From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Terry, Woodford H.

(born: 1871  -  died: 1960) Woodford H. Terry was a plumber and carpenter who was a furniture maker for a few years in Bowling Green, KY. In Clarksville, TN, he was the chief builder at The American Tobacco Company plant. In 1909, Terry moved to Los Angeles, CA and did general contracting work. There was a new builders law enacted in California in 1912, and that year Terry passed the General Builders License exam. He constructed a number of buildings in California, including the Vernon Avenue A. M. E. Church in Pasadena, CA, and the Trinity Baptist Church in Southern California. Woodford H. Terry was the son of Henry and Rachael Eggner Terry. He was born in Birmingham, KY, a town that was intentionally removed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) during the development of Kentucky Lake in the 1940s. Long before the town disappeared, Woodford H. Terry's family moved to Clarksville, TN, where Woodford attended the city schools. He earned his master's certificate in plumbing in 1894 via a correspondence course at Smith Trade School located in Nashville, TN. He was also an apprentice carpenter with American Tobacco Company in Clarksville, TN.

In 1908, Terry vacationed in California and liked the area so much that he moved there the following year. In 1910, he married Jessie Sayers and the couple had three children. [Jessie Sayers Terry was the first African American member of the City Housing Commission in Los Angeles, CA.] In addition to his work as a plumber and carpenter in California, Woodford H. Terry was also the director and treasurer of the Unity Finance Corporation. He died in Los Angeles on December 27, 1960 [source: California Death Index]. For more see Woodford H. Terry on p.13 in Negro Who's Who in California, 1948 edition; and Two Case Studies of African American Architect's Careers in Los Angeles, 1890-1945: Paul R. Williams, FAIA and James H. Garrott, AIA by W. H. Henderson.

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“Terry, Woodford H.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 18, 2024,

Last modified: 2018-08-21 19:25:34