Terryton the town and Terry the township were named for a real estate speculator from New York, Porter D. Terry. He had some money and great visions for the future of his town, which he founded during the boom of 1885-86. It was half-way station on the stage line between Garden City and Scott City . There was a stage barn where they kept eight horses for change on the route. Four stages came in every day. The Cannonball, with Hank and Bronks as drivers, put them through from Scott to Garden in five hours.
The town was located in the southeast corner of section 25-21-23. Young and Jeffrys were in the grocery business; George W. Morse advertised provisions, glassware, and flour; Mr. Terry operated a real estate and livestock exchange; J.M. Dunn had a general store. There was a comfortable hotel, drug store, livery stable and bus station. A newspaper was published by W.C. Coutant called "The Enterprise" during 1886-87. During 1888-89 it was called "The Eye", with B.L. Stephenson editor. The townsite was on the line of several projected railroads and had great expectations on that score. There was also a good lumber yard.
The "Old Kentucky Home" where they all went to Sunday School and where church services were held, was a half-mile north of Terryton. The Old Kentucky Home was named by its first owner, a son of George Wilson, who came there from Kentucky. Mr. Terry bought the Wilsons out and then sold the place to Dr. L.H. Johnson, an eastern speculator. He and his wife bought several sections in that neighborhood about 1895, but Dr. Johnson was blind and they did nothing to develop the land.
J.J. Glascock and family located one mile west of Terryton in 1886. Mrs Glascock tells an incident of pioneer life which caused her great agony: "Terryton had one of the best ball teams in the country, and every Saturday afternoon there would be a big ball game, and nearly everybody in that trade territory made it a point to be there. One Saturday afternoon in August the men went to the ball game. I took the baby, Clarence, 22 months old, and went to spend the afternoon with Miss Rosa Wilson. A little later he ran out of the house and fell into the well, which was 44 feet deep. I ran all the way to town, waving my white apron, while Rosa stayed by the well and talked to the baby, telling him they were coming to get him out. He was standing in one corner holding to the two-foot curbing. His leg was broken and he was keeping his chin up to keep the water out of his mouth. I had always thought it a miracle that he did not give up and drown. They got him out just in time, and it is lucky that we had a doctor in the neighborhood. Dr. Miller, his wife and four daughters lived west of us on section 26."
For three or four years Terryton flourished, but the drouth which drove the homesteaders from the country also blighted the hopes of Mr. Terry and the town has long passed into oblivion. The following was copied from the Hatfield News, which was published in a rival town:
"For Sale. A one-horse railroad boom, broken in the middle and without head or tail. It might be repaired to suit emergencies, as its constitution and plan were constructed with that end in view. A quit-claim deed will be given. Will be sold very low, as I wish to (or rather the people wish me to) give place to a more able man, and hie myself back to Yankee-dom where my real estate interests are. Porter D. Terry."
Note: Text taken from "Conquest of Southwest Kansas" by Leola Howard Blanchard, which can be ordered through the Finney County Historical Museum.
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Last Updated: 15-Jun-00
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