Privilege & Preservation: The Reverend Doctor Roderick Terry, “An Apostolic son of a millionaire” & the Historical Landscape of Rhode Island

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Michael J. Simpson, M.A., A.M.

"Photograph of Mr. Roderick Terry at Linden Gate,"
PSNCA.H.013.254, Ernst Studio Collection, Preservation
Society of Newport County, Newport, RI
"Photograph of Mr. Roderick Terry at Linden Gate," PSNCA.H.013.254, Ernst Studio Collection, Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport, RI
“Along the pearl-grey heavens” the “trails of angry smoke’ from the “discharge of heavy field pieces” cleared from the air following the reenactment of the Battle of Rhode Island at Butts Hill Fort on August 19th, 1923. The donor of the land of the Revolutionary War fort “stepped forward, surveyed with tranquil mien the assembled multitude, and prepared to speak.”1 Nearly two thousand people had attended the dedication of the fort and the subsequent reenactment, and they cheered resoundingly as the Reverend Doctor Roderick Terry began his speech. This event, he said, was the “realization of the dream of many years” to preserve the fort for future generations “as a reminder of what our ancestors had done to give us our Independence,” and that those who should visit the fort “would find their Patriotism aroused, for in spite of what is the opinion of many today, we believe thoroughly in Patriotism, and that there are few nobler qualities to inspire great deeds.” Terry closed his speech by “expressing the hope that many in the years to come might visit this interesting spot and find here inspiration ever for better living.” He had donated the land to the Newport Historical Society, he said, with the intention that they “maintain the said premises as a memorial or monument to the memory of those who fought in the American-Revolutionary War.”

The event ended with a flag raising, followed by a twenty-one gun salute from “the old muzzle loading cannons of the Newport Artillery. It also included a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, “while the whole audience stood at attention.”2 According to the Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, it was “impossible to praise too highly the efficiency of all those who had charge of the arrangements.”3 Ten years later, in 1933, Terry died at Linden Gate, his home in Newport, Rhode Island. Thus, the preservation of the fort left his watchful eye and it eventually became overgrown and untended.4 Nonetheless, this August, the Battle of Rhode Island Association will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Dedication of Butts Hill Fort, demonstrating that his work and legacy remain long after his death. This legacy, however, is not simply limited to the preservation of this Revolutionary War fort. He was also pivotal in the preservation of Fort Barton in Tiverton, Rhode Island. As President of both the Newport Historical Society and the Redwood Library and Athenaeum (hereinafter Redwood Library) from 1919 to his death in 1933, this “Apostolic son of a millionaire” was a quintessential preservationist of two of the most important historical institutions in the city through what was one of the largest financial crises this country had ever seen, in the Great Depression.5

"WEST FRONT FROM THE SOUTHWEST, Linden Gate, Old Beach Road, Newport, Newport County, RI," Historic American Buildings Survey; (Library of Congress, 1933)

How was Terry able to finance thousands of dollars to both the Newport Historical Society and the Redwood Library (among other institutions in the city)– as well as purchase the land to preserve Butts Hill Fort in Portsmouth and Fort Barton in Tiverton? In honor of the 100th Anniversary of his preservation of the fort, this paper will detail the life and times of the Reverend Doctor Roderick Terry and his contributions to both the City of Newport and the State of Rhode Island. Terry was born in Connecticut and spent many of his adult years in Manhattan, New York. However, it is the lasting efforts he made towards public history in his adoptive home that will endure. It is thus worthwhile to explore his origins, accomplishments, and donations to the seaside city of Newport and Aquidneck Island during the Gilded Age, and its impact today, ninety years after his death. The fullest extent and impact of Roderick Terry on Aquidneck Island is revealed through extensive research in archives located in Rhode Island and New York that included decades of bulletins and annual reports, as well as newspaper clippings and even Dr. Terry’s private journal. Terry played a pivotal role in the preservation and promotion of Rhode Island’s cultural landscape, leaving a legacy through his world-renowned book collection, dedication to Butts Hill Fort, and commitment to both Newport and Rhode Island history.

"...would find their Patriotism aroused, for in spite of what is the opinion of many today, we believe thoroughly in Patriotism, and that there are few nobler qualities to inspire great deeds"

Roderick Terry was named after his grandfather, who was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1788. This elder Terry opened a trading house with his brother Eliphalet, E. & R. Terry, which was the “leading house in the West India trade” in the state.6 He eventually became the first President of the Exchange Bank, and served as Director for the Hartford & New Haven Railroad Company.7 His son, John Taylor Terry, Roderick’s father, was born in 1822, also in Hartford. Much is written about John’s rise to prominence and wealth, predominantly in the high society of Manhattan in New York City, where he developed a brand as an “industrious and meritorious” businessman. This rise began with his decision “not to pursue a collegiate course of study” and instead “took a position as clerk for his father” whom, as noted earlier, was already a successful merchant in his own right.8
"John T. Terry," Illustrated American biography: containing
memoirs, and engravings and etchings of representative
Americans; (Lewis Pub. Co., 1895), p. 197
"John T. Terry," Illustrated American biography: containing memoirs, and engravings and etchings of representative Americans; (Lewis Pub. Co., 1895), p. 197
"Roderick Terry, 1870," Hicks,
Lewis Wilder, ed., The biographical
record of the class on 1870, Yale
College, (Lewis Pub. Co., 1895), p.
443
"Roderick Terry, 1870," Hicks, Lewis Wilder, ed., The biographical record of the class on 1870, Yale College, (Lewis Pub. Co., 1895), p. 443

As one biographer writes,

 “Although having the exceptional advantage of being employed in an establishment of which his father was the head, he performed with alacrity all the humble duties of his place, thus showing his sterling sense and freedom from fast pride.”9

Growing too big for Hartford, Terry moved to New York City in 1841 and began working in the firm of E. D. Morgan, the future Governor of New York. By 1844, he was made a partner in the firm, a position he would hold until Morgan’s death in 1883. The business served as a grocery importer and merchant, selling mostly teas, coffees and sugar to customers all throughout Manhattan– “one of the most prosperous of its kind in New York.”10 This prosperity, one biographer noted, could be attributed to the “acumen, foresight, and sagacity of Mr. Terry.”11

As the decades passed, Terry’s influence grew more and more, and by 1895 he was a Director in the American Exchange Bank, the Bank of New Amsterdam, and the Metropolitan Trust Company. He was also Director, perhaps most importantly, for Western Union Telegraph Company, while they essentially operated a monopoly on the country’s telegraph system.12 By the end of his career, Terry was known as “one of the leading bankers and financiers of the metropolis,” which solidified his reputation as the head of a firm that was known as “one of the most solid and representative financial institutions on either side of the Atlantic.”13 His wealth also allowed him to travel extensively, touring Europe multiple times. In fact, in 1867, accompanied by his wife Elizabeth (née Peet), he “undertook a journey around the world.”14 Additionally, he was also a patron of the arts, donating funds to both the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.15 When John died in 1913, he left to Roderick and his brother “a large amount of property”–an estate estimated at about a million dollars, or about 30 million dollars in 2023.16 Thus, Roderick Terry was born to fill these shoes of both his father, John, and his grandfather, Roderick.

On April 1st, 1849, Roderick Terry was born to Elizabeth and John Taylor in Brooklyn, New York. He received his early education from private tutors, and unlike his father and grandfather, who both went into the field of business at a young age, Roderick attended college, graduating from Yale College in 1870.17 While at Yale, Terry was “prominent in athletics” and was a member of both the baseball and crew teams–”with a marked ability as an oarsman.”18 He was also a member of the exclusive secret society Skull and Bones known for its prominent and powerful alumni.19 After graduation, he began pursuing his career as a clergyman, attending Andover Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts for two years before completing his degree at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan in 1875. That same year, the Elders of the Congregation of the Second Presbyterian Church in Peekskill, New York wrote Terry a letter that called on him to “undertake the pastoral office in said Congregation” for “the sum of fifteen hundred dollars per year, in regular monthly payments.”20 He held this position until 1879, when he resigned.21

On September 22nd, 1875, just three months following his acceptance of the pastorship of the Second Presbyterian Church, Roderick Terry married Linda Marquand, in her father’s home– it was “the chief event of the social season.”22 Linda was the daughter of Henry G. Marquand, a “famous New York philanthropist and art connoisseur” who had made his fortune in the banking and railroad industry.23 By 1875, Henry was long established as a regular summer visitor to Newport from Manhattan, and had just completed the construction of his “imposing new cottage” known as Linden Gate on Old Beach Road.24 He was known specifically for his devotion to public education of art, and served as a leading director for the Metropolitan Museum of Art during its formative years. His private residence in Manhattan was known to contain “one of the most remarkable private art collections in the world.”25

Roderick had also been summering in Newport for some time, especially during his college years while at Yale. Throughout his life, Terry had an avid affinity for both sailing and yachting.26 It was during one of these summer visits that he met the young Linda Marquand. In her later years, Mrs. Terry liked to travel in a Victorian-era horse-drawn carriage tended to by “neat men on the box,” and was known for her “presence and encouragement of all summer concerts of good music.”27 With Roderick, Linda had three children, two who lived to adulthood. On August 6th, 1876, she gave birth to Roderick Terry, Jr. in Newport and on July 19th, 1877 she gave birth to her only daughter, Eunice Terry. They both lived to adulthood. On November 24th, 1887, she gave birth to another son, Marquand Terry.28 Marquand was baptized on April 20th, 1888, in the South Reformed Church in New York, where his father was then the Pastor.29 He lived to be about four years old, and died in Southampton, New York on July 11th, 1892.30

Multiple letters in the Roderick Terry Papers Collection in the New York Historical Society express their grief to Terry and his wife on the death of their child.31 Henry van Dyke, another prominent Presbyterian clergyman living in Manhattan, wrote to Terry; “No words being any comfort in such a sorrow– only true faith which is deeper than speech can help us.”32 Edward Janeway, the Chair of Internal Medicine at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, later New York University’s School of Medicine, wrote to Terry: “I have always felt a sorrow that I could not advise some measure by which the child might have been spared.” Janeway believed he “did what could be done to avert the termination. God’s will was otherwise.”33 It is unclear why Marquand died, but based on these letters it was presumably a short illness brought on by the higher temperatures of summer. In fact, according to an article in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History on child mortality in nineteenth-century New York, death rates among children were “notably high all year round [but] peaked in the summer months as a result of infectious diseases that had diarrhea as a symptom” and from the consequences of these symptoms, like dehydration.34

As noted earlier, the other two children of Roderick Terry and Linda Marquand, Roderick Jr. and Eunice, both lived into adulthood. Roderick Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and was educated by private tutors at Black Hall School in Connecticut, and then attended Yale College, now Yale University, and graduated in 1898. He then attended Columbia Law School in New York City.35 At the age of 29, on November 15th, 1906, Eunice Terry married Eugene Hale Jr., the son of the United States Senator from Maine, in the Terry home in Manhattan. The Reverend Doctor Terry performed the ceremony himself.36 Just months before the ceremony, on July 14th, while swimming at Bailey’s Beach in Newport, Eunice almost drowned. The Providence Journal reported that two quick-responding lifeguards saved her with the lifeboat, and added that “many are of the opinion that the ladies take too many chances at the beach.”37 Eunice lived until 1919, when she died under unknown circumstances at the age of 42, in Saranac Lake, New York.38 In 1924, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Terry donated $25,000 to the Newport Hospital, in honor of Eunice, to build a new Children’s Ward.39 Neither Eunice nor Roderick, Jr. ever had any children, thus, Roderick and Linda Terry have no surviving descendents.

On January 30th, 1881, less than two years after resigning from his position as Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Peekskill, Reverend Terry gave his first sermon at the South Reformed Church in Manhattan– known as the “oldest, as well as one of the wealthiest” churches in New York City.40 The church’s previous Pastor, Ebenezer Rogers, had been in poor health, and Terry had stepped in “to fill the vacant pulpit.”41 By May 10th, Terry was formally called to the South Reformed Church, and he was installed on October 23rd.42 The following year, on June 24th, 1882, the College of New Jersey wrote to Reverend Terry to notify him he had been awarded a Doctor of Divinity.43 Thus Reverend Terry became ‘The Reverend Doctor Terry.’ Terry then served in this position for twenty five years, retiring in 1904 as “one of the best-known clergymen of the Dutch Reformed Church in this country” with “the expressed belief that there is such a thing as a minister remaining too long in one church.”44

Terry’s tenure as the pastor for some of the wealthiest people in the history of nineteenth-century New York City was not without its controversy, however. A few of his sermons persist in the historical record.45 ‘The Relation of the Church to the Labor Question,’ given two years into his pastorship on May 2nd, 1883, seems to have been one that drew him into the bullseye of the press. Here is a segment of the sermon, including a reprint from the Daily Evening Traveller from Boston, Massachusetts:

“Whatever may be said of a woman’s right to any and every branch of labor, it is undeniable that some kinds of labor interfere with her naturally womanly qualities, especially if while engaged in the same work with men she sits at the same bench. It is impossible that two of the opposite sexes should be associated in work from morn until night, year after year, without growing similar in their characteristics and feelings, and we know from experience which it is that assimilates the more readily to the other.”46

“The man does not become effeminate; the woman does become masculine, coarse, unrefined, and immodest. That is in the nature of the case, and varies in degree according to circumstances. Those who favor the coeducation of the sexes know that when young men and young women meet daily in similar pursuits, and become accustomed to each other’s ways under various and trying circumstances of school life, the restraint natural in each other’s society is utterly lost. The facts of experience here are incontrovertible. If such is the case among cultivated young people brought together for the purposes of education, what shall we infer concerning the influence of free communication and association between those of different sexes of the lower ranks, who have no inbred ideas of refinement, who have never learned modesty, and who have no home associations to foster purity?… 

‘It is the duty of the church, to insist upon the absolute necessity of family life, which will withdraw women from the shops and factories to social and moral health. Let parents know that if they send their daughter to large factories, necessarily among evil associates, they send them near the flames; and if men are freely associated with them in their labors they are made to walk on red-hot coals, and it will be nothing less than a miracle if their feet are not burned.”47

Already known as the “Apostolic son of a millionaire,” this sermon was not well received by the press.48 In response, the Daily Evening Traveller called him “a relic”–“a survival of a period of antiquity far more remote from the present.”49 Another newspaper, collected in the New York Historical Society archive, cuts him a bit more slack– “Terry lives in a clique which believes in class distinctions by a matter of course, and it is unlikely he realized the undemocratic character of his utterances.” Regardless, according to this source, this sermon brought Terry “out in a jiffy from the twilight of obscurity into the noonday glare of unfriendly publicity” and that he would “be very lucky if he escapes without being permanently posed a personification of all that is inimical to the American principle that we are born free and equal.”50 Terry’s sermon was presumably in response to the call for women to be admitted to Columbia College, which, as a third newspaper noted, “did not imply the mixing of the two sexes in the class rooms of that institution and their close association in the college life. It was only to open to women the advantages of higher education.”51 The Reverend Doctor remained unscathed among his own congregation, however, and continued in his position until he retired in 1904.52

It was also during his tenure as the Pastor of the South Reformed Church that he enlisted in the 12th Regiment of the New York National Guard as a Chaplain, beginning in 1890.53 In that year, Terry hosted the regiment in his church, and preached to them about “the inculcation of obedience to authority, even where the outcome looked unfavorable.”54 One biographer notes that once the Spanish American War began, he mustered in. Terry was “thoroughly in sympathy with the spirit in which the war was undertaken–the deliverance of the Cuban people from the tyranny of Spain” and that he “infused into the soldiers of his regiment an earnest spirit of consecration to the cause.”55 He served four months, beginning May 13th, 1898, and resigned on September 17th, following special orders from the Secretary of War to give Terry and six others an honorable discharge.56

Godwin, Harold, "Watercolor Landscape of Newport, Rhode Island," [Jul 16 1913], Journal with Ituna's Log," RLC.Ms.Bound.0003, Roderick Terry Collection, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, RI

Following his retirement from his “famous pulpit” in New York City in 1904, it did not take long for Terry to relocate permanently to his beloved vacation home in Newport, Linden Gate.57 Originally built for his father-in-law, Henry G. Marquand by famed architect Richard Morris Hunt in 1873, this imposing summer cottage had been left by Marquand to his first child, Linda Marquand Terry, following his death in 1902.58 For Terry, it was an easy decision to leave bustling Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for the city Terry had admired since his college years (and the location where he met his wife) for the home he had married her in thirty years earlier. Very quickly Terry began to implant himself among the Newport elite and their institutions. While the summer parties of the seaside city were known throughout the country for their extravagance, ”the apex of frivolous luxury and ambitious snobbery,” (an aspect that the Terrys certainly participated in) this was ultimately not where Roderick Terry focused his interest during his later years.59

In 1909, Terry read his first paper of many before the Newport Historical Society, entitled “A Minister’s Wife in the Revolution,” beginning a long relationship with the organization that would last until his death in 1933.60 Over the course of twenty four years, he would present close to a dozen different papers to the society, on subjects such as the first European visitors to Narragansett Bay, the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Newport’s Liberty Tree, and the Old Colony House.61 Terry was familiar with the organization, (founded in 1854) however, his first historical appearance in connection to the society was this paper in 1909.62 One year later, the Civic League, “an organization composed of prominent women” nominated Terry as “Reform Candidate for Mayor” of Newport– he was also endorsed by the Municipal Association.63 While he did not accept the nomination, it certainly reveals how quickly the citizens of the city recognized his commitment to serving his new home in Rhode Island, a commitment that was ultimately, only getting started.

While the wide range and assortment of causes that Terry supported will be detailed below, it is his place in two institutions in particular, the Newport Historical Society, and the Redwood Library, that stand out from all the rest. The Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society and the annual reports of the library reveal his extensive influence on both of these institutions. After thorough review of more than twenty years of the bulletins and annual reports, from 1912-1934, it is clear that he donated well over $20,000, which is somewhere above $300,000 dollars in 2023.64 According to the Annual Report of the Directors of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, between 1912 and 1928, Terry donated at least $13,620– or about $240,000 today. He also donated more than 900 volumes of books to the library.65 According to the Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, he donated at least $5,916 total between 1912 and 1930, or about $105,000 today.66 These financial donations only reveal a small amount of work Terry completed for these institutions, he also offered his time and skill as a historian, working to preserve the physical monuments of Newport that made the city so unique in American history.

Beginning in 1912, Roderick Terry was elected a Director of the Redwood Library, and was appointed to the Committee on Books, and the following year he was elected Vice President.67 In 1914, he gave his first donation of books to the library totaling 257 volumes, and over the course of twenty years, Terry gave about thirty volumes a year to the library. However, his first donation was by far his most prolific.68 Additional donations that year included $500 (about $15,000 today) for new book stacks, the payment of the salary of the library’s cataloguer– a gift he made annually for several years– and the installation on Redwood Street of the original gates from the Redwood estate. As one biographer put it, these gates were just one “instance of his [commitment to] enriching the present by the authentic and suitable monuments of the past.”69 It is also clear from these reports that the library would not have been able to pay for these things without the generosity of Roderick Terry, because “the means of the Library itself did not permit [it] to.”70

In 1916, following in the footsteps of his father-in-law, Terry was elected President of the Redwood Library “for his services and the thought, time and money he has continuously contributed,” just four years after formally joining the organization.71 It would signal the beginning of a long dedication to the library, one that would last until his death in 1933, though his contributions persist a century later. It was in 1916, his first year as President, for example, that Terry’s “public spirit and noble generosity” was exhibited. The library was able to “restore and beautify” the Delivery Room, which, according to the annual report, was “one of the finest and most interesting rooms of its character in the country.”72 These financial contributions were necessary, because, as the library noted in its annual reports, money was needed to “carry on the regular work of the library.”73 Terry’s contributions for the salary of the cataloguer between 1915 and 1924 totaled more than $8,500, paying a maximum of $2,250 in 1921, or about $38,000 today.74 In 1928, he was formally recognized by the library for his financial contributions towards the renovation of the Harrison Room, which is, according to the annual report, “the oldest Library room in actual use in the United States.”75 In 1931, he similarly financed the restoration of the Reading Room–now known as the Roderick Terry Reading Room.76

It wasn’t just the interior of the Redwood Library that he was responsible for renovating– it was by Terry’s behest alone that the owner of the Redwood Farm Garden House, Bradford Norman, moved the house from his property in Portsmouth to the library grounds in Newport in 1917, where it remains today. A stone’s throw from the Garden House is a statue of George Washington, made from a bust originally manufactured by famed French artist Jean-Antoine Houdon. It was also financed by Terry. This statue was originally meant for Washington Square, but due to disagreements between Newport citizens on an appropriate location, “Dr. Terry called a meeting of all those interested: gather the consensus of their views; and, far from showing pique or annoyance at the heat of contestants, neither withdrew his offer of the statue nor pressed his own point of view.”77 In the end, Redwood Library was the chosen destination, and it was installed there in 1932, where it remains today. This isn’t the only statue to a Revolutionary War hero Terry financed in Newport. In 1928, he funded the pyramid-like monument to the location where the Comte de Rochambeau landed with the French forces in 1780, now in Kings Park.78

It was not only financial contributions that Roderick Terry made to the Redwood Library. His donations of books to the institution may be the largest in its history, including its original collection of 751 volumes, funded by a €500 sterling donation from Abraham Redwood. In 1916, Terry, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the noted author’s death, loaned a sizable amount of works of Shakespeare from his personal collection to the library. It was the first of many exhibits featuring his private material. It was also the first exhibition of rare books at the Redwood Library, and at the time was known as “the most remarkable Shakespeare exhibit ever held in this country.”79 After he died in 1933, Terry’s son, Roderick Terry, Jr., oversaw the auction of his book collection. The American Art Association published his entire collection in three separate volumes. These volumes detail Terry’s Shakespeare collection, presumably those put on display in the library. These included the first editions of Shakespeare’s Poems (1640) and The Tragedy of Othello (1622), and second editions of A Midsommer Nights Dreame (1600), King Lear (1608), and The Merry Wives of Windsor (1619).80

Throughout the years, the Reverend Doctor continued to loan several items from his collection for many notable exhibits at the Redwood Library. In 1927, the library held an event to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the printing industry in Newport by James Franklin, the older brother of Benjamin. This exhibit held many “valuable specimens of early Newport printing.”81 In 1929, Terry loaned items for an “exhibition of pictures, broadsides, maps, and letters in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Rhode Island.” A second exhibition that year, also on loan from the Reverend Doctor, included “original letters, manuscript poems, and autographs of some of the famous early American writers.”82 In 1932, Terry loaned several valuable books from his collection to show “an example of the growth and progress of the printer.” According to the library, this exhibition, Terry’s last, was known as “one of the most important and interesting exhibitions ever shown at the library.”83 In addition, in support of Roderick Terry’s special interest in the library, Linda Marquand Terry “very kindly loaned a collection of handsome laces and fans” in 1931.84 These exhibitions showcase the Reverend Doctor’s unwavering dedication to the Redwood Library, Newport’s history, and public history. They are a testament to his commitment to using his generational wealth to promote a deeper appreciation of the past.

In the first volume published by the American Art Association detailing Terry’s collection, the foreword provides some historical context: “Over half a century ago he began to lay the foundations for a private library which, during ensuing decades, grew to be one of the most remarkable collections in this country.” No doubt, even in the 21st century, while conducting research, Terry’s name and bookplate appear more times than one would expect. The foreward’s author agrees: “the numerous references to its volumes and manuscripts which may be found in contemporary bibliographies attest the generous cooperation which the late Rev. Dr. Terry was always willing to accord those in quest of bibliographical knowledge.”85

As a clergyman, the collection obviously included religious ephemera. For example, the book of Genesis of a Gutenberg Bible, and Eliot’s Indian Bible, which was the first Bible printed in what would become the United States, that included translations in English and Wôpanâak, the language of the Wampanoag people. The collection also included perhaps the largest collection of works of Shakespeare at the time, as well as “a complete set of the autographs of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.” Other autographs included in the collection were Charlotte Brontë, Edgar Allan Poe, Galileo Galilei, Queen Elizabeth I, and Mary, Queen of Scots.86 Once sold in its entirety, the Newport Daily News reported that the sale of “rare books, manuscripts and autographs” made $167,876, or about $3.8 million today.87

In typical carnival-barker fashion, the American Art Association contextualizes Terry’s collection in its own way: “Over half a century ago he began to lay the foundations for a private library which, during ensuing decades, grew to be one of the most remarkable collections in this country.”88 In the end, the auction’s final revenue was considerable, but not as impressive as someone with exorbitant wealth like J.P. Morgan. According to the Newport Daily News, the sale of Terry’s “rare books, manuscripts, and autographs” generated $167,876, or about $3.8 million today.89 In comparison, at the time of his death, Morgan’s entire collection, which was not exclusively books, but also included paintings and other art, was worth $20 million in 1916, or $556 million in 2023.90

Godwin, Harold, "Watercolor Portrait of Roderick Terry, 1913," Journal with Ituna's Log," RLC.Ms.Bound.0003, Roderick Terry Collection, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, RI

It was Terry’s wealth, privilege, and access, nonetheless, that allowed him to acquire such a prolific collection (perhaps in quality, rather than quantity) of important books over the years. In a quick perusal of the provenance of a dozen or more of the books mentioned in the auction volumes, it is clear that a majority of the manuscripts were purchased from other prominent booksellers and collectors. The volumes read like a who’s who of important individuals from the era. They include Robert Hoe, Bernard Quatrich, Henry Huntington, William Thyssen-Amherst, Alfred Huth, Gabriel Wells, Gabriel Hart, Henry Poor, William Loring Andrews, and William K. Bixby.91 Many of these men were in the same social circles as Terry, or served with him in membership clubs specifically dedicated to book collections, such Robert Hoe and William Loring Andrews, who were both founders of the Grolier Club in New York City.

Also noted in the volumes published by the American Art Association, Roderick Terry was also a prolific autograph collector. The auction included signatures of George Washington, Rhode Island General Nathanael Greene, and “a complete set of the autographs of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence,” which included rare signatures of Button Gwinnett, of Georgia, and Thomas Lynch Jr., of South Carolina. The collection included autographs from noteworthy figures like authors Charlotte Brontë, Lord Byron, and Edgar Allan Poe, astronomer Galileo Galilei, as well as monarchs like Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots.92 In addition, more than a dozen other autographs not on sale at the auction are now in the Roderick Terry Papers in the archive of the Newport Historical Society. These signatures include Otto von Bismark, Chancellor of Germany, and Gabriele D’Annunzio, an Italian nationalist who inspired Benito Mussolini.93

Terry was not simply a collector of books and autographs, however, he was also an author. He wrote multiple papers to present before the Newport Historical Society, and to be published in their journal. He also kept an extensive diary, at least during his steamship voyage vacations. One such journal, “Ituna’s Log, 1913,” currently in the archive of the Redwood Library, details the voyage of Terry and his wife on the steam-chartered yacht Ituna from Long Island, New York to Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 14th to August 21st. Included in the ship’s log are small watercolor landscapes painted by Terry’s brother-in-law, Henry Godwin (as well as a small portrait of Roderick), newspaper clippings, and more than a dozen photographs, also containing portraits of Roderick. In the journal, Terry assigns an alias to each of those along for the ride, dubbing himself “The Commodore,” Godwin “The Artist,” and Henry Marquand, his father-in-law, “The Farmer.” His niece, Frances Bryant Godwin, became “Frank” and her companion, Dorothy Hyde, was “Why Worry?” This journal, which also includes shorter entries on two other voyages, the Osceola in 1914 and the Elgrudor in 1920, has graciously been digitized because of the research for this paper, and now is available through the Redwood Library.94

"Photograph of Roderick Terry aboard the Ituna, 1913," Journal with Ituna's Log," RLC.Ms.Bound.0003, Roderick Terry Collection, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, RI

Following the reading of his first paper before the society in 1909, Roderick Terry developed a lasting relationship with the Newport Historical Society until his death in 1933. In fact, in 1934 the Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, the official publication of the society that Terry himself founded in 1912, dedicated an entire issue to him; “In Memory of Reverend Roderick Terry, D.D.” with a collection of obituaries, a list of his accomplishments and contributions, and an extensive, uncited, biography by Lloyd M. Mayer., the society’s Librarian.95 Mayer writes:

“When Roderick Terry came into the life of the Newport Historical Society, he found it in a moribund condition, its finances crippled, its value to the community negligible. … But Dr. Terry believed otherwise. He took vigorous hold of the wheel, and secured the aid of powerful friends in furnishing fuel for the engines. … Dr. Terry’s generosity to the Society was unbounded. … There was never a deficit in the Society’s accounts, which Dr. Terry was not unwilling to fill, and it was he who with a substantial contribution started the Endowment Fund which has secured to the Society its present satisfactory financial condition.”96

An extensive review of Terry’s own Bulletin reveals much of the details behind Mayer’s biography. In 1912, the same year he helped to start the journal, he was also elected Vice President. He got right to work (much like he was doing at the Redwood Library). He began funding the cataloging of the books and creating a system of organization.97 In 1914, when the society needed to fund a new, fireproof building, Terry donated $2,766 towards its construction.98

Both Terry and the President before him, Daniel Fearing, were known to have a “lively interest” in Native American artifacts and history.99 Thus, in an effort to raise membership totals for the historical society, Terry and Fearing held “an Indian Exhibition, which attracted wide-spread attention and was the immediate cause of a marked increase in membership.”100 In the preserved program for the event, (held July 18th, 1914 at the home of banker Lawrence Gillespie) Terry is listed as the “Senior Officer” of the Historical Society tasked with its organization. He was assisted by Gillespie’s wife, Irene, and Ellen Vanderbilt, the wife of Alfred Vanderbilt. Mrs. Roderick Terry is also listed as a “Patroness.”101 This lawn party fundraiser featured songs, dances, silhouette cuttings, and palm readings.

Terry’s fascination with Native American artifacts did not cease after the 1914 féte, however. Presumably beginning with this event, the Newport Historical Society began amassing a collection of artifacts of Indigenous peoples both locally and throughout what is now the United States. According to the society Librarian, Lloyd Mayer, Terry “secured for the society a truly remarkable Indian collection housed in a separate room” that consisted “largely of specimens gathered from Newport County sites of Indian activity.”102 This separate room was known as the Indian Room, and in typical Roderick Terry fashion, a system of notecards was created to catalog many of the items in the collection.103 As a result of lack of care and theft, many of the artifacts are now missing. However, the notecards remain in the archive of the society. They include a wide range of locations beyond just the Indigenous peoples of Newport County.

For example, in 1932, Terry donated three items from the “Yreka Indians” (presumably, the Yreka are the Shasta people of central California) including an abalone shell and an “Indian apron.”104 Other artifacts listed in the collection included an “Indian cap once owned by ‘Esther Paul’ the last queen or ruler of the Mic Mac [sic] tribe”– donated in 1921 by Charles Morrison– and “Indian Moccasins worn by Indian during the Battle of Wounded Knee Creek”– donated by W.J. Ehrhardt. The vastness of the collection of artifacts in the Indian Room is genuinely stunning for an early 20th century historical society showroom. Including the aforementioned California, there were artifacts from New York, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, and as far away as Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, among many others. There were also local artifacts. Rhode Island examples include a “piece of stone hatchet found in Jamestown, RI in 1852” donated by Capt. G. B. Slocum.105 Many of these artifacts remain in the archive of the Newport Historical Society (with more added in 1969) and it is imperative that much more work is conducted to connect these important pieces of American history to their rightful owners throughout the United States.106

Terry’s Presidency saw many improvements for the Newport Historical Society. First, he established multiple exhibits in the Museum and increased attendance and interest in the institution; “better than any year of our history.”107 In 1922, he purchased the adjacent vacant lot from its owners to prevent them from constructing an “apartment house” and then promptly dedicated the land to the society, out of concern “such a building would seriously interfere with the light of our rooms.”108 In 1927, he pledged $500 towards the purchase of the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House– the largest of any donors of the total $6,000.109 Terry was also pivotal in the preservation and restoration of the Old Colony House in 1929.110 In an article about the “Old State House” in the Newport Mercury, an author writes, “Without his enthusiasm and support the enterprise of restoring the old building might have failed,” and that Terry had “proved to be an invaluable worker and promoter,” recognized as “one of Newport’s more helpful citizens.”111

Roderick Terry was more than willing to use his personal wealth to assist institutions like the Redwood Library and the Newport Historical Society. This did not simply consist of monetary donations, and gifts of hundreds of volumes of books, or artifacts from around the world, but also acres of land. Earlier it was documented in 1922 that Terry purchased the lot adjacent to the society to prevent its development, and then gifted the property to the institution. Similarly, beginning in 1923, he began purchasing property that included the Revolutionary War fort Butts Hill Fort in Portsmouth and Fort Barton in Tiverton. In Portsmouth, Terry gifted one plot in that same year, and two more in 1924 and 1932.112 Upon receiving the gifts of these properties, the Librarian reported at their quarterly meeting in 1924 that “if our financial position were as stoutly fortified as our historical position, the Rock of Gibraltar would look to us like a golf tee, in comparison with our three fortresses.”113

In 1930, when Roderick Terry purchased the Sherman Windmill, the condition of the mill “was not at all that of a real windmill.” As a result, Terry financed the restoration of the mill, “not only to a semblance of its former architectural beauty and dignity, but also to its practical mechanical usefulness as a grinder of corn” with the intention of presenting to the Newport Historical Society “a perfect example of a Rhode Island windmill, to the end that future generation may know whence came an important part of the sustenance of their ancestors.”114 The windmill itself was not constructed on its current site, but was actually built in 1812 in Warren, and used as a part of a whiskey distillery. After several years in Warren, it was sold and moved to Fall River, where it was used to grind corn. It was then sold to its namesake, Robert Sherman, who moved the windmill to Quaker Hill in Portsmouth, and subsequently sold it to Job Almy, who operated it into the 1870s.115

By the end of the 19th century, it was sold to Benjamin Hall, who moved it to Lehigh Hill, also in Portsmouth. Hall, who was also the owner of the Butts Hill land in 1900, restored the windmill at a cost of $3,000. By 1930, the property eventually came into the hands of Edward Ruggles, the man from whom Roderick Terry purchased the property.116 In 1972, the windmill was moved one final time, by Doris Duke’s Newport Restoration Foundation, to its current site on Prescott Farm in Middletown.117 Sherman Windmill stands as yet another example of the extent to which Terry was willing to take on personally the tasks of preserving important facets of Rhode Island history for the public to learn more about their past. While the preservation of both the Sherman Windmill and Fort Barton were important and lasting contributions by Terry, it seems that Butts Hill Fort may be his crowning achievement.

Today, in 2023, Butts Hill Fort is designated as eleven acres divided into three separate parcels owned by the Town of Portsmouth which Dr. Terry originally purchased in 1923, though it is possible the purchase entailed more land. It sits atop a hill of about 200 feet between what is now called West Main and East Main Road, and circled on the north by Sprague Street. Its current namesake is John Butts, for whom the fort was named “Butts and his family for their loyalty and aid given to the Patriot Army during the struggle for independence.”118 In 1665, the property was owned by Caleb Briggs, and in 1668, a windmill was built there in the area, thus Sprague Street was known as “the way to the Windmill.”119 As a result of the strategic nature of the site, Continental Army built a small battery on the hill in 1776. In December of that year, the British military occupied Aquidneck Island, and the battery was built out by British troops and conscripted Portsmouth residents in the spring of 1777. During the Battle of Rhode Island and its prelude in August of 1778, Butts Hill Fort served as the headquarters for General John Sullivan, which included the 1st Rhode Island Regiment– the first predominately-Black and Indigenous regiment in the United States.120 On August 8th, 1778, British forces evacuated Butts Hill and the following day, American forces occupied it– a position they would hold until their retreat following the Battle of Rhode Island on August 29th.

By September of that year, the British regained control of the site and maintained its condition until departing from Rhode Island in 1779, when the newly-arrived French military camped there in 1780 and 1781 during their own occupation of Aquidneck Island. By 1782, the fort was abandoned, and its gates and platforms for artillery were sold off at auction by William Anthony, as appointed by the General Assembly, with its proceeds placed in the state’s treasury.121 Thus, Butts Hill Fort stands as perhaps the most important Revolutionary War fort in Rhode Island, and certainly one of the largest in southern New England.122 At the time of its preservation in 1923, few forts from this era remained in such good condition, and it was through the sole efforts of Roderick Terry that it began its path towards restoration, a path that continues today.123

Though it was marked on several maps throughout the 19th century, the fort eventually went into disarray.124 Beginning in 1900, its owner, Benjamin Hall, began publishing for sale advertisements in the Providence Journal, in one ad he wrote that it was the “highest land” with “splendid views” … “the nicest place to build on the north end of the island.”125 In 1912, the lot was still in Hall’s possession, and it was featured in a special article in the Providence Sunday Journal entitled “Forts on the Market” that warned the historic fort was going to be “wiped out” by development, that there is “little inclination to preserve the ancient ramparts thrown up by the founders of the Republic in this State.”126 In 1921, a man named George Bradlee wrote a letter to the editor of the Providence Journal calling for the construction of a monument at Butts Hill, as a “permanent reminder of an engagement which Lafayette assured our fathers was ‘the best fought action of the war,’ and which Bicknell, in his ‘History of Rhode Island,’ calls ‘The most important and the most decisive event of the Revolutionary War within the limits of New England.”127

One year to the date from Bradlee’s letter (August 29th, 1922), the Daughters of the American Revolution heeded the call and unveiled a bronze tablet at Butts Hill.128 One of the Providence Journal’s on-staff cartoonists wrote a poem about the event;

“To Butts Hill, Portsmouth, many went; To celebrate a great event; A battle long before us fought; About which you were doubtless taught; Or if you were not, then you ought; If books of history are sought; You’ll find that once upon this high land; Was fought the Battle of Rhode Island.”129 Not everyone, however, was feeling their patriotism aroused. Three months later, the Journal reported that the bronze tablet had been stolen, and recommended “marking historical spots with inscriptions on material of no intrinsic value.” The newspaper article pointed out that it is an ideal location for theft, where “metal thieves can work without fear of interruption.”130

This time, Roderick Terry heeded the call. On May 29th, 1923, he announced at a meeting of the Newport Historical Society that negotiations were underway for the acquisition of the fort, in hopes that it would be purchased before August 29th, the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Rhode Island.131 By July 20th, plans were being announced for a “sham battle” and a ceremony where Terry would formally gift the property of Butts Hill to the society.132 On August 20th, Terry presented both Butts Hill Fort in Portsmouth and Fort Barton in Tiverton to the Newport Historical Society, attaching only one condition to it (he would later add two more): “to assure the preservation of the old forts to the public.” One week later, the Providence Journal reported, there would be a dedicatory exercise in connection with a reenactment performed at Butts Hill.133 It is this event where this paper began.

On August 29th, 1923, on the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Rhode Island, nearly two thousand people turned out at Butts Hill, to witness the reenactment and to watch the dedication ceremony featuring Roderick Terry. The reenactment featured the members of the Newport Artillery Company, as well as men sent from both Fort Adams and the Naval Training Station in Newport.134 The Providence Journal reported that during his speech, Terry declared these properties “belonged to the people of the State and of America.”135 The Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, perhaps unsurprisingly, published a special edition, completely dedicated to this event, in which they go a bit more in depth into the Terry’s speech at Butts Hill:

“he hoped [the forts] would serve to all future generations as a remind of what our ancestors had done to give us our Independence, and that those who should visit this historic spot would find their Patriotism aroused, for in spite of what is the opinion of many today, we believe thoroughly in Patriotism, and that there are few nobler qualities to inspire great deeds.”136

Terry also made three specific conditions for his donation of this land to the Newport Historical Society; (1) that it “maintain said premises as a memorial or monument to the memory of those who fought in the American Revolution,” and specifically in the Battle of Rhode Island; (2) it “shall always retain the name of ‘Butts Hill Fort’; and (3) that it “shall never be used as a means of obtaining pecuniary gain or profit.” One final stipulation noted that if the society failed to meet these conditions, the property would automatically default to the State of Rhode Island.137 Five years later, the Newport Historical Society hosted another reenactment of the battle, this time celebrating the 150th Anniversary.138 By 1939, the portions of the fort (the ‘parade-grounds’) had been leveled to include a baseball field– though the Newport Mercury reported that the intention was to “not interfere with the purpose for which the land was donated by Dr. Roderick Terry.”139

Roderick Terry Reading Book
Newport Historical Society, "In Memory of Reverend Roderick Terry, D.D.," Bulletin of Newport Historical Society, No. 91, (Apr 1934)

In 1955, a school was built just to the south of the site, and in 1964 the Portsmouth High School was constructed in its place.140 However, by 1968, these conditions were no longer being met. The fort was “overgrown with poison ivy, brush, and trees.” On July 15th, The Newport Daily News reported, the Newport Historical Society gifted the deed to Butts Hill Fort to the Town of Portsmouth, to facilitate future preservation. The plan then was to “erect an information center describing the battle fought there and its part in American history.”141 In 1974, the Battle of Rhode Island Historic District was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Parks Service.142 The next year, about 200 gathered to attend the rededication of the fort, including then-Senator Claiborne Pell.143

In 2008, a wind turbine was built west of the fort, presumably very close to the same place the windmill was built in 1688.144 In 2009, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project published a planning, preservation and management plan for Butts Hill Fort, with the help of a grant from the National Park Service’s Battlefield Protection Program, to “ensure the long term preservation of the Fort, as well as its increased use by the public.”145 In 2022, in preparation for the 250th Anniversary of the Battle of Rhode Island, the Battle of Rhode Island Association, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of Rhode Island’s role in the War for Independence, was awarded $15,000 to begin implementation of the restoration of Butts Hill Fort by the Rhode Island Chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of which Roderick Terry was a member.146

In August 2023, the Battle of Rhode Island Association celebrates both the 245th Anniversary of the Battle, as well as the 100th Anniversary of the gift of Roderick Terry. This privileged “apostolic son of a millionaire” had certainly established himself as one of the State of Rhode Island’s most prolific preservationists. However, it was not his considerable wealth alone that allowed for such an extensive contribution to public history in the state. Among the country’s most important rare book collectors of his era, Terry’s keen intellect as a historian allowed him to best understand the significance and importance of historic artifacts and sites before funding their preservation. Coupled with his social influence in both Rhode Island and New York, Terry was perhaps untouched in the first half of the twentieth century as a preservationist on Aquidneck Island. In 1924, the Newport Mercury wrote “The Newport Historical Society has become one of the great institutions of Newport … largely due to the generosity and far-sightedness of its president, Rev. Roderick Terry, D.D. Long may he live!”147

Resources:

(1) Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No. 47, (Nov 1923), ‘smoke’ p. 6; ‘tranquil’ p. 13

(2) Bulletin, (Nov 1923), pp. 13-15

(3) Bulletin, (Nov 1923), p. 16

(4) “Dr. Roderick Terry Died This Afternoon,” Newport Mercury and Weekly News, (Dec 29 1933), p. 2

(5) ‘President,’ Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Annual Report of the Directors of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, (Ward Print. Co., Newport, 1919), and Newport Historical Society, Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No. 29, (Jul 1919); ‘apostolic,’ “Roderick Terry, pastor of South Reformed Church,” [Unknown
Newspaper], [Unknown Date, c. 1873-1894], in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New York Historical Society,
Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY.

(6) Cutter, William Richard, ed., Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut, Vol. 3, (Lewis Historical Pub. Co., New York, 1911), p. 1369-1371

(7) Cutter, ed., ibid., p. 1369-1371

(8) Nelke, D.I., ed., Illustrated American Biography Containing Memoirs, and Engravings and Etchings of
Representative Americans, (Lewis Pub. Co., 1895), pp. 198

(9) Nelke, ibid., pp. 199

(10) Nelke, ibid., pp. 199

(11) Cutter, ibid., p. 1370

(12) Nelke, ibid., pp. 199

(13) ‘metropolis,’ The Successful American, (Press Biographical Co., New York, 1899), p. 48; ‘Atlantic,’ Cutter, ibid.,
p. 1370

(14) Nelke, ibid., pp. 201

(15) The Successful American, ibid., p. 48

(16) “By the will of the late John T. Terry,” Newport Mercury [May 10 1913]

(17) Yale became the first university in the United States in 1887.

(18) Mayer, Lloyd M., “In Memory of Reverend Roderick Terry,” Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No, 91,
(Apr 1934), p. 6

(19) Hicks, Lewis Wilder, The biographical record of the class of 1870, Yale College, (T. Todd: Boston, MA, 1911), p.
242

(20) “Second Presbyterian Church to Roderick Terry,” [Jun 30 1875] Correspondence, 1873-1881, in Roderick Terry
Papers, 1873-1894, New York Historical Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY. This amount is
about $41,000 today in 2023.

(21) “Terry, Roderick,” National Cyclopaedia of American Biographies, Vol. 10, p. 233

(22) Mayer, ibid., p. 8

(23) ‘philanthropist,’ Mayer, ibid., p. 9; ‘banking,’Prominent Families of New York, (Historical Co, 1898), p. 396

(24) Mayer, ibid., p. 8

(25) Prominent, ibid., p. 396

(26) The difference between these two depends on the method of propulsion. Sailing generally uses sails, and yachts
are often powered by an engine. Yachts are also often over 35 feet in length.

(27) Mayer, ibid., p. 9

(28) Hicks, ibid., p. 284 (x)

(29) “Marquand Terry Baptism” [Apr 20 1888], Correspondence, 1884-1890, in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894,
New York Historical Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY

(30) New York Department of Health, “1892,” New York, U.S., Death Index, 1852-1956

(31) “Edward G. Janeway to Roderick Terry” [Undated]; “Henry van Dyke to Roderick Terry” [Sep 4 1892]; and
“Unknown to Roderick Terry” [Undated], Correspondence, 1891-1894, in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New
York Historical Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY

(32) “Henry van Dyke” National Cyclopaedia of American Biographies, Vol. 7, p. 291; “Henry van Dyke to Roderick
Terry” [Sep 4 1892], Correspondence, 1891-1894, in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New York Historical
Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY. Van Dyke was also the Pastor for the United
Congregational Church in Newport, Rhode Island, from 1878 to 1882, when he moved to Manhattan.

(33) Chamberlain, Joshua L., ed., Universities and Their Sons: New York University, (R. Herndon Co., Boston, 1901),
pp. 137-138

(34) Condran, Gretchen A,, & Harold Lentzer, “Early Death: Mortality among Young Children in New York, Chicago,
and New Orleans,” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Winter 2004), p. 315

(35) Wright, Henry B., ed., Triennial Record of the Class of 1898, Yale College, (Norman Lithographing Co., New
Haven, 1902), p. 81

(36) “Hale-Terry,” The Sun, [Nov 16 1902]

(37) “Life Patrol Saves Girl,” Providence Journal, [Jul 17 1906], p. 1

(38) New York Department of Health, “1919,” New York, U.S., Death Index, 1852-1956

(39) “Hospital Election,” Newport Mercury, [Jul 12 1924]; Mayer, ibid., p. 9; This amount is equivalent to about
$443,513.16 in 2023.

(40) “Leaves Famous Pulpit,” Providence Journal, [Mar 2 1904]

(41) Anonymous, The Rev. E.P. Rogers, D.D., (Privately printed, 1882), pp. 12-13

(42) White, Frederic, Historical Sketch of the South Church (Reformed) of New York City, (Gilliss Bros. & Turnure,
New York, 1887), p. 47

(43) “College of New Jersey to Roderick Terry” [Jun 24 1882], Correspondence, 1882-1883, in Roderick Terry Papers,
1873-1894, New York Historical Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY

(44) “Leaves Famous Pulpit,” Providence Journal, [Mar 2 1904]

(45) Terry, Roderick, “Mourning for the Past,” The Treasury: An Evangelical Monthly, Vol. 7, No. 5, (Sep 1889), pp.
271-277; “Sermon by Dr. Terry on ‘The Relation of Education to Faith’,” New York Times, [Jun 14 1897], p. 8

(46) “The Relation of the Church to the Labor Question,” [May 2 1883], in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New
York Historical Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY.

(47) “Another Survival,” Daily Evening Traveller, [May 12 1883] in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New York
Historical Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY; “The Relation of the Church to the Labor
Question,” [May 2 1883], in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New York Historical Society, Mss Collection
(Non-circulating), New York, NY.

(48) “The Rev. Dr. E. P. Rogers’s Successor,” [Undated] in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New York Historical
Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY

(49) “Another Survival,” Daily Evening Traveller, [May 12 1883] in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New York
Historical Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY

(50) “Rev. Roderick Terry,” [Undated] in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New York Historical Society, Mss
Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY

(51) “A Preacher’s Ideas About the Workers,” [Undated] in Roderick Terry Papers, 1873-1894, New York Historical
Society, Mss Collection (Non-circulating), New York, NY

(52) Corwin, Charles, A Manual of the Reformed Church in America, p. 678; “Leaves Famous Pulpit,” Providence
Journal, [Mar 2 1904]

(53) Mayer, ibid., p. 7

(54) “Twelfth Regiment at Church,” New York Times, [May 19 1890]

(55) “Terry, Roderick,” National Cyclopaedia of American Biographies, Vol. 10, p. 233

(56) Abstracts of Spanish-American War Military and Naval Service Records, 1898–1902. Series B0809 (34 volumes).
New York (State). Adjutant General’s Office. New York State Archives, Albany, NY, pp. 727, 729; The six others
were Charles W. Ayars, J.M. Wainwright, William L. Fish, A.B. Palmer, Simon P. Doherty, and W.S. Tash. It is
unclear if Terry’s honorable discharge before the end of the Spanish American War was the result of his privilege,
though the phenomenon was commonplace among the wealthy at the end of the 19th century United States.

(57) “Leaves Famous Pulpit,” Providence Journal, [Mar 2 1904]; Mayer, ibid., p. 10

(58) Miller, Paul, Lost Newport, (Applewood, 2008), pp. 40-42; Hunt also built the existing building for the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which Marquand was the President.

(59) Mayer, ibid., p. 10

(60) Mayer, ibid., p. 11

(61) Terry, Roderick, “The first European visitors to Narragansett Bay, a paper read before the society, February 19,
1917,” Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No. 22, (April, 1917); “Some old papers relating to the Newport
slave trade,” Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No. 62, (July, 1927); “The history of the Liberty Tree of
Newport, Rhode Island,” Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No, 27, (October, 1918); “History of the Old
Colony House at Newport,” Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No. 63, (October, 1927)

(62) Mayer, ibid., p. 11

(63) “Reform Mayor for Newport,” New York Times, [Oct 24 1910]

(64) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Annual Report of the Directors of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, (Ward
Print. Co., Newport, 1909-1934); Newport Historical Society, Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, Nos. 3-75,
(Jul 1912 – Jul 1930). All monetary conversions were conducted with the “Inflation Calculator” from
OfficialData.org, which cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index as its source.

(65) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1909-1934)

(66) Newport Historical Society, ibid., Nos. 3-75, (Jul 1912 – Jul 1930)

(67) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (913-1914)

(68) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1909-1934)

(69) Mayer, ibid., p. 16

(70) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1914)

(71) Mayer, ibid., p. 16. Henry G. Marquand was President of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum from 1895 to
1902.

(72) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1916)

(73) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1917)

(74) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1915-1924)

(75) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1928)

(76) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1931)

(77) Mayer, ibid., p. 21

(78) “Monument Dedicated at Newport to Mark Spot Where French Forces Landed to Aid American Colonists,”
Providence Journal [Jul 15 1928], p. 10

(79) Mayer, ibid., p. 16

(80) American Art Association, The Library of the Late Rev. Dr. Roderick Terry of Newport, Rhode Island, Vols. 1-3
(American Art Assoc., New York, 1934)

(81) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1928, 1929)

(82) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1928, 1929)

(83) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1932)

(84) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, ibid., (1930)

(85) American Art Association, The Library of the Late Rev. Dr. Roderick Terry of Newport, Rhode Island, Vol. 1
(American Art Assoc., New York, 1934)

(86) American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1

(87) “Rare Book Auction,” The Newport Daily News [May 4 1954]

(88) American Art Association, The Library of the Late Rev. Dr. Roderick Terry of Newport, Rhode Island, Vol. 1
(American Art Assoc., New York, 1934)

(89) “Rare Book Auction,” The Newport Daily News [May 4 1954]

(90) Strause, Jean, Morgan: American Financier, (Harper Collins, 2000), p. 14

(91) ‘Hoe’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1, p. 10, 18, 60; ‘Quatrich’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1,
p. 52; ‘Huntington’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1, p. 52; ‘Thyssen’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol.
1, p. 56; ‘Huth’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1, p. 290; ‘Wells’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1, p.
16; ‘Hart’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1, p. 197; ‘Poor’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1, p. 34;
‘Andrews’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1, p. 119; ‘Bixby’, American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1, p. 154

(92) American Art Association, ibid., Vol. 1

(93) “Folders of letters and documents relating to Dr. Roderick Terry” [1907-1932], B.102F.2, Roderick Terry Papers,
Newport Historical Society, Newport, RI

(94) Terry, Roderick, “Journal with Ituna’s Log,” [1913, 1914, 1920], RLC.Ms.Bound.0003, Roderick Terry Collection,
Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, RI

(95) Newport Historical Society, Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No. 91 (Apr 1934)

(96) Mayer, ibid., p. 2

(97) Newport Historical Society, ibid., No. 3, (Jul 1912)

(98) Newport Historical Society, ibid., No. 17, (Jul 1915)

(99) In July 1930 and again in October 1932, Terry donated Native American artifacts to the Newport Historical
Society. For July 1930 (“American Indian relics, arrowheads, etc., from Newport and vicinity”), see: Newport
Historical Society, ibid., No. 75, (Jul 1930), and for October 1932 see: “Indian Room Collection Notecards,”
[Undated], Newport Historical Society, Indian Room Collection (Non-circulating), Newport, RI

(100) Mayer, ibid., p. 12

(101) Newport Historical Society, Indian and Prehistoric Exhibition and Lawn Féte on the Ground of Mrs. Lawrence L.
Gillespie’s Residence, (Ward Pub. Co., Newport, 1914); It should be noted that no one identified as Native American
was formally involved with this exhibition and subsequent ceremony.

(102) Mayer, ibid., p. 15

(103) Many Indigenous peoples of North America do not use the term ‘Indian’ to refer to themselves, often preferring
to use their own national endonym, i.e., Narragansett, Wampanoag, or Haudensaunee. However, in the early 20th
century, it was commonplace to disregard this perspective, and combine diverse Indigenous nations under the single
moniker, as was done at the Newport Historical Society in the 1920s. This often makes determining the provenance
of particular material objects and artifacts difficult.

(104) “Indian Room Collection Notecards,” [Undated], Newport Historical Society, Indian Room Collection
(Non-circulating), Newport, RI; Kroeber, A.I., Handbook of the Indians of California, Smithsonian Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin No. 78, (Washington, DC, 1925), p. 357

(105) “Indian Room Collection Notecards,” [Undated], Newport Historical Society, Indian Room Collection
(Non-circulating), Newport, RI; Newport Historical Society, ibid., No. 36, (Apr 1921)

(106) In 1969, an archaeological excavation led by James Deetz revealed multiple artifacts beneath the Quaker Meeting
House in Newport including projectile points and three separate canine burials. See: Yentsch, Anne, et. al, Review of
Excavations during 1969-1970 at The Old Quaker Meeting House Site in Newport, RI, Archaeology Lab, Plimoth
Plantation, in Newport Historical Society, Archaeology Collection (Non-circulating), Newport, RI

(107) Newport Historical Society, ibid., No. 37, (Jul 1921)

(108) Newport Historical Society, ibid., No. 41, (Jul 1922)

(109) Newport Historical Society, ibid., No. 60, (Jan 1927)

(110) Mayer, ibid., p. 4; “Managers of Old State House in Newport, Inc., Meets,” Newport Mercury, [Aug 9 1929]

(111) “Managers of Old State House in Newport, Inc., Meets,” Newport Mercury [Aug 9 1929]

(112) Mayer, ibid., p. 4, 14; Schmidt, Gloria, “‘Roderick the Magnificent’ saved Butts Hill, other sites,” Portsmouth
Times, [Dec 22 2022]

(113) Newport Historical Society, ibid., No. 50, (Jul 1924), p. 5

(114) Newport Historical Society, “Our Windmill,” Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No. 73, (Jan 1930), pp.
27-28

(115) Newport Historical Society, “Our Windmill,” ibid. No. 73, (Jan 1930), p. 27

(116) Newport Historical Society, “Our Windmill,” ibid. No. 73, (Jan 1930), p. 27; “For Sale: Lots at the Old Fort,
Butts Hill, Portsmouth,” Providence Journal [Jul 27 1900], p. 7

(117) Bonham, Julia C., and Gary Kulik, Rhode Island: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites, (US
Interior Dept., 1978), p. 165

(118) Butts, Francis B., The Butts Family of Rhode Island, (1891) p. 12

(119) Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), ibid., pp. 5-6

(120) Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), ibid., p. 6

(121) Robertson, ibid., p. 76; Bartlett, John Russell, ed., Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations, Vol. 9, p. 709

(122) Robertson, John K., Revolutionary War Defenses in Rhode Island, (RI Pub. Soc., East Providence, 2022), p. 72

(123) Newport Historical Society, “Special Bulletin: Butts Hill Fort Celebration,” Bulletin of the Newport Historical
Society, No. 47, (Nov 1923), p. 2

(124) Public Archaeology Lab, Technical Memorandum: Butts Hill Fort Restoration Master Plan, (PAL, Aug 2022), p.
6

(125) “For Sale: Lots at the Old Fort, Butts Hill, Portsmouth,” Providence Journal [Jul 27 1900], p. 7

(126) “Forts on the Market,” Providence Sunday Journal, [May 19 1912], p. 7

(127) Bradlee, George L., “Battle of Rhode Island,” Providence Journal, [Aug 28 1921], p. 4

(128) “DAR Unveil Tablet on Butts Hill Battle Site,” Providence Journal, [Aug 30 1922], p. 20; This place has been
vandalized and was moved from the fort to the Portsmouth Historical Society.

(129) “As It Looks in Rhyme,” Providence Journal, [Sep 3 1922], p. 4

(130) “Stealing Historical Tablets,” Providence Journal, [Nov 3 1922], p. 14

(131) “Historical Society May Acquire Butts Hill Fort,” Providence Journal, [May 30 1923], p. 2

(132) “Battle of Rhode Island Will Be Commemorated,” Providence Journal, [Jul 20 1923], p. 4

(133) “Newport Society is Given Two Historic R.I. Forts,” Providence Journal, [Aug 21 1923], p. 3

(134) Newport Historical Society, “Special Bulletin: Butts Hill Fort Celebration,” Bulletin of the Newport Historical
Society, No. 47, (Nov 1923); “Historic Battle Is Fought Again,” Providence Journal, [Aug 30 1923], p. 3

(135) “Historic Battle Is Fought Again,” Providence Journal, [Aug 30 1923], p. 23

(136) Newport Historical Society, ibid., No. 47, (Nov 1923), pp. 13-14

(137) Newport Historical Society, ibid., No. 47, (Nov 1923), p. 15; “Spectacular Dedication,” Newport Mercury, [Sep 1
1923], p. 1

(138) “Thousands Watch Battle Pageantry,” Providence Journal, [Aug 28 1928], p. 1; This would be the last formal
reenactment of the Battle of Rhode Island at Butts Hill Fort. Another is planned for the 245th Anniversary in August
2023. It will also be the 100th Anniversary of Rev. Dr. Roderick Terry’s donation of the land to the Newport
Historical Society. It is this latter anniversary that was the impetus for the research behind this article.

(139) “Butts Hill to be Used as Playfield,” Newport Mercury, [Apr 21 1939], p. 6

(140) Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), ibid. p. 18

(141) “Portsmouth Council Given Deed to British War Fort,” Newport Daily News, [Jul 16 1968], p. 4

(142) Public Archaeology Lab, ibid., p. 1

(143) “Celebration at Butts Hill is Colonial,”Newport Mercury, [Sep 5 1975], p. 4

(144) Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), ibid. p. 21

(145) Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), ibid. p. 2

(146) “Battle of RI Association receives more grants,” Portsmouth Times, [Dec 22 2022], p. 3; Bicknell, Thomas
Willians, The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical, (American His. Soc.,
New York, 1920), p. 105-106. Terry was presumably a member of the Society as a result of his ancestor Nathaniel
Terry, who served in the Revolutionary War.

(147) “The Newport Historical Society,” Newport Mercury, [Aug 30 1924]

This research was funded by the Battle of Rhode Island Association and the Redwood Library and Athenaeum

About the Author

Michael J. Simpson is a public historian from Providence, Rhode Island. He has graduate degrees in History from both New York University and Brown University, and currently teaches United States History at Johnson & Wales University. Michael serves on multiple non-profit boards including Smith’s Castle, Newport Middle Passage Project and Bristol Middle Passage Project, the latter of which he serves as Secretary, and the editorial board for the Battle of Rhode Island Association. He is also the founder and owner of Hidden History Tours, a walking history tour of downtown Newport. Hidden History Tours most recently started a new project, funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities: On This Day in Rhode Island History, available on all social media platforms; @otdrhodeisland.

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