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John R. Tercy, present prohate judge of Ellsworth County, possesses in a distinguishing degree that fine balance of qualities and faculties which enables a probate judge to handle the many delicate problems of administration in a manner that means the approximation of justice to them all. Judge Tercy is not so much a lawyer as a man of affairs. He had had a long and active experience and for many years was a prominent minister of the Presbyterian Church both in Kansas and other weetern states.
Judge Tercy was born at Indianapolis, Indiana, September 19, 1858, and is of English ancestry. His grandfather, George Tercy, was born at Leeds, England, in 1762 and died there in 1860, lacking only two years of reaching the century mark. He was a coal miner, owner and operator in England. John Tercy, father of Judge Tercy, was born at Leeds, England, in 1797, grew up in that city and in 1817 immigrated to the United States. He was then a boy of twenty years and in this country he finished his apprenticeship as a machinist. From there he removed to Garrard County, Kentucky, where, understanding the manufacture of woolen cloth, he conducted a woolen factory. In 1849 he removed to Indianapolis, bought a woolen factory, conducted it and sold the property about 1860, after which he lived retired until his death in 1862. He was a democrat and while living in Indianapolis served as a member of the school board. He was a Universalist in religious belief and one of the chief interests of his life outside of home and business was the Masonic fraternity. In Garrard County, Kentucky, he married Parmelia Tracy, who was born in that county in 1819. She died at Indianapolis in 1891. There were just two children, Elizabeth and John R. Elizabeth, who is unmarried and lives at Ellsworth, Kansas, is a stenographer and also for some years was a private teacher in Central Ameriea.
Judge Tercy was four years of age when his father died. He grew up near Indianapolis, attended the local schools there, and in 1882 graduated with the A. B. degree from Hanover College in Indiana. While in college he took an active part in the Philcos Literary Society.
From college he entered the Theological Seminary at Danville, Kentucky, pursued the course two years, after which there was an intermission in his studies for two years. He resumed them in the Union Seminary at New York City, where after a full four years course he graduated in 1890 and was ordained a Presbyterian minister.
As a minister of the gospel he preached in Lancaster, Kentucky, four years, did two years of missionary work among the mountain regions of Kentucky, and in 1896 came out to Ellsworth, Kansas, where he was the beloved pastor of the local Presbyterian Church for seven years. In 1903 he was sent upon an important mission to the Indian Territory, and as general missionary he organized new churches for three years. His last pastoral work was done at Kanapolis, Kansas, where he had charge of the Presbyterian Church from 1906 until 1913.
For the past five years Judge Tercy had been identified with the duties and cares of public office. He was elected county treasurer of Ellsworth County in 1912, serving during the years 1913-14-15, and resigned the office in 1916 to become candidate on the democratic ticket for probate judge. He was elected and is now giving all his time to the duties of his office.
Among other work in behalf of the Presbyterian Church Judge Tercy had served on the board of examination and the missionary board. He is past master of Ellsworth Lodge No. 146, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and is affiliated with Danville Chapter No. 21, Royal Arch Masons, and Ryan Commandery No. 17, Knights Templar, in Kentucky, also Danville Council, Royal and Select Masters. He is past noble grand of Eillsworth Lodge No. 109 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is past chancellor commander of Lancaster Lodge of Knights of Pythias, and belongs to Ellsworth Chapter No. 144, Order of Eastern Star, and Charity Rebekah Lodge No. 39 at Ellsworth.
Judge Tercy had handled his private business affairs well, and among other property owned two dwelling houses in Ellsworth, one of them his own home. Judge Tercy married in 1907, at Kanapolis, Kansas, Miss Laura C. Andrews, daughter of Henry and Susan (Shock) Andrews. Her father is a retired farmer from Ellsworth, Kansas, and a pioneer in that county, and is now living at Long Beach, California. Her mother died at the home near Ellsworth in 1908. Judge and Mrs. Tercy have five children: George Andrews, born April 29, 1908; Alpha Laura, born October 3, 1909; John Henry, who died at the age of one month and two days; Paul Martin, born June 2, 1912; and Mary Elizabeth; born February 19, 1916.