Hardin County

Deliah Ellen Walker Terrill

She makes quilts. Has more than 100 in her home

CAVE-IN-ROCK, Ill. (Nov. 5, 1935) — In the vicinity of Cave-in-Rock there are quite a number of women who in their years, are active and self-reliant. Among them is Mrs. Delilah Ellen Terrell, who was born May 2, 1854, and has therefore passed her 82nd milestone on the journey of life.

She was born in Caldwell County, Kentucky on a farm about six miles from Princeton. When she was 12 years old her mother who was Mandy Hobby Walker, a native of Alabama, was deserted by her husband, whose name was James Walker.

She was one of a family of seven children, there having been two brothers and two sisters older then she. There were also two younger sisters.

The mother being thus left with a large family to support found it necessary to call upon the children for help and Mrs. Terrell's opportunities for receiving an education in school were very meager. She spent her childhood on the farm and took her place in the field planting corn, helping with the cultivation of the cotton and tobacco, which were important crops in that section. Another task was the making of maple sugar. She recalls the tapping of the trees. Holes were bored and spiles inserted to conduct the sap from the tree to the container in which it dripped. When a sufficient quantity was obtained it then boiled in large iron kettles over a fire out of doors.

In recalling the customs of those days, she also remembers the parching of the coffee. It was purchased green and had to be parched before being used.

Mrs. Terrell, not only worked in the field, but assisted with such house hold duties as young women of those days had to perform, including the spinning of the cotton and wool into thread and then weaving the cloth and making it into garments.

On March 1, 1885, she was united in marriage to Joseph E. Terrell, a Civil War Veteran, the wedding taking place at the home of her mother. Mr. Terrill was a native of Kentucky and his occupation was farming.

In September 1891 the family moved to Cave-in-Rock. Mrs. Terrell remembers many who were living here then and the homes in which they occupied. Some of the leading stores were the Pelhank Store of which the late John Tyre was manager, and the one owned and operated by a Mr. Greenleaf. What is now the implement store was owned by Joseph Mason. He was also the undertaker. Dr. Green and Dr. Hill were the leading physicians. Other citizens she recalls were Mr. and Mrs. James Ledbetter and sons, Chap Frayser, Henry Frayser, Jim Carr and Mitch Pritchard.

After residing in Cave-in-Rock for two years, the family moved out to a farm five miles east of Cave-in-Rock in what is called "The Bend of the River." They remained there for several years, but in 1913 purchased the farm which is still her home.

Mrs. Terrell has four living children. They are Mack and Commadore Walker, Hugh Terrell and Mrs. Edna Durham. A daughter, Josephine Terrell died in infancy. Another daughter Mrs. Pink Lewis, died in 1921. On August 13, 1929, she was bereaved of her husband, who had been almost helpless invalid for then years. On November 21, 1934, she lost a son, George Terrell, who was in the service of the Army during the World War. She also has 25 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. Her family are all residents of Hardin County. Her grandson, Clarence Calvert, 18 years old, lives with her at the old home place, and her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Audrey Terrell is her almost constant companion.

Mrs. Terrell is a member of the Christian at Antioch church and attends whenever her health permits. She is industrious and takes a great interest in the raising of chickens and geese. She also enjoys the planting and cultivation of that familiar crop of her childhood, Cotton, and is an unusual crop for this county. Last year she raised two twenty-four pound bags full of cotton, picked out the seeds and used it to fill quilts.

Her special hobby is piecing quilts. In her own words she has pieced "enough quilts to fence Hardin County and cover it over." She takes a great interest in finding new and lovely patterns and has one hundred and ten beautiful quilts in her possession. She has made many quilts for others — her handiwork being distributed over various parts of the United States. For Mrs. W. H. Herrin she has made 45. Quilts of her making are owned by ladies in St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, and Port Washington. Her nimble fingers are often busy with other forms of needle work as well.

She was seriously ill for a while during spring just past, but has recovered and, for one of her age, her health is good. She is happy and cheerful and often comes to town to visit with many friends who gladly welcome her coming.

Note: The Hardin County Independent ran the following obituary for Mrs. Terrell on December 10, 1936.

Mrs. Deliah Terrell, widow of the late Joseph Terrell, a Civil War Veteran, passed way at her home in the Bend of the River near Cave-in-Rock at 10:00 a.m.

She had not been in her usual health for the past month but her death which came unexpectedly was due to a heart attack. Mrs. Terrell was well known for her skill in making quilts and in spite of her age and infirmities she continued at this work until very recently. She was a member of the Christian church at Antioch. She is survived by three sons-Mack and Commodore Walker and Hugh Terrell and by one daugahter, Mrs. Edna Durham. There are 25 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren. There are no living brothers or sisters.

Thanks to Wanda H. Reed for contributing this article to the Hardin County ILGenWeb site.

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