Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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James W. Terrell

JAMES W. TERRELL. Among the many worthy citizens and prominent railroad men of Parsons, Labette county, Kansas, the name of J. W. Terrell, a competent engineer on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway should not be omitted. Mr. Terrell is a son of C. A. and Louisa F. (Jones) Terrell. His father was a native of Ohio, and followed farming for many years. Later in life he became an insurance agent, and his death occurred November 22, 1897, at Parsons, Kansas. His mother, who was a native of Vigo county, Indiana, contracted a second marriage, and is now the wife of Rev. Frank Foley, a Christian minister, and resides near McCune, Kansas.

Mr. Terrell is one of four children, namely, Mollie, James, John A., and Ella. Mollie married Engineer Anderson, of Parsons. John A. is married and has two children; he is in the employ of Armour & Company, and resides in Kansas City. Ella married a Mr. Wilcock, who is a valve-maker in the air-brakes room of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway shops, and resides at 2316 Dirr avenue, Parsons.

James W. Terrell was united in marriage with Anna Hickson, who was born in Highland county, Ohio, in 1868. She is one of eight children, three of whom died young. The beloved mother is also deceased, having passed away in October, 1894. The other children grew to maturity and became useful citizens. Besides Mrs. Terrell, there are the following: Charles, H. F., Lizzie, and Ruth. Charles Hickson is a prominent farmer, residing nine miles east of Parsons. Prof. H. F. Hickson (deceased) was an instructor in Parsons College for several years; he subsequently edited the Labor Advocate at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for about three years, being thus engaged when cut off by death, November 23, 1894. Lizzie Hickson married a Mr. Deter, and was a resident of Culver, Missouri, up to the time of her death, in June, 1897. Ruth Hickson married Mr. Stemple, a farmer near Parsons, and died in 1892.

Mr. and Mrs. Terrell have four children, all attending school, namely: Mabel, Mina, Frances, and Frank H. Mr. Terrell owns a fine residence property at 2329 Dirr avenue, where is gathered a bright, happy family circle.

James W. Terrell was born April 26, 1860, in Vigo county, Indiana, and was educated in his native state, where he remained until he was fourteen years old. He then came west to Neosho county, Kansas, and was engaged in farm work until he attained his majority, working in Union School District, No. 38. In choosing a career for himself, he showed a decided preference for railroad life, and accordingly moved to Parsons, Kansas, in the spring of 1882. Two weeks later, on March 14th, he entered the employ of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company, and has spent his undivided time upon that system ever since. He first worked as night caller at the roundhouse under W. T. Small and Foreman J. H. Reilly, ex-senator, who is now an engineer on the same system. March 22, 1883, Mr. Terrell commenced work as fireman, and worked in that capacity for Engineer Frank Baliss on engine No. 101. For a short time he was extra fireman, mainly on the Cherokee and Junction City divisions. Later he served one year and a half as fireman for Charles Fletcher, and afterward for C. L. Anderson and Engineer Reilly, working under the latter gentleman three and a half years.

Promotion followed and Mr. Terrell became an engineer. After serving as hostler for three months, he ran as extra engineer for six weeks, and November 11, 1891, he was advanced to road service. His trial trip was made with Engineer Tierney, who recommended him for proficiency, and he was given an engine. His initial trip was made from Muskogee to Parsons, - a distance of 117 miles, which he covered in four hours and two minutes.

All has not been plain sailing with Mr. Terrell, who has had more than his share of accidents with which to contend. On July 6, 1892, while going north with a train-load of stock and silver ore, pulled by engine No. 120. his train ran into a cow, and the engine was ditched. In his efforts to save himself, Mr. Terrell jumped down an embankment, but sustained injuries which kept him from work for eleven months. He has also had one head-end collision. This occurred September 3, 1897, and was caused by the supposed, negligence of a brakeman, in leaving a switch open. Mr. Terrell was considerably injured; he had two ribs crushed and the muscles torn from one arm, on account of which he was off the road for six months.

He now pulls through freight from Muskogee to Parsons and Kansas City, in the chain gang, and is regarded as one of the most promising and successful young engineers on the system. In politics he is a Populist, and uses his vote and influence toward advancing the interests of that party. He stands high in fraternal circles, being a member of Division No. 179, B. of L. E.; Great Western Lodge, No. 24, B. of L. F.; and of the Order of Chosen Friends, - his wife was formerly a member of the auxiliary lodge. The family favor the doctrines laid down by the United Brethren church.