Dr. George Austin McHenry, who homesteaded in the area of South Stone County that now bears his name beginning in 1889, joined the United States Volunteers in 1898, as a contract surgeon with the rank of Captain. He served in the Spanish American War in Cuba, the Philippine insurrection, and in China. During his time in Cuba, Dr. McHenry directed the yellow fever hospital there. Since he was immune to the disease, he was able to help many others.
While serving in the Spanish American War, McHenry developed a close relationship with Leonard Wood, who later became Chief of Staff of the United States Army and was tasked with establishing military training sites throughout the United States. Because of this relationship, Dr. McHenry was instrumental in proposing the establishment of one of these training sites to be located south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, because of the mild climate, available rail facilities, and geography. The site was selected, and in 1917 it became Camp Shelby, the largest state owned military training facility in the United States.
Bond-Harvinson Memorial Park, located on McGregor Road in Wiggins, is a peaceful place of a number of settlers of the area. Most lived when the area now known as Stone County was a part of first Jackson County and then Harrison County. Col. John Bond was a Revolutionary War hero. His sons, Lt. Col. John Bond, Jr. and Lt William Bond, served in the Mississippi Militia during the War of 1812. John Bond, Jr. represented the area in the Mississippi Legislature at one point and settled in the McHenry area (and is buried in Saucier). The Bonds, like the McHenrys, Batsons, Prices, Dales, and many others lives are tied together as the first families of this area.
It is noted in several records reviewed that the Cenotaph of Lt. William Bond that is in the Memorial Park contains a number of errors regarding his children. Other records reviewed show the same picture for John Bond Sr. and John Bond Jr. Regardless both were key to the development of the area.
Jesse Boyce Holleman (February 26, 1924 – November 21, 2003) was an American war veteran, attorney, politician, attorney, actor, and master story teller.
Boyce Holleman was born in Fruitland Park, MS, to a family that made their living in timber and construction. As a Naval Aviator in World War II, he was shot down while making a bomb run during the invasion of Saipan and spent 14 months recovering from severe injuries. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was awarded the Purple Heart.
Among those Stone County natives part of “The Greatest Generation” is Gordon S. McHenry. Better known for his medical practice for many many years, SGT McHenry was part a member of the Military Police in the Occupation Forces in Japan in 1946.
Floyd and Hazel McHenry had six children. All were involved in WWII in some way. In the article included in this post, Gordon is the “high school student at the Junior college (Perk)”. Floyd died in 1941 and did not see the involvement of his children in the war effort.
Visit the Bank of Wiggins to see The Old Firehouse Museum’s first traveling exhibit, Stone County’s Heroes. The exhibit includes a wall of photos of some 350 men and women from our area who served in the military in WWII. It is incomplete. We are still looking for photos of others who served.
Please take time to visit the exhibit… it is quite moving and inspiring. During WW II, brothers were sent overseas to fight. Some families had 3 or 4 brothers in the service. The Brooks family had 7 brothers in the war. What sacrifices the mothers and fathers made by giving up their sons and daughters to fight for the freedom of all.
If you have photos of Stone County heroes from any branch of service and from any time period, please email those to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know our own Dr. Needham Jones belonged to the famous Tuskegee Airmen? While a student at Alcorn A&M College, Jones was called up in the draft just six weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He was allowed to complete the spring semester as a member of the reserves and reported to the Air Corps at Camp Shelby, Mississippi on September 7, 1942. After eight days of testing, he was sent with the 30 highest scoring to Maxwell Air Force Base in Tuskegee, Alabama, and became a member of the 99th Pursuit Squadron. At discharge he had the rank of Corporal.
Dr. Jones spent many years in education in Stone County serving as Principal at Locker High School and then as Assistant Principal at Stone High. Through Dr. Jones efforts, many young people stayed in school to complete their high school education.
Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS), on March 1, 2013, hosted a ceremony officially recognizing Tuskegee Airman and current Hattiesburg resident, Corporal Needham Jones, Sr., at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg.