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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Rev. Israel Newton Terry, D. D.

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 318-321 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of Rev. Israel Newton Terry, D. D.

Portrait: Rev. Israel Newton Terry, D. D.

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Rev. Israel Newton Terry was one of the strong individual forces in the spread of the Presbyterian faith in Utica, and a life of great usefulness and far-reaching influence was brought to a close on the 16th of July, 1908, when he responded to the final summons. His biography is written in the communities where he lived, upon the hearts of the people for whom he labored, and his good work goes on in the lives of those who came under his ministry.

Environment and natural predilection were responsible for Dr. Terry's choice of a vocation, for his father, the Rev. James Pease Terry, was a prominent divine of the Congregational church, and the atmosphere of the home was an uplifting one, tending toward spiritual thoughts and aspirations. His mother was Catherine (Matson) Terry and at the time of the son's birth the father was pastor of the Congregational church at South Weymouth, Massachusetts. Dr. Terry came of distinguished ancestry, tracing his lineage to Major Ephraim Terry, a gallant officer of the Continental army, and to Governor William Bradford of Massachusetts, from whom he was descended in the eighth generation.

Israel Newton Terry was born February 20, 1851, in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, and after finishing the curriculum of the public schools matriculated in Amherst College, which awarded him the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1871. He then entered the Hartford (Conn.) Theological Seminary and after his graduation from that institution of learning continued his studies in the Union Theological Seminary of New York city. He was ordained a minister of the Presbyterian church and in May, 1876, was called to the church of that denomination at New Hartford, in Oneida county, New York, of which he had charge for fourteen years, becoming greatly endeared to his congregation. On the expiration of that period he became acting pastor of the church at Whitestown, where he spent six months, and then performed a similar service for the First Presbyterian church at Utica, with which he was connected for about two years. From 1892 until 1895 he was associate pastor of Westminster church of Utica and during May and June, 1896, supplied the pulpit of the First church of this city. In October, 1896, he returned to the First Presbyterian church and remained as its stated supply until March, 1898, when Dr. Brokau was called to the pastorate. From November, 1898, until April, 1899, Dr. Terry was at Whitesboro and was then recalled to Westminster church, becoming Dr. Brown's assistant. He was there stationed until September, 1903, and in September, 1904, was again summoned to the First Presbyterian church, owing to the death of Dr. Brown. On January 1, 1905, Dr. Terry was regularly installed as pastor and continued to fill that position until death terminated his activities. He devoted every effort toward strengthening and developing the ecclesiastical interests under his charge and made his church a potent force in the moral progress of the community. Throughout his life he remained a student and in 1897 Hamilton College conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity in recognition of his learning, piety and usefulness. His style of oratory was simple and direct and his message was sent straight to the hearts of his hearers.

At New Hartford, New York, on September 28, 1880, Dr. Terry married Miss Emily Huntington Butler, a daughter of Francis and Harriet (Sherrill) Butler, and of Revolutionary war stock. She survives her husband and resides at The Olbiston, in Utica. Dr. Terry was a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants and of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was a man of scholarly attainments, well informed on secular and theological subjects, broad-minded and tolerant of the opinions of others. He devoted thirty-two years to the ministry, winning many souls for the Master, for he possessed talents which made his labors more than ordinarily effective and which gave his ability more than average scope. His was a sincere and tireless service to the cause of Christianity, and he lived a life in which true nobility of spirit found daily expression, leaving behind him a memory that is cherished by all with whom he was associated.

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