D. B. Mabry
(Glendale's Pigeon Man)
Story furnished by Clarence Crocker


Thousands, perhaps millions of beautiful, common pigeons are seen in the air or perched on roof
tops most days of the year. These common pigeons, which most often take up their abode in the
eaves of Court Houses, Libraries, store buildings and homes are generally disliked and killed
where possible because of the mess and health hazards they create.  Some cities instruct their
policemen to shoot every pigeon on sight.

While some of the finer upscale restaurants offer pigeon and squab (young bird) meat on their
menu, most people are not aware of the benefits of pigeon meat which at one time was greatly
used for patients with stomach ailments, especially pellagra. This writer’s brothers, who raised
both common and homing pigeons, could sell all the pigeons they had for sale to the Spartanburg
General Hospital back in the 1920-30 eras.

The Racing Homer pigeon, so named for their instinct to race home when released in distant
lands, is an altogether different breed. At one time they were bred and trained for use as
messengers in the U.S. Army and law protected them. Today, breeding and raising homing
pigeons is basically a sports racing hobby. D.B. Mabry, a resident of Glendale village and
employee of Glendale Mills, bred and raised homing pigeons as a hobby. As a member of the
Greater Spartanburg Racing Pigeons Club, he was awarded the “300 Mile Trophy” for the
outstanding performance of two of his birds which had been released in Birmingham, Ala. Mabry
had released twenty five birds, D.N. Ferguson five, J.O. Dobbin three with other members of the
club releasing only a few choice birds. Mabry’s “Birmingham Boy” made the trip back home to
Glendale in six hours for an average of 50 miles per hour, beating all others. When released,
homing pigeons will fly up, make a circle or two in the air and after having found it’s bearing, will
make a direct charge home.

D. B. Mabry, a native of Union County, was the son of Arthur and Lyda P, Mabry. According to
census records, he had 5 siblings, Ghomer E., Nellie, Ila, Carl and Brondell Mabry. D. B.
married Helen Burgess, a Glendale native, the daughter of Luther and Nellie Blackwell Burgess
and lived in Mill village. According to the 1940 Glendale Census, Helen had 4 siblings, Margaret,
Leroy, James Harold and Doris Burgess. He bought their home on Jackson Street from the mill
when they were sold in the 1950s.  This writer knew D.B. and his family well. They were a kind,
wonderful family. I had many good conversations with D.B.

Excerpts from the obituary of D. B. Mabry published Monday, October 6, 1986;
“D.B. Mabry, 65, husband of Helen Burgess Mabry, died Sunday morning. He was a Union
native, son of Arthur and Lyda Pryor Mabry and a member of the Glendale Baptist Church. He
had retired from the Cateswood Plant in Arkwright and was a renowned pigeon enthusiast and
producer.
Survivors were; his wife and one son, Galen Mabry, Spartanburg; three sisters, Nellie Lamb,
Brondell Price, Spartanburg, Ila Poston, Columbia; one brother, Carl Mabry, Woodruff; five
grandchildren. Funeral services to be held in the Glendale Baptist Church with interment following
in the Glendale Community Cementery.

Helen Louise Burgess Mabry died at the age of 74 June 8, 1997 and was buried with her
husband in the Glendale Community Cemetery.

        Grave markers;     D. B. Mabry-March 15, 1921=October 5, 1986
                                    Helen Burgess Mabry- September 17, 1922= June 8, 1997

        Obituaries courtesy of the Spartanburg Country Library.
        Written by Clarence E. Crocker, July 2013

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This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary McKinney Teaster.  Contact her at:
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