#Lookback: George Terry

    A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community

    brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

    George Terry was the son of Joshua Terry, an early Mormon convert and Ann Greasewood, a Shoshone woman. George was born in 1853 close to Fort Bridger where his father ran a ferry and trading post on the Green River. He got his early education in the public schools of Salt Lake City. When George was a child his mother took him and his sister to live with her people. He lived with his mother’s people for two years before his mother returned to her husband. Meantime, Joshua had married a widowed woman, Mary. There was hostility between the two wives. George and his sister lived with their mother in an Indian lodge on Joshua’s homestead in Draper, Utah. Soon after, Ann Greasewood died of consumption. George and his sister were raised and educated as Mormons by his father and stepmother.

    Just after George’s 21st birthday, George was sent by church officials to the Wind River Reservation to preach to his mother’s people. He traveled with a companion, but when they arrived at the agency, they were both escorted off the reservation by the military commander and told not to return. Chief Washakie heard of the confrontation and called a Council of Chiefs. Washakie had known George’s mother as had several others and knew George was a Shoshone and had a right live on the reservation. Washakie arranged for George to stay on the reservation, but his companion was sent away. George was given 160 acres and became a farmer and a preacher. George was soon chosen to sit on Washakie’s council. Because he was fluent in English and Shoshone and knew both cultures, he rose to a leadership position. He made several trips to Washington to act as an interpreter and negotiator for the Shoshone. His rise to leadership made him many enemies among the Shoshone.

    George married an Indian woman, Kate Enos a daughter of a chief in 1885. George took his young family down to spend a winter season in Utah with his father and his Terry family.

    When the family returned to the reservation, they found their cabin burned and their fences pulled up. George rebuilt his home, but since it was too late to put in crops he worked as a freighter for the government. While George was away freighting, Katie went to live with her father. Upon George’s return, Katie decided to stay with her father. George had to bring her forcible back to his cabin. Katie gave birth eight times but lost all but three of the babies.

    When Chief Washakie died in 1900, the tribe was left without a leader. The office of Chief was replaced with a Council of Chiefs. George was elected Chairman of the Council. George was not universally accepted by the Shoshones as a leader, and he had many troubles as a leader. He left the council and then was re-elected to the council.

    In the Fall of 1906 George’s barn was set on fire. He lost his harnesses, wagons, horses, and winter hay. It was during this time when parts of the reservation along the Wind River were being sold off to white settlers. George favored the sale of the reservation lands. Many Shoshone were opposed to the sale. George was elected as a delegate to go to Washington D.C. to negotiate for the Shoshone. In January of 1907, after leaving a council meeting, George was attacked along the trail in a grove of willow trees. This was the night before George was to depart on the train for Washington D.C. He was murdered and dismembered. His body was sent to his father’s home in Draper, Utah for burial. His body arrived during his father’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration which George was supposed to attend if he had not been appointed to go to Washington D.C.

    In April of 1907, arrests were made in the murder of George Terry. John McAdams confessed and implicated Batt Enos, George’s brother-in-law, James Cross, and a man named Cotton. According to John, Batt Enos beat George as James Cross and Cotton held him down. Katie Terry was also arrested. It was alleged that John McAdams and Katie Terry lived in the same house since the murder. The defendants were taken to Cheyenne to federal court. John Mc Adams recanted his confession. Without a witness, the Grand Jury returned a No True Bill and all the defendants were released. The murder was never solved.

    Next up for the Fremont County Museums

    Fremont County Museums will reopen to the public Tuesday, May 26th. We will resume our regularly scheduled hours Monday-Saturday from 9-5.

    Upcoming Programs

    June 9th, 9 am at the Dubois Museum, “Five Mile Creek Tie Hack Tour”

    Wind River Visitors Council Children’s Exploration Series

    June 10th, 9 am at the Dubois Museum “Kids Corner: Moon, Earth, Sun & Stars”

    Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    June 13th, 2 pm at the Riverton Museum “Dutch Oven Bread and Homemade Butter”

    Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    June 17th, 9 am at the Dubois Museum, “Kids Corner: Mountains & Valleys”

    Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    Consider supporting The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander or the Riverton Museum with a monetary donation. The museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide quality programs, collections management, exhibits, and services that have become their hallmark. Please make your tax-deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.

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