Martin TERRY (William, John, William) was born the same year that Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner was composed. He was born on Tuesday, 25 October 1814, in Gibson County, Indiana as the third child of William and Barbara ENNIS TERRY. As just as young man of eighteen, he moved with his family in the spring of 1832 to southwest Arkansas. There, Martin met Mary Ann REED and they were married on 9 April 1835 in Illinois Township, Washington Co., Arkansas. In 1839, his brother John married Mary An REED’s sister, Lucinda King REED. There is a Martin TERRY on the Benton Co., Arkansas tax list of 1835-1837 and on Washington Co., in 1838.

The wives were the daughters of Joseph (1783-1855) and Mary “Polly” KING REED (1786-1843) had both come from Kentucky (they had been married in Livingston Co., Ky) into northwest Arkansas, according to John Terry’s family bible. Joseph had made an early foray into old Doaksville and Fort Towson in Indian Territory (SE Oklahoma between 1817-1820. He may have also been in Hempstead Co., Arkansas. They moved into NW Arkansas in 1829 and stayed there until 1839 when they joined son-in-law and daughter in Red River Co., Texas. There they settled just northwest of Clarksville. Joseph may have served in the Kentucky Militia of the War of 1812. There is a sergeant in that group and he may be the man on the roll of Capt. James Love’s 6nRegiment, enlisting 1 September 1812.

Martin and Mary Ann Terry lived in a time of rapid technological changes. During the time they resided in Madison Co., Arkansas, the new steam locomotive was appearing and on the nearby river ways, according to family letter of the time, steamboats traveled them bringing supplies and people. Later in life, Martin would hear of the telephone (with two of his sons bringing the first lines into Barry Co, Missouri.
Despite all the progressive moves of technology and science, Martin and Mary Ann saw many seams of the American national fabric unraveling. Conflicts over the question of slavery were driving the country (especially after the 1836 ‘Gag Resolutions’) and caused the split in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The split was simply a portent of forces festering throughout the country and rapidly increasing tensions erupted in April 1861 as the Civil War began.

Martin had wanted to move to Texas in the 1850’s but the economy in Arkansas prevented it. His disappointment at the setbacks haunts several of the letters from the time. Northwest Arkansas suffered repeated depressions in the wake of the Great Depression of the 1830’s. Many left Arkansas to try their luck in Oregon or California, especially once tales of gold came back. After the death of Joseph reed in 1855, the desire to go to Texas was even stronger and began to make those plans. However, further setbacks arose and they moved instead north into southern Missouri.

Yet, something was stirring over the landscape. Could they have heard it, they would have recognized the drumming of horses hooves, and the pounding of marching feet as two armies moved into place.

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