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 Murray County Museum  

Huse B. Terry

Charles Henry Shriner was born Feb 11, 1867, in Indiana. His parents were J. B. and Susannah Shriner. J. B. was born in Maryland and Susannah in Pennsylvania.

Murray County's First Man to Die in World War II

Huse B. Terry, a sailor, was the first Murray County man killed in World War II. He died, along with some 120 fellow American sailors, when a Japanese Navy task force sank their ship, USS Pillsbury , in the South Java Sea on March 1, 1942. There were no survivors.

Remarkably, Huse's brother, Billy, had enlisted in the Navy and the two were serving aboard the same vessel, USS Portland . While Billy was home on furlough, the Navy unexpectedly transferred Huse to duty on Pillsbury . Otherwise Billy probably would have been aboard the doomed vessel and died with Huse. The Terry family had four sons serving in the Navy during World War II.

The following report was transcribed from the March 26, 1942, issue of The Chatsworth Times:

H. B. Terry Is County's First War Casualty.

Navy Department Reports Murray Youth Missing.

H. B. Terry, son of Mr. and Mrs. Grover Terry, of Eton, has been reported by the Navy Department as missing and thus became Murray County's first war casualty.

The Terrys received news that their son, a machinist on the cruiser Pillsbury, was missing in a telegram from the Navy Department Friday.

The telegram asked that the parents not reveal the name of the boat their son was on as it might give information to the enemy. However, the Navy department publicly announced Tuesday that the cruiser Pillsbury had been lost and that all members of the crew were missiong, thus ending the need for further secrecy.

The young man, a native of this county, was about 26 years old. His brother, Billy, also with the Navy, is on duty in the Pacific.

Mr. and Mrs. Terry have one daughter, Hazel, and three other sons, R. L., Julian, and G.C., all of whom are at home.

The flag on the court house lawn was at half-mast last Friday as a gesture of respect to H. B. Terry.

The USS Pillsbury was a U. S. Navy destroyer of the Clemson Class, built 1919-1920, By William Cramp and Sons, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was commissioned December 15, 1920, with Lt. H. W. Barnes in command.

In 1922 Pillsbury was deployed to the Far East where she served with the Asiatic Fleet. In the fall of 1941, Pillsbury collided with Peary , a sister ship in the same squadron. Both were taken to Cavite Navy Yard for repairs. Workmen concentrated their efforts on Pillsbury because she was less-damaged.

On December 10th, just three days after the surprise attack upon Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers attacked, the Cavite Navy Yard, virtually destroying it. Miraculously Pillsbury was undamaged in that attack. After her crew helped fight fires on other vessels and transfer their wounded to a nearby hospital ashore, the Navy ordered most ships still seaworthy to sail south to safety. Pillsbury was excluded from the sail-to-safety order.

She was ordered to sail to Balikpapan where she met up with other ships of the United States, Australia, and the Netherlands responsible for Allie reconnaissance sorties and anti-submarine patrols.

When the Japanese commenced their landing on Bali, Pillsbury opened fire with her main battery and 50 calibre machine guns upon a Japanese ship. The enemy ship, which was also under fire from other American vessels, changed direction. Damage from three hits could then be seen: one had struck the bridge, another midship, and one on the fantail. The Japanese destroyer then ceased firing as the ship erupted in flames.

Sadly in need of repairs and virtually without ammunition, Pillsbury and Parrott were sent to Tjilatjap.

Japanese ships were operating south of Java, attempting to prevent the escape of Allied ships from that area. The enemy force consisted of an aircraft carrier, four battleships, five cruisers, and several destroyers. Between March 1 and March 4, 1942, they sank three American vessels, Pillsbury , Asheville , and Edsall . No logs or battle reports exist detailing these actions.

All three of the American ships were sunk approximately 200 miles east of Christmas Island. The Japanese quickly departed the scene, picking up no survivors. None of the Americans survived the sinkings.

American military records indicate that Pillsbury normally carried a complement of 122 men and that all aboard were lost on March 1, 1942, when she sank.

Huse Terry's Early Years

The Terry family lived on a farm about 4 miles from Eton. They farmed extensive acreage, raising cotton, corn, wheat, and lespedeza hay. They also grew much of the food they consumed throughout each year, both animals and vegetable.

The whole family worked in the fields as was the custom of those years. School operated on schedules to coincide with the farming cycle, ending the school year around May 1 so the boys could plow and plant the fields. Once the crops were "laid by," school resumed for about 8 weeks in July and August. Schools took a fall break in September and October for "cotton picking."

G. C. says that the Terry brothers liked to ride horses. He remembers an incident when they were riding and H. B. noticed three of the neighbor girls who were enjoying the day in their front yard. H. B. led his brothers into the yard, which had some concrete steps to make it easier to walk in the steep yard. G. C. says that H. B. apparently hoped to impress the girls with his riding skills when he rode his horse up the steps, turned, and came back down. The girls laughed and applauded his showmanship.

G. C. recalls that the three younger boys tended to do things together. They liked to explore the fields and woods, often in search of berries, muscadines, and hickory nuts.

Holly Creek ran through the Terry property, providing a convenient place for the men and boys from the community to swim and frolic, especially on Sunday afternoons. G. C. said such get-togethers happened frequently in summer.

The county had not yet started to provide school bus service for students so the Terry children usually walked to school, along with neighbor kids from the Isenhour and Childers families. Marvin Childers remembers that when it rained, one of the creeks always rose too high for them to cross on foot. One of the dads would hitch a horse to a wagon and take the kids to school, then pick them up at the end of the day.

Huse's sister, Hazel, recalls that electricity had not yet come to where they lived so they used kerosene lamps at night. The family used a horse-drawn wagon to go shopping, sometimes in Eton, sometimes in Chatsworth. Trips to Dalton were very infrequent. She remembers that the family ordered most of their school clothes from the Sear-Roebuck Catalogs.

G. C. remembers that the family bought a new Ford in 1929. He said that his dad routinely drove it to Chatsworth to shop for groceries at Clyde Greeson's store.

One of Hazel's clearest impressions of her brother is that he always seemed to be reading a book. She called him "an avid reader."

G. C. said that the boys often walked over to a filling station in Eton on Saturday night, a place where guys from the surrounding area met to socialize. Sometimes a few of the men and boys would bring musical instruments and play music. He said that H. B. could sing "pretty good" and that he probably was the best yodeler around at that time. He thinks that H. B. learned some of the songs from listening to them being played on their wind-up Victrola.

Hazel said that the family observed Christmas by putting up and decorating a red cedar tree. They did not hang stockings. Santa always brought presents and placed them beneath the tree while the children slept.

During those years Murray County boys typically were expected to become farmers and the girls would become housewives and mothers. The new Murray County High School placed heavy emphasis on these expectations by teaching agricultural courses and home economics classes from the day the school opened its doors until the 1960s.

Lives of families revolved around family, home, church and school. The great depression had taken hold and there was little or no money to spend on frivolous items. When a few extra cents could be spared, youngsters would enjoy a soft-drink and snack at a local store. Favorite drinks seemed to be R. C. Cola and Pepsi, as these bottles were about twice the size of other drinks, such as Coke, NuGrape, Orange Crush, and Nehi. The snacks available for a nickel each usually included a box of Cracker-Jacks (with a prize), a bag of peanuts, a pack of crackers with peanut butter or cheese, a moon-pie, or any one of numerous candy bars.

Most of the sweets in those days were homemade: baked apples, gingerbread, cobblers, cakes, cookies, and pies. In winter families often enjoyed making snow-cream. Summer treats included home-grown watermelons and cantaloupes, as well as ice-cream made in a hand-cranked freezer.

Murray County closed the high schools then in use (Chatsworth High, Eton High, and Lucy Hill High) at the end of school year 1933-1934 and opened the newly built Murray County High School near Chatsworth to start the new school year, 1934-35.

This was a new and very different experience, students from the entire county attending the same high school. Students suddenly were in daily contact with others from places within the county that they never knew existed.

Huse had completed his junior year at Eton High School and entered MCHS as a senior. His buddy, Marvin Childers, was one year behind him, transferring in as a junior. Childers recalls that H.B., as he was known in school, was a good athlete, and an excellent basketball player.

Mack Jackson, who attended school in Eton at the same time, said that their days of walking to school ended in 1934. The county started school bus service that would pick up all the students who were to attend grammar school at Eton and those traveling on to the new Murray County High School. A bus driver might pick up students from several areas, making multiple trips to Eton, where every student got off the bus. When all of the pick-ups were finished, the students destined for the new high school reboarded the bus and were driven to Chatsworth. Mack was very impressed that the school buses actually were new school buses, rather than home-made contraptions built on truck chassis. He found that bright yellow bus a welcome relief from his days of walking to school, whatever the weather.

H. B. Terry graduated in 1935, a member of MCHS's first graduating class.

What would later be called the great depression had made jobs even more difficult to find in Murray County. H. B.'s brother, G. C., recalls that H. B. had taken the only work he could find, stacking lumber at a nearby mill for less than a dollar a day. Discouraged by his circumstances, H. B. decided to enlist in the Navy just over a year after he graduated.

G. C. remembers that H. B. first went to Norfolk for his basic training. He came home on leave, traveling by train. There were then so few cars that hitch-hiking meant having to do a lot of hiking.

After H. B. was assigned to USS Portland , brother Billy, soon after he turned 16, lied about his age and enlisted in the Navy, with the understanding that he would be assigned to the same ship as H. B. The two served together aboard the Portland for a time, once even taking leave to return to Murray together.

Remembering just how tough times were for their family, G. C. said that H. B. and Billy both sent money from their Navy pay to their mother every month. He also said that, H. B. bought a new 1938 black Chevy for $750 cash in Dalton. This gave him a car to use when he was home on leave and provided a second vehicle for the family to use.

G. C. said that he thinks that H. B. was most impressed with the reception American sailors got when he had shore-leave in Australia in 1939. Of course the Australians were painfully aware of the worsening relations between Japan and China and hoped that the Americans would help protect Australia if things came to that.

The Terry Family Background

The 1920 Census listed Huse's immediate family as: Grover Terry, age 34; Addie Terry, age 27, R. L. Terry, age 10; Julian Terry, age 8; and H. B. Terry, age 3. They lived in the McDonald District. The Census indicated that all family members had been born in Georgia.

The 1930 Census included a bit more about the family. It indicated that the father was Grover C. Terry, and the mother was Sarah A. Terry. This census also listed two new off-spring: Billie P. Terry, age 9, and G. C. Terry, age 3.

Hazel Terry was born after 1930 so her name does not appear on that Census. She helped to fill in some blanks concerning family names. She said that their father's full name was Grover Cleveland Terry and the mother's was Sarah Addie (Pendley) Terry. R. L. was Robert Lee. Julian had no middle name. H. B. was Huse B. Terry. Billie P. actually was a male, so Billy, but he had no middle name or initial. G. C. was Grover Cleveland Terry, named for his father. Hazel had only the one name.

Hazel said that Huse probably was named for his Dad's older brother. G. C. confirmed this and added that the uncle had been Dr. Huse Terry who lived in Acworth, Georgia.

H. B.'s sister, Hazel, says that, because she was so much younger than him, she does not remember him well. She does recall the family attending services at the Methodist church at Hasslers Mill. She said that H. B.'s death was the most devastating event ever in her family's history. She said that the family never talked about H. B.'s death and that her three brothers who had also served in the Navy were reluctant to discuss anything about their military service. Hazel sadly recalled that her mother was so distraught over Huse's death that she destroyed all of her pictures of him.

H. B.'s paternal grandfather was Cyrus Lewis Terry (1846-1925). He married Emily Jones Bates (1852-1931). She was daughter of Rice Ross Bates, whose father was General John Bates.

Hazel also provided interesting information about her mother's parents. They were William and Harriet Pendley, who moved from Jasper, in Pickens County, Georgia, to Spring Place, Georgia in 1895. The couple had 13 children, including one set of twins. Ten lived to become adults. Two sons eventually moved to Imperial County, California, where they died.

William and Harriet owned a cotton gin, a grist mill, and extensive farmland. Pendley invented several pieces of farm equipment. He also created several special tools needed in the talc industry. Perhaps his most widely used invention was the special scissors he created in the early 1930s to be used by women to clip chenille bedspreads.

Every person familiar with the history of Chatsworth must recall that virtually all of the bricks used to build the town were made by the Pendley's facility, officially named the Chatsworth Brick Company.

One nearly forgotten incident occurred at that facility in 1920. The following brief item was transcribed from The Atlanta Constitution dated October 9, 1920:

Brick Kiln Collapses at Chatworth, Ga.,
Killing Local Baptist Minister and Maiming Four Others.

Chattsworth, Ga., October 8. The Rev. H. C. Shepherd, 35, pastor of the local Baptist church and who was working as a laborer in a brick kiln of the Chattsworth Brick company, was killed this afternoon when a kiln collapsed. Four other workmen received injuries which it is believed will prove fatal, and eight others received painful injuries.

Even though the Pendleys had operated their farm and earlier mills profitably, the brick manufacturing was a financial loser for the couple. Even so, their brick was used to build the Wright Hotel, Bates Department Store, and other businesses as well as private dwellings. Pendley is credited with building most of Chatsworth's early sidewalks.

William's father, Jesse C. Pendley, according to descendants, was one-quarter Indian. He and his family lived in Long Swamp Valley, north of present-day Lake Lanier.

Markers Honoring Dead Sailor

Huse B. Terry is honored by two burial markers. The one erected by the U.S. Navy at Fort William McKinley, at Manila, The Philippines, indicates that he had been a Machinist's Mate, Second Class and had been awarded the Purple Heart. Another, in Chatsworth Heights Cemetery, Murray County, Georgia, is inscribed "In memory of Huse B. Terry, Feb. 1916, March 1942. Lost at Sea." In adjacent graves are his father, Grover C. Terry (1885-1962), and his mother, Addie S. Terry (1890-1978).


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