William Terry was born August 14, 1824 in Amherst County. He graduated from University of Virginia and moved to Wytheville in 1852 to begin a law practice. He also became editor of the Wytheville Telegraph.
During the war, Terry saw action at the head of Company A of the 4th Virginia Infantry, First Virginia Brigade under Stonewall Jackson. He fought at the First and Second Manassas, the Seven Days battles, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Chancellorsville, Winchester, and Fort Stedman.
Severely wounded three times during the war, he nonetheless survived. In fact, he became what was to be the last commander of the Stonewall Brigade after the severe wounding of General Walker.
When word came of Lee's surrender, Terry was recuperating in Wytheville from his Fort Stedman wounds. He immediately mounted up to join Lieutenant Kirby Smith in North Carolina. However, his friends and family talked him out of doing so.
After the war, he resumed his law practice in Wytheville and in 1871 built a home, "The Aspens," which still stands, on the corner of 3rd and Washington streets.
General Terry was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1871 and 1875 and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1889, where he cast his vote for former Union Brigadier General Winfield Scott Hancock.
Back in Wythe County, he became a circuit judge. On September 5, 1888, Terry was returning home from Grayson County Circuit Court, in the company of J.W. Caldwell, former owner of the Wytheville Telegraph. He was attempting to ford Reed Creek south of town, when a sudden rise and rush of water, due to heavy rains, caused his buggy to overturn. Caldwell barely escaped with his life. The horses and General Terry were drowned. He is buried in East End Cemetery.
Cemetery Photos in Photo Gallery