Peter TERRY in Virginia

Other facts


Birth of daughter Mary TERRY in Virginia


  • --------------------------
    Terry Genealogy & History

    Terry has the distinction of having over a hundred spelling variations, including Tarry, Theuret, Theike, Thiele, Thierry, Thoreau, Tieck, Tietze, Tilke, Tillich, and Torry. Derived from the middle English given-name "Thierri," which was derived from Old Norman given-name "Theodoric," Terry means powerful.

    Alternatively, in Old French, "thierri" is a potter. The Terry/Thierry form is generally English; Terry family history traces back to a feudal manor in Kent, where the Thierry family was granted lands by the Earl of Pembroke in the 1130s or 1140s.  Simultaneously in Ireland, Terri branches settled in Cork and Torrie/Torry branches in Waterford.  American Terry family history dates from 1630 in New England.
    --  Archives, https://www.archives.com/genealogy/family-history-terry.html

    There are discrepancies in the connections presented in different genealogies in the children of James Terry and Mary Diane Royall.  I continue to investigate and attempt to clarify and verify.

    I note that the reported birth date of the first son Joseph in some sources would be too early to be correct, and thus I have suspicions that this Joseph is not the son of Benjamin M and Elizabeth Dickerson Terry.  There is no son Joseph named in the will either, but he could have died earlier than the writing of the will.

    Though commonly reported in popular genealogies, it is not documented in historical records that Benjamin Terry was the son of James Terry and Diane Royall.  Notes from some Terry researchers may be found in the Terry Family Historian newsletter.
    --  Terry Family Historian, http://www.terry-family-historian.com/SouthsideVA/Genealogy_and_Myth.htm

    U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900
    Benjamin Terry
    Gender Male
    Birth 1704 VA
    Spouse Elizabeth Irby [Elizabeth Dickerson]
    Spouse Birth Year 1708
    Marriage 1724 VA

    The reported year of birth differs in various sources, compilations and descendant applications to the Sons of the American Revolution, from 1700 to 1708.

    U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970
    Benjamin Terry
    Birth 1700 New Kent, Virginia [cf Pittsylvania County, Virginia in other sources]
    Death 26 Jul 1771 Pittsylvania, Virginia
    SAR Membership #90362
    Spouse Elizabeth Dickerson
    Children Nathaniel Terry
    Ancestor of Robert Henry Terry III, MD
    Application 12 Aug 1963
    Application Accepted and approved 19 Aug 1963 by Herbert C Roberts
    Application Accepted by the State Board of Management 19 Aug 1963 by Harold W Slater

    Benjamin's children are named in his will.  We have a copy of the original handwritten entry in the Record Book.  This is an entry by a Clerk of the original will presented to the court by Benjamin's sons Nathaniel and Benjamin.

    The date of the will was 28 December 1760.  It was probated on 26 September 1771, placing Benjamin's death some days before this.  The name of Benjamin's wife as Elizabeth Irby is controversial.  It is reported this maiden name is written in by another later hand.  It would be unusual for the wife to be referred to by her maiden name in the will.  In appointing executors at the end, she is Eliz. Terry.  Note that Ben appoints his wife Elizabeth along with two sons as executors.  Elizabeth's death is reported as occurring in 1760, so not long after this will was written.  The two sons Nathaniel and Benjamin are appointed as executors at Ben's death in 1771.


    Will of Benjamin Terry Sr
    As entered into the official record book by the Clerk, from the original


    In the name of God Amen I, Benjamin Terry Senr. of Pittsylvania County and Parish of Camden being In my Perfect sinces and memory thankes be to god for the same But Considering the Fraility of this Life and the uncertainty of Death I do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament Disannuling all other wills by one made Either by word or Wrighting and this only Is to be taken for my Last Will and Testament. In manner and form Following,

    Viz First being Penetent and Sorry for my sins past most humbly Desire forgiveness for the same, I give and Commend my soul unto almighty God my savour, in hoom and by the mearits of Jesus Christ I Trust and hope to be saved and have full Remition of sins, and That for the settling of my Temporal estate and such goods Chatils and debts as It hath pleased god far above my deserts to bestow me I do order give and Dispose the same In manner and form following, that Is to say first of all It Is my Desire That all my Debts that I owe to any Person or Persons be truly and honestly payed by my Executors hereafter named.

    Itum [Item], I lend to my beloved wife Elizabeth Irby [surname in original appears to have been written in by another hand] four Negroes namely Abraham Melender and her Child Baler and Sener, six Cows and Calves with all my hoggs, one Feather bead and Furniture one Frying pan Two Iron potts and hooks with all the Plantation Working Toules one black mair known by name of hazard and her Colt, sober John and the sorril Plow mair all During hir natural Life and at her Decease to be Disposed of as In this my last Will as further Directed

    I give to my son Nathaniel Terry one Survey of Land being the uper Survey on Sandy Creek also one negro man named Jack and one negro man named Gregory to him and to his heirs forever.

    Itum, I give to my son Benjamin Terry the tract of land I now live on that is to say the old and first Tract Containing three hundred acres more or Less and one negro man named abraham after my Wife's death.

    Itum, I give to my son Peter Terry the survey of Land on the mine branch and one negro boy named dave and one negro girl named Isbell one Riffle gun to him and his heirs forever

    Itum, I give [illegible and marked through] to my son Joseph Terry one negro man named Tommy and one negro girl named Jenney and one rifle gun.

    Itum, I Give to my son Robert Terry one Survey of Land Joining Peter Terrys also one negro Boy name Uxerry and one negro boy named Jessey and one riffel Gunn which is not payd for but to be paid for out of what I have to be sold

    Itum, I Lend to my Daughter Rozia [Kezia, the clerk may have misread the original handwritten will] Murphy two negros namly Harry and Fillis During her natural life and after her Deseas to be equally Divided between her Children She the said Rozia [Kezia] had by her former husband James Scott and all hir other Children that she has or should have by her present husband Richard Murphey [sic] but if the said Richard Murphy [sic] should not pay his Wifes first children she had by James Scott their Legesees, that is or will be due them out of their fathers James Scotts estate Which I am security for that It shall be paid them out of the two said negro [sic] Harry and Fillis,

    I lend to my daughter Levina King two negros namly Abbey and Ivey During her natural life and then to be equally Devided theay and their increase between her Daughter grace Terry and all her children that she has got or may have by her husband Elijah King.

    I give to my Daughter Sarah Terry, three negroes namly old Jenney Pompy and Willey to hir and her heirs forever

    Item I give to my Daughter Elizabeth Buckingham two negroes namely Malinda and Bailer together with their futur increase from this time but not to be possessed of them untill after my wifes Death.

    I give to my daughter Mary Terry two negros namely Cyner and Cusshener one side saddle Feather bead and furniture and it is my desire that all the rest of my Estate be sold to pay my debts and if there should be money left that it be Devided between all my Children and I do appoint my wife Eliz Terry, my son Nathl. Terry, and my son Ben Terry Exectors

    Signed seald published and declared before us this 28th day of Decbr 1760 interlined before

    Theops. [Theophus] Lay
    John King
    William King

    Signed  B M Terry

    At a Court held for Pittsylvania County the 26th day of September 1771.

    The above Last Will and Testament of Benjamin Terry Deceased was presented in Court by Nathaniel Terry and Benjamin Terry the Executors therein named and proved by the oaths of two of the Witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and on the motion of the said Executors who made oath according to Same.

    Certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof in due form given Security whereupon they together with Isaac Read their security entered into and Acknowledged their bond according to Same.

    Test Will. Tunstall W.


    First transcribed by Julia Clark http://genforum.genealogy.com/terry/messages/7273.html
    Edited by Orville Boyd Jenkins 20 July 2011

    This retranscription edit replaces 2 missed lines, restores original spelling and capitalization, corrects names and adds the court probate record not included in the original transcription.

    I have added paragraphing between the sections for the heirs and in the probate statement to ease reading.  There was very little punctuation in the original, a couple of periods and commas, which I have kept.  I have kept original capitalization, which was artistic and whimsical in this era.  Note that various words are spelled differently in different places.  Spellings of some words also give clues to the pronunciation of the dialect at that time.  OBJ


    There has been some confusion over the maiden name of Benjamin Terry's wife.  She is commonly listed as Elizabeth Irby. Some researcehrs comment that the will was torn and no maiden name for Elizabeth occurs, but the name Irby had been written in by another hand.  Here is a great discussion about some common problems in reconstructing details about Benjamin and Elizabeth.

    Genealogy vs Mythology

    By Margie Brown a descendant of Nathaniel and Sarah Royall Terry

    I would like to address three problems with the Terry information that is usually available about Nathaniel Terry & the Terry genealogy. The great pictures of the MEMORIAL stones submitted for the Terry Cemetery.and transcribed inscriptions and photographs used with permission of the contributor is appreciated. The TERRY genealogy has nothing to do with the contributor. The contributor just copied what was there. The article below will site the documents listed at the bottom of this article for your easy reference.

    1st. problem:  Nathaniel Terry [Sr] did not have Revolutionary War service.  The stone that was put in place in 1939 in what was then The Thompson Cemetery, was awarded by the Federal Government for Nathaniel’s [Sr] service in the French and Indian War.  The revolutionary War service that is cited, is for the service of his son Nathaniel D. Terry [Jr].

    Nathaniel D. Terry and his wife Ann (Thompson) left Halifax county circa 1822 and went to Todd County, Ky., where he received a pension for that service, he dying testate in 1837.  His widow Ann (Thompson) received a widows pension #W-3054 on Nathaniel D. Terry [Jr], and continued to do so until her death in March of 1860.

    The Military Secretary’s Office in a letter dated June 29, 1906, stated “ Nothing has been found of record to show that any other soldier named Nathaniel Terry was a member of any organization of Virginia or Continental troops in service during the revolutionary war.”

    Nathaniel [Sr’s] contribution to Halifax Co. and the Colony of Virginia is illustrious,  he was born in 1724 and died in 1780, at the age of 56.  In the twenty eight years that he was a resident of Halifax, he was sheriff in 1752, justice 1752 - 1780, member of the House of Burgessess 1758 - 1764 and again in 1769 - 1776 and the House of Delegates 1776 - 1778.

    His further exploits in the French and Indians Wars can be found in Henning’s Statues., he was commissioned as Captain of the Rangers while still a resident of Lunenburg County, and was the builder of forts across Halifax County, Fort Trial, Mayo Fort,  Hickey’s Fort and Blackwater Fort.

    2nd. Problem:  The placement of the pictured stone in 1939, was in the Old Thompson Cemetery.  This property did not come into the Thompson family until after the 1806 estate settlement.  In 1939 with Terrys being buried there, the DAR ladies made a reasonable choice and there was a Terry connection.  Royall Terry, a grandson, [through the son William Terry] of Nathaniel and Sarah (Royall) Terry had married his first cousin, Susannah Foster Thompson, a daughter of James and his wife Mary (Terry) Thompson a daughter of Nathaniel and Sarah Terry.

    Susannah F. did not live long after the 1820 marriage, and died leaving one son James Edward Terry.  At the death of Mary (Terry) Thompson in 1848 and James Thompson in 1854, Royall and his son continued  to live on the Thompson property as James Edward inherited one third of the Thompson estate.  James Edward Terry married 1849 in Campbell co, Va. Maria Agnes Bailey, and they were the parents of Elizabeth Terry married J. C. Epps, William H. Terry went to Texas where he married Jeffersonia  Mc C ?? (unreadable),

    Edward Lewis Terry married Maud Tatum, Howson B. Terry  married Effie Tatum, Robert C. Terry  married Claudine Miller and Catherine D. Terry who married Charles A. Bates. (Terry Bible record). These are some of the Terry’s buried in the Thompson cemetery today.

    I will cite from the dower settlement after the death of Sarah (Royall) Terry in 1805.  Halifax Co. Va. Plea Bk #24, pages 250 -259, for therein lie the clues of the original cemetery on Nathaniel’s [Sr] Bannister River property and correctly identifies all of his children.  My sincere hope is that someone interested in the true history of Halifax Co., and is familiar with the area, will find what might be the oldest cemetery in the county.

    The oldest son and heir-at-law at the time of the death of Nathaniel Sr. was William Terry and the only child mentioned in the 1780 Will.  In 1806, after the death of Sarah Royall Terry, all of the children are named, Nancy Terry wife of Berryman Green,
    William Terry, Joseph Terry, Polly Terry wife of James Thompson, Robert Terry, Sarah Terry wife of Kibble Terry and the children of Elizabeth Dickerson Terry [deceased] wife of John Martin .

    After the division of the slaves, a division of the land was made, and a land Plat was included.  William Terry [Plea Bk 24 page 256] received the first choice, and choose lot # 1 containing four acres and the dwelling house.  This would have been the premier piece, ergo it had to be the value of the house. The other lots were from 80 acres to 45 acres.  William Terry was born in 1749 and married in 1771 Susannah Thompson.

    William Terry was a Revolutionary War soldier, and at his death in 1810 was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.  His widow Susannah (Thompson) Terry collected a pension # W - 4196, and both she and William died testate in Halifax.   Susannah lived until 1845 in the dwelling house chosen as first choice by her husband.

    At her death her sons Henry Terry (whose first wife was also a daughter of James and Polly Terry Thompson but left no issue by  her) and Royall Terry who were the only surviving sons, entered into an agreement  with Robert H. Spencer on the 19th May 1846  to wall the graveyard on that 4 acres.  In August of 1846 [Deed Bk 51 p 430] they sold the property to Wm H. Clark.  In this deed , line 27, “the graveyard on the four acres excluded.”   Signed by Royall Terry.

    From letters written by Green descendants in 1938 and 39, they admittedly did not know, almost 160 years later, where Nathaniel and Sarah were buried nor know their ages.  Knowing that there were Terrys buried in the Thompson cemetery, they obviously decided to place the stones there.  I do not fault them and I am glad they honored our ancestors, but that also has stopped the search for the true resting place.

    The first plat is from the Plea book 24 page 259, the second plat was done as a favor for me by Roger Dodson of Pittsylvania county, and his notes are self explanatory.

    For anyone who chooses to search for this old graveyard, it sits across Rt #360 from the home of the late Albert High.   The two houses that sit very close together, are on the four acre tract.  It appears that Rt. #360 coming up the hill from Terry’s bridge, did not cut into the tract but followed the old road, up the “teapot spout.”

    I do not know if there were ever stones in this cemetery and it would be overgrown and heavily silted after more than 200 years, and would needed to be probed for underground stones, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were.  I would imagine that a portion of the stone wall might be found, and be mistaken for the foundation of an old house.

    3rd.  problem:  It is unlikely that the wife of Benjamin Terry who died in Pittsylvania Co. in 1771, was an Irby, and if she were, then she was not likely to be the mother of Nathaniel Terry Sr.  The naming pattern of the descendants is exceedingly strong, and would indicate his mother was a Dickerson.

    Nathaniel Sr’s  daughter Elizabeth was Elizabeth Dickerson (Terry) Martin and she named a son William Dickerson Martin and lived in S.C.  Berryman and Nancy (Terry) Green named a daughter Elizabeth Dickerson Green, they remained in Halifax.  William and Susanna (Thompson) Terry named a son Dickerson Terry, they remained in Halifax.  Nathaniel Dickerson and Ann (Thompson) Terry named a son Nathaniel Dickerson Terry, they moved to Todd co, Ky.

    James and Mary “Polly” (Terry) Thompson named a daughter Elizabeth Dickerson Thompson, and had a grand-daughter Elizabeth Dickerson Thompson, they remained in Halifax.  Robert and Nancy Hopkins (Smith) Terry named a son Nathaniel Dickerson Terry, they removed to Henderson Co., Ky.  Kibble and Sarah (Terry) Terry, never had issue and Sarah died 1853/54 in Bedford Co., Tn.

    Joseph Terry married Sarah Coleman (Williams) widow of James Hill, and their son Joseph Coleman Terry married his cousin Elizabeth Dickerson Green, they remained in Halifax county.  I do not know of one Irby Terry out of this Terry family.  I do know that Benjamin Terry Jr. with wife Elizabeth Parker Terry had a grandson named William Dickerson Terry son of Obediah Parker Terry.

    I suggest that the mnemonic naming pattern is very strong in this family, that it would have been highly unusual to name a wife with her maiden name in a 1771 Will, that the original Will is no longer available, and that Charles Edward Terry a Kentucky descendant of Robert and Nancy (Smith) Terry, made notes in the late 1930’s that the original Will was torn, and there were additions made in a different handwriting, and only in the first portion of the Will, where “my wife Elizabeth” ends the line, does it appear that someone has added the Irby.

    I will let each person make their own decision, but with lack of other evidence we should not assign a last name to her unless it includes “probable”.  Even Mr. Eggleston, president of Virginia Historical Society, in 1941 has used "probably Irby," based on oral tradition out of southside Virginia, but that probably has been dropped and now repeated as a given.  It is not, it is very questionable and as a descendant, I will use “probably a Dickerson."

    The Terry Family Bible was purchased by Nathaniel Terry Jr. at the 1806 estate sale and was taken to Logan/Todd county, Kentucky.  It was presented in Robertson Courthouse TN., as late as 1855.  It is unknown where it is today, but a transcription from a grandson  Robert Y. Lewis, is available at the TN State Archives.

    In the early part of the 1900’s a descendant out of one of the sons of Nathaniel Sr., who was from Virgina, mistakenly joined the SAR on the service of Nathaniel Terry Jr, whom he did not descend from, he named a Miss Smith as Nathaniel Sr’s wife when Nancy Hopkins Smith was the wife of Nathaniel’s son Robert, and continued on back to Benjamin Terry who died in 1771, naming apparent siblings of his greatgrandfather, James A. Terry and Diana Royall Terry as the parents of Benjamin.  This has never been proven by any document and was done from family lore, but is often repeated.

    I am grateful for every bit of information left by descendants that came before me, even when it has proven incorrect, as it is that data that provides the building steps to get it right.  We have access to materials today that were not available to those who went before us, census, military records, social security records, etc.  They only had memory and love of family and I salute them for that, but I would hope that if they were here today, they would say “I didn’t know that, thank you for clearing THAT up.”
    --  Margie Brown, http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vahalifa/_/GenealogyMythology.htm

    The following application for membership in the SAR has the correct spouses and generational connections as put forward in the above analysis.  This one, however, still has the name of Elizabeth Irby instead of Elizabeth Dickerson.

    U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970
    John Robert Terry, b 28 May 1928 in Miami, Dade County, Florida
    Descendant of Nathaniel Terry, b Virginia 1724, d 21 April 1780 in Halifax County, Virginia

    (1) Son of Royall Perkins Terry, b 9/17/1895 in Orlando, Florida, d Unknown
    and his wife Sarah Emily Symmes, b 1/30/1899 in St George, South Carolina, d Unknown, mar 6/9/1925 NY, NY

    (2) Grandson of Robert Henry Terrry, b 3/19/1847 in Henderson, Kentucky, d 1/29/1900 in Orlando, Florida
    and his wife Elizabeth Myrtelle Harris, dau of John Junius; Daniel; Drury; Capt Daniel; Edward; Thomas; Thomas;
    Capt Thomas (immigrant); Elizabeth b 8/27/1859 in Rome, Georgia, d 9/5/1947 Miami FL, mar 10/13/1883 Orlando FL

    (3) Great Grandson of Nathaniel Dickerson Terry, b 7/19/1814 Henderson KY, d 10/17/1879 Henderson KY
    and his wife Sarah Inakeep Rudy, b 7/22/1826 Henderson KY, d 1/18/1901 Henderson KY, mar 7/22/1841 Henderson KY

    (4) 2 Great Grandson of Robert Terry, b 1/12/1770 Halifax County VA, d 11/15/1826 Henderson Co KY
    and his wife Nancy Smith, dau of Peartree; Obadiah; Obadiah; John (immigrant)
    Nancy b 2 Feb 1777 Mecklenburg, Virginia, d 1 Jul 1843 Henderson, Kentucky, mar 6/10/1793 Mecklenburg Co VA

    (5) 3 Great Grandson of Nathaniel Terry, b 1724 Virginia, d 4/21/1780 Halifax VA
    and his wife Sarah Royall, dau William; Capt Joseph; Joseph (immigrant); Sarah b ca 1726 Chesterfield Co VA, d 8/25/1805 Halifax Co VA, mar ante 1760 Chesterfield Co VA

    (6) 4 Great Grandson of Benjamin Terry, b ca 1700 Presumably Ireland, d 1769 Pittsylvania Co VA
    and his wife Elizabeth Irby [disputed in other historical reconstructions and evidence], No dates and places

    And he, the said Nathaniel Terry (No 5), is the ancestor who assisted in establishing American Independence, while acting in the capacity of civil official.  Patriot, Virginia.
    SAR Membership 83710
    Application Filed 22 Jun 1958
    Application Accepted by the State Board of Management 22 Jun 1958 by Herbert C Roberts
    Application Approved 28 June 1958 by Charles E Terry, Sr.

    A few years ago, another researcher, Charles Owens, insisted that Champness Terry was the husband to Elizabeth Irby (some have her maiden name as Dickerson).  Others have her husband as Benjamin, which frankly doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but maybe it was another Benjamin? I believe Benjamin was their son, who also married Elizabeth Irby or Elizabeth Parker (? cousins).

    Anyway - I am writing you to let you know that I have DNA matched from my Elizabeth Truheart Garland to the Irby line.  This tells me that Elizabeth Garland likely had 3 husbands; Nathaniel Dickerson, James Overton (I also am DNA matched to), and unknown Irby (poss.  Edmund?).

    I followed the E B tree all the way down to E B (Sheryl is the manager).  He is a descendant of Irby, who owned many slaves.  I believe that Elizabeth Irby (not Dickerson) was the daughter to Elizabeth Truhart Garland Dickerson Overton Irby, and married into the Terry family (a Benjamin or Champness).  I have yet to find DNA evidence for Dickerson, but still looking.

    Perhaps there was a Benjamin Terry who married Elizabeth Dickerson who was a daughter to Nathaniel Dickerson and Elizabeth Truhart Garland Dickerson.  This may have led to some of the confusion.  Don't know.  Thought you might like to know about this new DNA evidence.  I will transfer some of your data to my tree.  Thanks.

    Sandra Lytch (daughter to Mildred Crawford Horn - descendant of Terry/Irby/Garland, etc.)
    --  Sandra Lytch, Ancestry Messaging to Orville Boyd Jenkins, Jan 22, 2018


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