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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory

Aaron B. Terril





       Aaron B. Terril, now living retired in the city of Manchester, was born in Lorain county, Ohio, June 25, 1843, a son of Truman and Amarilla (Higgins) Terril, the former a native of Connecticut and the latter of Ohio. In 1852 the parents and two sons, including our subject, drove across the country from St. Joseph, Missouri, to California, ultimately arriving at Diamond Spring. They drove five yoke of oxen and it required five and a half months for them to complete the journey. The father engaged in the grocery business at Diamond Spring, but in 1856 they were burned out, losing all their property, and two weeks later the mother died. In 1857 Truman Terril and his son Aaron returned to the middle west, settling near Coldwater, Michigan. In 1864 the father came to Iowa, where he embarked in the grocery business and was afterward joined by his son Aaron. Later, however, Truman Terril sold his interest in that business. He died in 1884, in Crawfordsville, Indiana. In the family were three children, of whom one died in infancy. One son, Elbert, enlisted for service in the Civil war as a member of Company I, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, at Coldwater, for three years, being mustered in August 29, 1862. He was at that time a young man of twenty two years. He was afterward taken prisoner and was paroled December 31, 1862. He was transferred to the invalid corps May 1, 1864, and was discharged at Springfield, Illinois, on the 8th of July, 1865, at which time he was a member of the Fifteenth Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps.
       As previously stated, Aaron B. Terril accompanied his father on various removals until he at length became a resident of Coldwater, Michigan. There, in 1862, he enlisted for service in the Civil war as corporal, joining Company I of the Fourth Cavalry on the 7th of August. He was nineteen years of age at that time. On the 29th of August he was mustered in and went to the front, pledged to support his country as a soldier for three years. In an engagement he was taken prisoner but was paroled January 26, 1863, and later he was discharged at Columbus, Ohio, on account of physical disability, contracted in service, on the 12th of January, 1864. In the meantime, however, he had participated in many engagements both of major and minor importance, the regiment in all participating in ninety engagements. It was this regiment that captured Jefferson Davis at Irwinville, Georgia, May 10, 1865. Mr. Terril took part in the following engagements: Stanford, Kentucky, October 14, 1862; Gallatin, Tennessee, November 8; Lebanon, Tennessee, November 9; Rural Hill, Tennessee, November 15; Bairds Mill, Tennessee, November 30; Hollow Tree Gap, Tennessee, December 4; Wilson's Creek Road, Tennessee, December 11; Franklin, Tennessee, December 12; Rural Hill, Tennessee, December 20; Wilson's Creek, Tennessee, December 21; La Vergne, Tennessee, December 26; Jefferson's Bridge, Tennessee, December 27; Nashville Pike, Tennessee, December 30; Stone River, Tennessee, December 31; La Vergne, Tennessee, January 1, 1863; Manchester Pike, Tennessee, January 5; Harpeth River Shoals, Tennessee, January 12; Cumberland, Tennessee, January 13; Bradyville, Tennessee, January 21. After this engagement he was taken prisoner.
       Several years after the close of his military experience, or in October, 1868, Aaron B. Terril joined his father in Manchester and engaged with him in the grocery business under the firm name of Terril & Son. The business connection between them continued for about three years, at the end of which time H. A. Granger purchased the interest of the father and the firm style was changed to Terril & Granger, under which style the trade was conducted for about three years. At the end of that time Mr. Terril purchased his partner's interest and conducted the business alone until 1878, when he turned his attention from commercial pursuits and took up the study of medicine in the State University of Iowa, where he was graduated in 1881. A short time after his graduation, however, he reentered the grocery business and for eighteen years was active as a grocery merchant of Manchester. He occupied a very prominent and enviable position in commercial circles and won a substantial measure of success. For some time he has now lived retired in the enjoyment of a rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves.
       Mr. Terril has been married three times. On the 7th of February, 1866, at Elyria, Ohio, he wedded Louise E. Tuttle, who was born March 21, 1840, in Cooperstown, New York. She was a devout member of the Congregational church and passed away in that faith on the 30th of August, 1905, leaving two daughters, Lillian Louise and Blanche M. For many years prior to her death she was a semi-invalid and the extreme devotion and unremitting care shown her by her husband and daughters were only equaled by her great and unselfish concern for her husband and children. Since the mother's death the elder daughter has passed away. She was born in Coldwater, Michigan, and during her infancy was brought by her parents to Iowa. For twenty-five years she was the organist of the Congregational church and Sunday school of Manchester and following her death, which occurred March 31, 1907, her father gave in 1908 a handsome pipe organ to Herrick Chapel of Iowa College at Grinnell, as a memorial to her. The younger daughter, Blanche M., is now attending Moody Institute in Chicago. Mr. Terril was married again March 17, 1909, his second union being with Mrs. Elizabeth (Cleaves) Shaw, who died on the 5th of July of the same year. On the 9th of November, 1910, he was married at Waterloo, Iowa, to Mrs. Nellie (Hancock) Ranson, the widow of George Ranson, of Fortuna, California.
      Mr. Terril united with the Congregational church April 3, 1870, and in its teachings has been found the motive spring of his conduct. He has served as a deacon for the past twenty years and for a number of years has been a member of the board of trustees and chairman of the finance committee. He was superintendent of the Sunday school for fourteen years and for thirteen years acted as president of the Delaware County Sunday School Association.
      The town of Terril, Dickinson county, Iowa, was named for Mr. Terril, he owning the land which is now the town site. His political allegiance is given to the progressive party, after long connection with the republican party, and he belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic, being a member of W. A. Morse Post, of which he was commander for two years. In matters of citizenship he has always been as true and loyal to his country as when he followed the old flag upon southern battlefields. His entire career has been characterized by progress and by patriotism and he has made a splendid record as a citizen, as a soldier and as a business man.



~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 485-487.  Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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