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Teter Rock


In 1798, Jacob Teter inherited land in Randolph County West Virginia from his father, George Teter Jr. He would later name the village, Teter and it still exists today. His son, James would spend his life in the Tygart Valley around Teter and marry Barbara Reger, one of the original founding families in the area. They would have several children, among them John Teter, born in Teter in 1825. He would marry and have several Teter children, including James Wesley Teter born in Teter in Dec. 1849. James married Matilda McCoy and around the 1880s, they decided to head out west to Kansas. At first, they settled on a small plot of land to raise cattle. In time, James Teter would acquire more land in the area.

In the 1920s, oil was discovered on his land and a boom took place. A small village grew up near the Teter Oil Fields called Teterville. While the town still exists today, it is a ghost town, with remnants of the oil business still remaining. Additionally, James Teter would create a rock monument as a guidepost for homesteaders searching for the Cottonwood River. Teter Rock was at that time just a pile of local rocks. In the 1920s, to satisfy the construction needs of Teterville, the rocks were used to build several buildings. As these rocks had become a local landmark, the Greenwood County Historical Society would erect another more distinctive monument in the 1950s. This is the present day Teter Rock.

Teter Rock

Greenwood County Kansas Historical Society:" .. An upended limestone monolith juts unexpectedly up into the endless blue sky of the Flint Hills. Located at the crest of the highest hill in the area, it's visible for miles in all directions. The view from the area of the rock is great! The stone which serves as Teter Rock today, however, is not the original. It was erected in the 1950s to replace the earlier one which had been used as building materials in the nearby oil-boom town of Teterville.

The original Teter Rock Monument was constructed by James Teter sometime in the late 1870s or 1880s as a guide for pioneers searching for the Cottonwood River, which drains all the land to the west of the marker. It seems that homesteaders passing through the area enroute to their claims on the Cottonwood often became lost in the rolling hills of the area. (This still happens to greenhorn tenderfoots--like the Flatlanders!) James Teter solved the problem with a simple pile of rocks which lasted until the 1920s. Today's Teter Rock was erected as a memorial to him by his descendants.

Just to the north of Teter Rock, the restless prairie wind blows through the scattered remains of a once bustling community, Teterville. Built during the oil boom of the 1920s,it once had a population of nearly 1000 with 2 General Stores, a Post Office, and an Elementary School. Typical of these oil boom towns, it contained mainly "shot-gun" houses which in many cases sprang up over night. In this case, "over-night" is not just a figure of speech. Lumber was sometimes stolen from nearby oil derricks, and this made carpentry by cover of darkness a necessity. Indoor plumbing was generally nonexistent and drinkable water had to be hauled in from Madison. Such primitive conditions were endured by the workers and their families in exchange for good paying jobs in the oil fields. The Flint Hills had never before, and have never since witness such a rapid influx of both people and wealth.


James Murle Teter, Jr. was responsible for working with an oil company to erect the current, Teter Rock. Teter Rock is now owned by Hendrickson Teter Properties, LLC (Eric P. Hendrickson and Ross T. Hendrickson), grandsons of James Murle Teter, Jr. Both Ross and Eric welcome visitors from across the state and beyond to visit Teter Rock and continue the family legacy of appreciating God's gift of the Flint Hills.