Rear Admiral Silas Wright Terry

Rear Admiral Silas Wright Terry

The Trigg County Historical Society has taken the next step in efforts to have a U.S. Naval warship named for Rear Admiral Silas Wright Terry, a Wallonia native who spent more than 40 years in the Navy and became one of the country’s most admired and respected Naval officers.

Historical Society President Bob Brame has posted a request to send letters of support for the effort on the historical society’s Facebook page, along with a sample letter and a list of officials who should receive the letters.

He has also sent emails to local officials requesting their help in the letter-writing campaign and asked both the Cadiz-Trigg County Bicentennial Committee and the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist Commission to post requests for help with the campaign on their Facebook pages.

“I started just talking with individual community leaders and then just started emailing packets to people, and have gotten good feedback from that,” Brame noted.

He is urging local officials as well as residents of the community to write letters asking that Terry be honored.

Brame said people can write multiple letters and can write both officially and from a personal point of view.

He has written letters on behalf of the historical society, for example, and personally as a private citizen.

Brame also noted that people should take the suggested letter and make it their own, not copying it word for word but adding their own personal touches.

He said the historical society wants to see a lot of Trigg residents write letters on behalf of the effort.

Brame noted that the Kentucky Historical Society and the Filson Historical Society in Louisville have already written letters of support for a ship in Terry’s honor.

So have Terry’s descendants in Italy.

The admiral’s daughter Eleanor married the Italian Naval attache in Washington, D.C., and her descendants have been writing letters to the U.S. Secretary of the Navy and members of the U.S. Congress in support of having a ship named in honor of their relative.

“They’ve already sent letters,” Brame noted of their efforts. “They are all sending letters in support of this.”

The endeavor to recognize Terry began with Dr. Ricky Dale Calhoun, a Trigg County resident and historian who initially spoke with members of the historical society about honoring the admiral with a historical marker.

Calhoun then learned of the U.S. Navy’s plans for a new class of warships, and he suggested pursuing an effort to have the lead ship in that class named for the admiral.

If successful, that ship would be the USS Silas Wright Terry.

According to a Jan. 12 article in the publication Defense One, the new class of ships would replace the Navy’s current Arleigh Burke class of destroyers.

The new destroyers would be able to fight by themselves using lasers and hypersonic missiles and would be the most advanced, most powerful warships in the world, the article stated.

Twenty ships will be a part of the new destroyer class, and any one of them could bear the admiral’s name.

But Calhoun ideally would like to see the lead ship named for Terry since the name of that lead ship will become the name of the class of ships, allowing the late admiral’s name to become much better known.

Born in Trigg County in 1842, Terry served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, commanded the sailors who protected President Abraham Lincoln when Lincoln entered recently surrendered Richmond at the war’s end, and at the time of his retirement, he was commander of the Naval Station Hawaii responsible for building the Naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Terry also served at one point as an adviser to President Theodore Roosevelt, Brame said.

He died on Feb. 9, 1911, in Washington, D.C.

The historical society president observed that it would be something prestigious for Trigg County and for Kentucky if a destroyer is named for the admiral.

Calhoun has written several articles about Terry, and Brame suggested that people read those articles to learn more about the admiral from their local community.

“I think they would very much understand that he was a person that should be honored in something like this,” Brame noted.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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