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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
The Waterville Times

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 742-745 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Contents | Portraits | Illustrations | Maps

Portrait of Orrin Terry

Portrait: Orrin Terry

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It is now nearly seventy years since the Waterville Times was founded by James A. Zander McKibben and C. B. Wilkinson — in 1857. During these two generations it has served the people of this community well and has enjoyed the prosperity due a journal that strives faithfully to present to its subscribers the news of the day. In this connection it is interesting to learn that there is a file of the paper in the offices from the first issue of 1857 to date, with the exception of two volumes. The issues of the Civil war period and the troubled reconstruction days would provide interesting material for the student of history and social customs, who would find that their pages reflected much the same spirit that was evidenced during the recent World war, although methods might differ radically from those employed by the armies and war workers of the present generation. For a paper that has had so long a history as the Times, there has been strikingly little change in its management. When the paper was started its founders took over the Waterville Advocate, which was then being published by the Rev. Mr. Hathaway. It had been founded in 1851. In 1887 W. S. Hawkins succeeded to the management of the paper and continued to edit and publish it until 1912, when it was purchased by the present owner, Orrin Terry. The Times is a weekly publication with a circulation of about a thousand, and is independent in policy. It exchanges with all the leading newspapers of the country and ranks high in the list of successful country papers in New York state.

The printing office of the Waterville Times, located in the Times building on Main street, Waterville, is the largest in Oneida county. It is fully equipped for doing newspaper work and for turning out commercial printing on a large scale, having two linotype machines, three Babcock automatic feed cylinder presses and the other modern appliances of a well organized printing office. In addition to the Times, the plant has been printing the Dairymen's League News for the past eight years. This started as a monthly paper, later became a semi-monthly publication and is now issued weekly. As its circulation amounts to seventy-five thousand, the printing of one of its issues alone is a considerable job. Much of the commercial printing of this vicinity is done in the Times office, which has made for itself an enviable reputation for reliability and high grade work. At present the force consists of thirty-five people.

Orrin Terry, editor and publisher of the Waterville Times, and the man deserving of the credit for its success in recent years, was born three miles north of Waterville, in the town of Marshall, March 23, 1887. His parents were Marinus and Marion (Phillips) Terry, the former a native of this part of New York and the latter of Rhode Island, coming to New York as a young woman in 1885. Marinus Terry was a hop-grower on a large scale for many years. In 1896 he moved into Waterville, where he became very prominent in civic affairs. He built the first electric light plant in the village in 1900, which supplied power for lighting the streets and private residences and conducted the plant until his death in 1910. This utility was managed by his sons, Orrin and R. Harvey Terry, until 1916, when they disposed of their interests in order to devote their attention to other matters. Mrs. Terry is still living and makes her home in Waterville. The four sons born to Mr. and Mrs. Terry are: Orrin; Phillip D., a captain in the United States army; R. Harvey of Waterville, who is associated with the Underwriters' Bureau of New England; and Stuart S. of California.

Orrin Terry, the future newspaper man, was educated in the schools of Waterville, after which he became associated with his father in the electric light business and was more or less connected with the Waterville plant until he sold out in 1916. Meanwhile he had some experience in the automobile business, establishing agencies in a district that had Pittsburgh as its headquarters. In 1912 he came back to Waterville and purchased the Times. He was then one of the youngest editors in the state, being only twenty-five years old. The fact that Mr. Terry has made a success as a printer and journalist without any previous experience in a printing establishment or a training in the trade, speaks volumes for his native ability and his power of adapting himself to new surroundings. Most editors and publishers begin either as printers in the shop or as reporters and students of journalism, working their way up from the ranks. Perhaps the fact that he had no schooling in the traditions of the profession enabled Mr. Terry to bring to his work a certain freshness of viewpoint and originality that distinguished his paper from the stereotyped country newspaper. His ability as a business man and executive accounts for the extraordinary success of the Times as a commercial printing establishment.

Mr. Terry was married in Waterville, on the 10th of June, 1908, to Miss M. Isabelle Kennedy. Mrs. Terry belongs to the Every Saturday Night Club and is prominent in church work, her affiliations being with the Protestant Episcopal church, of which Mr. Terry is also a member. During the World war the local chapter of the American Red Cross Society numbered her among its most energetic and capable workers. Mr. and Mrs. Terry have two children: Roger and Donald.

While Mr. Terry is affiliated with the republican party he is sufficiently independent in his point of view to conduct his paper on a strictly non-partisan basis. He is a member of Sanger Lodge, No. 129, A. F. & A. M., of which he is past master; and is high priest of Warren Chapter, No. 22, R. A. M., of Waterville. His clubs are the Pickwick Club, the Fort Schuyler Club, and the Yahnundasis Golf Club of Utica. In the line of his profession he is identified with the Central New York Publishers Association, while in the commercial circles of Waterville he has been active as a member and is the present secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. Hunting and fishing are his favorite sports and he looks forward to the open season every year for a few days of good shooting and fishing at least.

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