Joseph Preston Terry House
Joseph Preston Terry House, south elevation, 2020
Joseph Preston Terry House, south elevation, 2020
Backstory and Context
Joseph Preston Terry (also known as Preston Terry) was born in Wayne County, New York, in 1824 and came to Oakland County, Michigan with his parents, Nathan and Belinda Preston Terry, in approximately 1835. After stopping briefly in Commerce Township, Nathan Terry purchased land in Pontiac Township in November 1837. This house was built by Joseph Preston Terry as the family residence on this Pontiac Township farm. The house is estimated to have been built about 1840.
Lillian Drake Avery's An Account of Oakland County says this of Joseph Preston Terry's background:
Joseph P. Terry was reared and educated in the old Empire state and was a young man when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Oakland county, Michigan. He eventually came into possession of the old home farm, and there he continued his productive activities as one of the substantial agriculturists and stock growers of Pontiac township during the remainder of his life; he having been one of the venerable and honored pioneer citizens of Oakland county at the time of his death, February 21, 1905, and his wife having passed away January 17, 1880.
Of Terry's son and heir, Josiah P. Terry, Avery's history says this:
At the age of eighteen years he [Josiah P. Terry] began independent farm operations on a tract of forty acres that he had inherited from his mother at the time of her death, about three years previously. Upon the death of his father, in 1905, he inherited the fine old homestead, and this valuable property remained in his possession until 1916. The substantial two-story stone house on this place was erected by his father [Joseph Preston Terry] many years ago, when this section of Michigan was in process of reclamation from the forest wilds, and the cobblestones from which the building was constructed were collected on the farm itself. This building now stands as one of the interesting landmarks of the county. Mr. Terry made numerous improvements on the old home place, including the erection of one of the largest and best cattle barns in Pontiac township, and he continued as one of the successful agriculturists and dairy farmers of his native county until 1916, when he retired and removed to Pontiac, where he and his wife have an attractive home and are enjoying the rewards of former years of earnest endeavor.
Joseph Preston Terry died in his Pontiac Township home in 1905. His death notice in the Rochester Era read as follows: "Another of Oakland county's pioneers died at his home at Five Points last Tuesday, Feb. 21, aged 84 years. Mr. Terry was considered one of Oakland county's wealthiest men. He leaves one son, Jo, of West Avon."
Josiah Terry, Joseph's son, farmed his father's land until 1916, when he sold it and moved to Pontiac, according to the county history quoted above. After the Terry house passed out of family ownership, the house was subdivided into apartments. It was used for a time during the 1970s as a Lutheran Deaconess residence. Paul and Heather Crandall purchased the property in 1994 as a rental investment, but decided to convert it to a luxury bed-and-breakfast called Cobblestone Manor. They operated the inn until 2018, when they sold the property and it was leased to Oakland University for use as an honors college student residence.
John Lathrop to Nathan Terry, 9 November 1837, one half of the southwest quarter and the west half of the northwest quarter of section 13, Pontiac Township, containing 120 acres, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 14, p.590.
James Day to Nathan G. Terry, 29 May 1841, one half of the southwest quarter and one half of the west half of the northwest quarter of section 13, Pontiac Township, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 20, p. 348.
Shepard, Linda. "Honor Students to Live in History," Rochester Post, August 7, 2018.
"Historic Cobblestone Manor Transforming Into Living/Learning Community," Oakland University News, July 19, 2018.
Colborn, Marge. "To the Manor Born," Detroit Free Press, July 25, 1998, p.18-19D.
"Joseph Preston Terry," in Biographical Publishing Company. Biographical Record: This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Oakland County, Michigan ... Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company, 1903, pp.70-72.
"Josiah P. Terry," in Avery, Lillian Drake, ed. An Account of Oakland County. Dayton, OH: National Historical Association, 1925, pp.411-412.
"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MF82-PDL : 4 April 2020), Bestin [i.e. Preston] Terry in household of Nathan Terry, Pontiac, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing family 1354, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
"United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHCC-21K : 19 March 2020), Joseph P Terry, 1870.
"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW37-SFB : 26 August 2017), Preston Terry, Pontiac, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district ED 263, sheet 287A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,254,599.
"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MS9L-9RC : accessed 1 July 2020), J. Peesle [i.e. J. Preston] Terry, Pontiac township, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103, sheet 5A, family 101, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,735.
"Preston Terry [death notice]," Rochester Era, February 24, 1905, p.4.
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod to Joanne E. Carr and Jerry D. Carr, recorded 9 June 1994, lot 66, Supervisor's Plat #18 of Pontiac Township, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 14742, p.743.