Terry, David Smith

Terry, David Smith

(1823–89) judge; born in Todd County, Ky. He served with the Texas Rangers in the Mexican War and then settled in Stockton, Calif., where he read and practiced law. He was elected associate justice (1855) and chief justice (1857) of the California Supreme Court. Often rash and violent, he killed Senator David Broderick in a duel but was acquitted of murder (1859). He commanded a Confederate regiment and brigade in Texas; with the end of the Civil War, he went to Mexico but he returned to practice law in Stockton, Calif. (1869–89). He was shot and killed by a bodyguard assigned to protect a California judge whom Terry had threatened after a particularly complicated divorce case (in which Terry had married the woman involved).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.