William Terrell

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William Terrell (1778 – July 4, 1855) was as a United States Representative from Georgia.[1][2]


He was one of two children born to Joel and Lucy (Ragland) Terrell,[2][3] he was born in either Fairfax County[1] (or Louisa County),[2] Virginia, he moved with his parents to Wilkes County, Georgia about 1784.[2] He pursued classical studies. Terrell later graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine at Philadelphia and commenced practice in Sparta, Georgia.[1]

In 1818, Terrell married Eliza Rhodes, the daughter of William Rhodes. To this union was born a daughter, Lucy.[2]

He is a great-great-grandson of William and Susannah (Waters) Terrell;[2] as a result, he is related to both Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.[4]


He was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, representing Hancock County from 1810 to 1813, and held various local offices.[1]

Terrell was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the United States House of Representatives, serving in the 15th and 16th Congresses serving from March 4, 1817, until March 3, 1821, he declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1820, and resumed the practice of medicine.[1]

Later years[edit]

After he left Congress, Terrell devoted more of his time to the promotion of Agricultural Science than his medical practice. In 1853, he donated $20,000 to the University of Georgia to establish a Department of Agriculture.[2]

Terrell died in Sparta, Georgia, on 4 July 1855 and was interred in Sparta Cemetery.[1]


Terrell County, Georgia, created in 1856 from portions of Randolph and Lee Counties, was named for William Terrell. Dawson, the county seat, is named after William C. Dawson, his daughter's father-in-law.[2][5]

See also[edit]

Terrell (surname)


  1. ^ a b c d e f "William Terrell (1778-1855)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 22 Oct 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Dicken, Emma. Terrell Genealogy. San Antonio, Texas: The Naylor Company. pp. 121–123. He became a distinguished figure in Georgia, and was a most useful citizen.
  3. ^ Based on A History of the Terrell and Dabney Families, by John Dabney Terrell, Sr. (courtesy of Alabama State Archives), where it mentions the doctor of Hancock County, Ga., and his father, and their connections with John's family.
  4. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams. "Ancestry of Barack Obama". William Addams Reitwiesner Genealogical Services. Washington, DC. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Terrell County". Georgia.gov. Retrieved 22 Oct 2014. Terrell County was created from Randolph and Lee counties in 1856. It is named for Dr. William Terrell of Sparta who served in both the state legislature and the Congress. Dawson, the county seat, is named for another legislator and jurist, William C. Dawson.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas Telfair
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1817 – March 3, 1821
Succeeded by
Wiley Thompson