Friday, March 11, 2011

Terry, South Dakota -- an early view

The following article was originally posted on Black Hills Journal, a web site dealing with both contemporary and historic aspects of the Black Hills region.

Undated view of Terry, South Dakota
With all the talk lately about the Terry Cemetery, which appears threatened by the planned expansion of gold mining near Terry Peak, we thought it might be of interest to post this photograph from the Lawrence County Historical Society archives.

The undated image -- probably taken at the dawn of the 20th century --  contains considerable detail. It is simply labeled "Terry." As can be seen, Terry was a formidable community, reliant upon the mining industry.  Some of the old  gold mining operations of an earlier era can be seen to the left in the photo.  That's probably the main operation of the Golden Reward Mining Company, which was easily the biggest business in Terry.

Terry was also a stop on the Burlington rail line.

Calamity Jane
In her book Roadside History of South Dakota, author Linda Hasselstrom wrote that  Terry was "home to a thousand people in 1893" and was one of the larger communities of Lawrence County.

If you click on the town photo above, you'll see a larger image, and you'll be able to more clearly see details of the old town, including the steeple of a church climbing skyward in the upper right quadrant.

By most accounts, Martha Jane Cannary -- better known as Calamity Jane -- died in 1903 at the Calloway  Hotel in Terry.  She was 51 years old.   Apparently Jane had requested that she be buried in Deadwood near Wild Bill Hickok, which is exactly what happened.

Some reckon that Hickok probably wouldn't have been too keen on that arrangement.  But for Calamity Jane, it was probably just as well.  Otherwise, she might have been buried in Terry, meaning that she could be uprooted anyway, if Wharf Resources chooses to go after the gold they believe is underneath the old Terry Cemetery.

Terry Cemetery
Disturbing the old cemetery at THAT is something many folks might consider a real calamity.

There are at least 120 souls who "went to their final resting place" at Terry Cemetery.  Although less than a couple of hundred yards away from Nevada Gulch Road (State Highway 473), the cemetery is hidden by a steep hill that runs adjacent to the busy road.  Workers on their way home from a day at Wharf Resources -- and skiers on their way to Terry Peak Lodge -- are likely oblivious to the existence of this historic little cemetery.

If you have information or photos about the old town of Terry that you'd like to contribute, please contact us at Black Hills Journal.