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Thomas Terryberry
collected clippings

contributed by Ella Foster

Photo from June 1871 Harper's Monthly Magazine
Read the entire article online:
An Excursion to Watkins Glen
by Porte Crayon, pp. 37-49

Clipping from Watkins Express 4 May 1871:

We should judge, by the illustrated "Wonders of the Yellow Stone", in Scribner's Monthly for May, that the scenery of that far off region of our country nearly equals that of the Watkins Glen.  We venture the assertion, however, that nothing can be found on the banks, or in the gorges of the Yellow Stone ahead of "Uncle Tommy Terriberry", whose life-like portrait, by "Crayon", is to appear in the next number of Harper's Magazine.

Clipping from Harper's Monthly Magazine, June 1871:

If any one doubts the superior healthfulness of this region let him visit our ancient friend, Thomas Terryberry, who lives at the head of the Glen.  This patriarch, still brisk and merry as a cricket, alert on his feet as a boy, with all his faculties clear and sound, boasts that he is ninety-seven years of age.  Now as we have the best local authority for asserting that he has been ninety-seven for the last sixteen years, we may safely predict that he can live sixteen years longer without getting much ahead of  "his century".

Clipping from Watkins Express 27 March 1873:

Uncle Tommy Terryberry, who lives near the sources of the Glen is "nigh onto a hundred year ole", and still as smart as a cricket.  Until the deep snows of the past winter set in, he was in the habit of walking to Watkins and back, a distance of three miles, quite frequently.  Three years ago he was "sketched", and the next year immortalized, by Port Crayon, in Harper's Monthly.  At the time his portrait was taken he was in his 97th year.

Clipping from Watkins Express 3 April 1873:

It is a singular coincedence that Uncle Tommy Terryberry, whose age we noted last week as being about a hundred years, died the very next night after our paper went to press.  He went to sleep calmly and peacefully, as usual, on Thursday evening, and slept to wake no more, having been found dead in his bed the next morning, by his wife who slept by his side.  A more extended notice of the deceased will be found in another column.

Obituary of Thomas Terryberry:

Death of "Uncle Tommy Terryberry."
Uncle Tommy Terryberry - as he has long been familiarly called - whose sudden death is announced in our "Home Matters" column to day, is ascertained by record evidence to have been about 103 years old, as he was born in the year 1770 - five years before the Declaration of Independence.  He has resided in the upper portion of the town of Dix nearly or quite 60 years - having imigrated hither from the State of Connecticut.  At that time this region of country was an almost unbroken wilderness, inhabited by bears, panthers, wolves, and other wild beasts, with but an occasional log house of the hardy pioneer, from the older counties of Eastern New York, New Jersey and the New England States.  He was a brave and study [sturdy ?] man in his prime, at the time of his arrival in this strange country, and has always lived among the wild and romantic scenes and scenery, of the Watkins Glen, on the high bluffs of which, north of the great, or upper basin, he has lived for the past 30 years or more, a patriarch in years, whom the inovations of Civilization have scarcely disturbed in his secluded and romantic mountain home.  He has done many and many a hard day's and month's work, for Dr. Samuel Watkins, the founder of the village of Watkins, and his brothers who preceded him as owners, in part, of the famous historical "Watkins and Flint purchase", which embraced a vast tract of land around the Head of Seneca Lake; and up to the  year of his death was able to point out the Site of the "Old Watkins Saw Mill", at the foot of the big basin - long since gone to ruin and swept away by the floods, where he helped get out timber for some of the oldest buildings now standing in this village.  He was also familiar with the old Blacksmith-Shop, and Grist Mill sites, further up the stream at the head of the basin, near the entrance to the last section of the Glen, (known as the "Glen Omega") and has no doubt often followed the bridle path that led from the Shop down to the Mill.  Scarcely a vestige of these early improvements now remain, and the forest has resumed its ancient dominion over what was to have been the first village at, or near, the Head of the Lake, -- a great portion of the present site of Watkins having been at that time under water.
"Uncle Tommy" always lived a simple and frugal life, rarely touching spiritous liquors, but using tobacco from the days of his early manhood.  His manner and habits of life, and an untroubled mind and conscience, have undoubtedly gone far in adding to the remarkable number of his years, and preserving his good  natural intelligence and retentive memory to the end.
His remains, on account of the recent storm and flood, were brought to Glenwood Cemetery, on Sunday last, and deposited in the receiving vault; and will in due time be consigned to the old burial ground, nearest which he lived.  Peaceful be his rest.
His wife, aged 93 years, survives him, although reported in a dying condition; and it is not unlikely that the old couple - the oldest in this section of the State - will soon be buried, side by side, and it may be in the same grave.

Clipping from Watkins Express 8 May 1873:
(Elizabeth Kimball /Kimble Obituary) *
Mrs. Thomas Terryberry, as was anticipated, did  not long survive "Uncle Tommy", whose obituary we published several weeks ago.  She died just four weeks after her husband, on Friday of last week, May 2d, 1873, and was laid in the old burial ground on Sunday the 4th; where they now calmly and peacefully sleep side by side.  Long did they journey up, and then down the hill of life, together; and at its foot - afar from the point where their pilgrimage began - they are not divided.
* [Thomas Terryberry's wife is not mentioned by name in her obit, but we have her name from 2 sources -- 1) the Foote family genealogy listed in the History of the Town of Catharine book (found on this site) mentions her name as "Kimble", and 2) a death certifacate of one of her sons lists her name as Kimball.]

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