Not much is known by the writer of the early life of Colonel [Richard] Gentry. He was doubtless a Missourian by birth and probably a native of Boone County, as he was residing there at the breaking out of the Florida war in 1836. He raised a regiment of volunteers for service in that war, chiefly in Boone County. October 6, 1837, we find that Colonel Gentry's regiment left Columbia, Boone County, for the field of danger and duty, but before its departure it was presented by the ladies of Columbia with a beautiful regimental flag, the presentation address being made by Miss Lucy Wales, a highly cultivated and accomplished young lady, at that time preceptress of Columbia Female Academy. This flag was borned by the regiment throughout the campaign in Florida, and floated at its head in battle, and, after it return to Missouri, was delivered ot the widow of Colonel Gentry, October 26, 1842, by Captain William Henry Russell, and it is now in the possession of the family.
Colonel Gentry fought on foot, as did all of his command, at the battle of Okechobee, and finally repulsed the Indians, after several hours of hard fighting. Colonel Gentry was gradually pushing them across a swamp, and had nearly reached the dry soil, when a bullet pierced his abdomen, inflicting a fatal wound. He knew its extent, yet he stood erect an hour afterward, and cheered his men to victory; until at last, being compelled to yield, he was borne from the fight, and expired the same night.
The remains of Colonel Gentry were brought to Jefferson Barracks and buried, the Government of the United States erecting over them a suitable monument.
The following is a copy of a letter from Brigadier General Henry Atkinson, United States Army, to Mrs. Ann Gentry, widow of Colonel Gentry, in regard to the receipt and interment of his remains:
St. Louis, May 7, 1839
My Dear Madam: I have the satisfaction to inform you that I have received the remains of the late Major General Gentry, your lamented husband, from Florida, mingled in the same box with the remains of Captain Van Swearingen and Lieutenants Brooke and Centery, Sixth Regiment United States Infantry. The whole will be this day taken from the box and placed in a suitable coffin and carried to the Episcopal Church, where at half past two o'clock, the funeral service will be performed by the reverend clergy; after which all appropriate military honors will take place, by the military and civil authorities of the city. The remains will then be taken to Jefferson Barracks, where they will be deposited for final interment as soon as the Sixth Regiment returns to that post. It is intended to inter all the remains in the same grave, over which a monument with suitable inscriptions will be erected.
I hope this disposition of the remains of Major General Gentry will be agreeable to you and your family. It would not be difficult, if not impossible, to designate the separate remains of either individual; therefore, should you wish to have the general's bones, it would be impossible, I think, to select them.
With kindest regards, madam, I am most respectfully,
Your most obedient servant,
Brigadier General United States Army
It will be observed that the county bears the honored name of a distinguished and gallant soldier. Thus much have we deemed proper to be said (regretting that our data will not permit us to say more) with regard to the person for whom the county is named. So much every boy or girl whose home is within the bounds of the county should know; less than this would certainly be unsatisfactory to one who has ever been led to investigate the country's history.
Source: The History of Gentry and Worth Counties, Missouri by the National Historical Co., St. Joseph, Missouri in 1882.