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Diary of Charles M. Terry
1856-1960

This diary was transcribed by Hugh Corrigan, IV , a descendant of Charles M. D. Terry.
 A special thanks goes to him for sharing his work.


Links to the years of the diary:

1856 1857  1858  1859 1860

Biography of Charles M. Terry

    Charles M.D. Terry was born 10 May 1837, in the Greenville District of South Carolina. In 1842 his father and mother, Asbury and Winniford Terry, moved the family to Tippah County, Mississippi. They lived on Oak Lawn Plantation near the town of Salem. Asbury died 17 September 1850 and is buried in the old Salem cemetery. Winniford and the 10 children worked the land and made their living. The family of 5 boys and 5 girls did well for themselves; they had 11 slaves.
    Charles wrote a diary covering the period 1856 - 1860 covering life on a farm/plantation in Mississippi. It is full of references to daily routine and neighbors. Charles ran the farming operations for the family. His middle name might have been ‘McDowell’; his father's mother was Rebecca Ann McDowell.

ConfederateService Records

The family moved to Dallas, Texas after the War in 1866. Charles married Martha Ellen Clark in June 1869. He made a fortune as a cotton broker and merchant. His daughter, Maidie Terry, would grow up to marry T.L. Bradford who was the first mayor after Dallas was incorporated. Mr. Bradford was also a founder of Southwestern Life Insurance Company.

Where is Salem?

When this diary was written, Salem, Mississippi was a part of Tippah County, a thriving town surrounded by farms and plantations. Nathan Bedford Forrest grew up in Salem, and his mother's family still lived there during the Civil War. The Yankee patrol made regular trips through Salem during the war looking for Forrest and his troops, and burning everything until there was nothing left.  The town never recovered and is now little more than a wide spot in the road, in what is now Benton County.