Monthly Archives: October 2019

WWI Snapshot: Samuel Benjamin “Bunn” Frink 1899-1989

Samuel Benjamin “Bunn” Frink attempted to serve in WWI while underage and was honorably discharged. He later became a lawyer and was known as “The Perry Mason of Brunswick County.” Throughout his life he served his country by holding many political offices and positions, as well as serving in WWII.

NC WWI Service Card
Samuel Benjamin “Bunn” Frink was born on October 2, 1899, in Shallotte, Brunswick County, NC.

On May 1, 1917, Bunn enlisted in the US Navy in Wilmington, NC. He served for over a month until June 15, 1917, when he was declared underage and honorably discharged.

Records show another Brunswick County WWI veteran, John Newton of Bessemer City, NC, attempted to enlist at Fort Caswell and was discovered to be underage. This notation was found on Pvt Newton’s NC WWI Service Card:

“Under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved March 2, 1929, (Public #950 – 70th Congress) in the administration of any laws conferring rights, privileges, or benefits, upon honorably discharged soldiers, their widows and dependent children, the above named soldier shall hereafter be held and considered to have been honorably discharged”

Photo source: The State Port Pilot (Southport, NC), 8 May 1935, p. 1.

Bunn was a family friend of Kathryn Kalmanson, daughter of Susie Carson, the late historian and founder of the Southport Historical Society. Susie Carson was also employed at one time by Bunn’s law firm. Kathryn shared the following memories of Bunn:

“Samuel Benjamin Frink was always known as Bunn. His legal signature and name on the letterhead of his law office was “S. Bunn Frink.” No one will recognize him by his real name. But mention the name Bunn Frink in Brunswick County and you’ll get lots of responses even now. He really had a big impact on the county in many ways. He was a man of integrity, and always a gentleman. Please check my info on this, but I believe he did not actually serve in WWI. He said, if I remember correctly, that he lied about his age in order to enlist and was caught before he went overseas. By the time he turned 18, the war had ended. He did serve in WWII, but I think it was in Coast Guard because he was too old for regular enlistment.

“Mr. Frink was an interesting person. Through his work as a lawyer with some newsworthy cases, he became known as “The Perry Mason of Brunswick County.” He was once written up in some lurid but popular crime magazine, True Detective or something like that. He also served many years in the NC State Senate. He had a son and a daughter, both long gone, and no other surviving family that I’ve ever heard of.”

Kathryn shared the following photos.

Bunn lived over 89 years. His accomplishments are displayed at his gravesite, as shown.

Source of headstone photo: Findagrave


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Samuel Benjamin “Bunn” Frink or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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An interview with Back Porch Rockers, performing at Oktoberfest in Caswell Beach this Saturday

Reminder:
Oktoberfest in Caswell Beach is this Saturday, October 12, 2019

Call 910-278-7584 for tickets.

Note that overflow parking is available up the street at the BB&T Bank. It is a short walk to the Oktoberfest held at the Fire Station.

When did the band decide to entertain FREE for non profit events?
When we formed the band in 2016, we decided that we would perform only for legitimate non-profits and charities. We do perform for private parties, but we have a requirement for them to raise a minimum of $1000 for a charity of their choice. This has never been a problem. Several private parties we have done have exceeded over $3,000. We are all retired and this is one of the ways we donate back to the community we live in.

How many years have you been doing this for non profits?
As stated above since the inception of our band in April of 2016.

Approximately how much has the band earned for non profits?
Well, there are bands that track this info, but we do not. A couple of reasons, first, it is not that important to know how much we help raise, it is far more important to us, that we are able to help. We don’t actually raise any money, we just provide the entertainment, and as you know there are many others involved who assist in organizing fund raisers. We did track this dollar information in our first year or so and if I had to guess, we have helped raise approximately $200K over the past few years.

How many events have you done in 2019?
We are scheduled to perform for 18 events in this calendar year. We have done 13 to date.

What about the funds you need to continue?  Instruments, gas, etc.
All expenses are absorbed by the band members, it is our way of helping the cause.

Give us some info on the members of the band.  Their love of music,
playing for audiences, etc.  Tell us about your band.

Steve Privott, our lead guitarist, is from Virginia and has been playing since he was 13 years old. He played and recorded professionally in the 60’s and has shared the stage with performers including The Yardbirds, The Loving Spoonful and Neil Diamond.

Kurt Chismark, performs vocals and percussion for our band, has an extensive background in music including a Music & Recording Industry Certification from San Francisco State University.

Martin Murphy, our bass player, also performs vocals and 6 string guitar and our music arrangements. Martin began playing guitar in high school and played in a popular Cleveland, Ohio band that opened for both national and international touring acts before retiring from the music business. Taking up music again in the 80’s, Martin began played electric bass for a 10-piece R&B group then for an acoustic guitar act. After another prolonged absence from music, he retired to the Southport area in 2015 and began playing again.

Dave Testa is our drummer and provides back-up vocals. Dave had an early interest in music inherited from a singing mother. This inclination was reinforced by an older brother who played drums in a high school rock and roll band. Dave’s earliest bands were in High School, with one locally successful soul band just before college. He then retired from playing for about 30 years and then a revival as his wife encouraged him to get back into music. He has played for several groups here in the area before bringing his talents to our band.

Jim Irvine, guitar, began playing music in 5th grade by taking piano lessons. He switched to playing Trumpet in 6th through 8th grade taking lessons and playing in the school band. When the “British Invasion” hit America Jim took up playing a 12 String Guitar. Jim left music when he was in his early 20’s and got a real job. Around 2010, with the encouragement of his wife got back into music and started taking lessons again, where he met several other students that eventually formed the band.

Linda Harlow, guitar and vocals, began her musical venture by playing her older sister’s accordian and then her younger sister’s guitar. She played with several small groups in college but gave it up when she started her professional work career as a French professor. After moving to Southport in 2010 she began taking guitar lessons and eventually helped form our band.

Randy Lewis, guitar and vocals began his journey into music very late in life. Growing up, he never showed any interest in music although his parents and siblings were very involved in music. After retiring a dear friend of his sent him a nice guitar in 2014. He started taking lessons from his instructor and mentor in Oak Island who then, convinced him to sing as well. After meeting and playing with a few other students, specifically, Linda Harlow, Jim Irvine and Dave Testa, the idea of a band was born.

To summarize, we all have a very strong love of our music and our desire to perform for others. All of us are still learning to be entertainers. Several of us help other bands when the need arises and all of us are involved in other volunteering positions. We love what we do and we love this community.

What about the turnover?  Do you have much?
We have had no turnover since we started performing publicly.

Do any other bands in Brunswick County play for non profits?
There is one other band that I am aware, that plays exclusively for charities and non-profits. Mike’s Garage Band has been doing this for approximately 10 years. Their fundraising revenues and have exceeded over $1million! Their band has done such great things for this area. They are great friends and supporters of our band.

Additionally, most every band down here will play a benefit or fundraiser from time to time. The band that we referred for your fundraiser earlier this year, Trilogy and their jazz band, are prime examples.

The Friends are feeling fortunate that there are people like the Back Porch Rockers that consider the plight of non profits by helping with their fundraisers. Those of us that are passionate about historic preservation, the aged, young children, pets and others thank these folks for their time, love of what they are doing and doing it with a happy heart. Again, we thank them!

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WWI Snapshot: Robert Leroy Stratmon 1900-1944

Robert Leroy Stratmon served in both WWI and WWII. He lost his life while serving in World War II.

NC WWI Service Card
Robert Leroy Stratmon was born on June 12, 1900, in Southport, Brunswick County, NC.

On October 27, 1917, Robert, listed as 18 years old, joined the US Navy. At the time, African American men were assigned only menial positions in the Navy, so he began as a Mess Attendant, 3rd Class. By the end of his service, he had risen to Wardroom Cook.

The 1920 census shows that he had returned to his home in Southport. His family relocated some time later to Boston and NYC.

Robert served in the US Naval Reserves in WWII. He died in service to his country on August 16, 1944. In the excerpt below, his name appears at the bottom right. [Source: The New York Age, June 4, 1946]

His name does not appear on WWII casualty lists, so it is assumed that he died of disease.

His remains were returned four years later from the American military cemetery in New Guinea, (USAF Cemetery, Fischaffen #2) and buried in Long Island National Cemetery.
[Source: Ancestry.com. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.]

Source of headstone photo: Findagrave


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Robert Leroy Stratmon or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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Reminder: Oktoberfest in Caswell Beach is next Saturday, October 12.

Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range Fundraiser
Click for more information:
Oktoberfest in Caswell Beach

Call 910-278-7584 for tickets.

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