The family of Martin and Mary Ann Reed Terry had just migrated from northern Arkansas into Barry Co., Missouri when the Civil war, almost literally, exploded in their back yard. Where they had recently left armies were surging northward. The northern forces were moving down from the north and the east.
The family, like most of the region, was now dogged by hardship and sorrow over the next few years. The war struck hard taking both lands and lives. Martin and his family fled their home 23 July 1861 as troops massed in the area just north of Barry Co., Mo. All around the area of their old Arkansas home, and the friends and family still there, the war raged. Battles such as "Pea Ridge", "Wilson's Creek", "Prairie Grove", and "Carthage" meant that they lived as refugees scurrying back and forth trying to keep out of the way of both sides.
September saw Martin and family in northeast Missouri trying to escape the sweeping ravages of war. However, the large numbers of homeless families and moving soldiers had left in their wake a different kind of killing field. A battlefield where illness and not bullets took an awful toll on the family:
"We left home July 23 and stopt in Casconde County 40 miles from her the 19 of Sept. There we was nearly all sick and William and Henderson died William on the 9 of October and Henderson on the 16 of November and the fever settled in your mother's rite eye and it went out. Our disease was considered low typhus. We had the best medical help the country could afford, but no human help could avail. William said tell friends I die in view of a blissful immortality and that is worth all the world to me and Henderson said he trusted the savior and was not afraid to die and he expected to get to heaven and we have a sweet hope that they are forever at rest. We came up here yesterday with the intention of going on to Springfield but in view of everything we think it not to be the best at this time. We have been on the wear and tear ever since we left home and like many others we are pretty well ruined. We yet have our wagon and 4 head of horses and a yoke of cattle whether we stay here or come up to Springfield or go on to Ioway I know not. We should be glad to hear from you and our little [touch of home?] there what became of it. These are the times that try mens soles be faithful to the grace given." --Martin Terry, writing from Rollo, Phelps Co., Mo to his son John King Terry, dated 3 April 1862.
Martin would later settled back into Barry Co., Mo, serving even as a justice of the peave in Capps Creek Township beginning in July 1866. Martin Terry died 2 Feb. 189 in Barry Co., Mo. and was buried in the Arnhart Cemetery located near the hamlet of Purdy. His wife, Mary Ann Reed Terry died three years later on 3 July 1893.
[Hudson, Marilyn A. Terry Trails. 1995; unpublished manuscript. Permission to use transcribed letters 1994, Ruth Terry Preston to Marilyn A. Hudson]