Category Archives: Veteran Snapshot

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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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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WWI Snapshot: George Washington Rappleyea 1894-1966

George Washington Rappleyea is famous as the instigator of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. He lived in many locations throughout the country, but his residence at the time of his WWI service was Southport, NC. He also remained in Southport for several years in the 1950s.

NC WWI Service Card
George Washington Rappleyea was born on July 4, 1894, in NYC. He was called into active service for WWI on May 26, 1917. After serving three months, he was honorably discharged at the convenience of the government. Perhaps the government determined that his talents were needed in science and engineering rather than the army.

Mr. Rappleyea was a family friend of Kathryn Kalmanson, daughter of Susie Carson, the late historian and founder of the Southport Historical Society. Kathryn shared the following memories:

“Mr. Rappleyea was a fascinating man. He was a mining engineer working in Tennessee when he became friends with John Scopes, a local science teacher who, like Mr. Rappleyea, deplored efforts to suppress modern science in the classroom. After the two of them cooked up a plan to make a test case, Mr. Rappleyea contacted the ACLU and persuaded them to take the case. Then he swore out a complaint against Scopes to start the famous ‘Monkey Trial.’

“When Mr. Rappleyea came to Southport he was retired from engineering. He and his mother, who lived with them, owned the electric company for the town. I’ve always wondered how they discovered Southport, but he liked it because of its beauty and history.

“Here he developed Plasmofalt, a building material made of molasses and cardboard. His idea was to use it to make inexpensive housing in impoverished areas in Latin America and the Carribean. In his travels he had seen some of the miserable conditions and wanted to help. I have a small sample of the stuff made into the handle of a letter opener. In Southport he made Plasmofalt experimentally in his back yard.

“Eventually he needed room for large-scale production so he reluctantly moved operations to Florida. His dream of building houses with Plasmofalt was later put aside when the US Air Force acquired his patent, thinking that the material might be used to pour instant runways at sea in times of crises.

“He was a man of science and also a man of compassion. I was just a child at the time but I adored him. He used to send me wonderful things, like a jar of live sea horses.

“I don’t believe he has any family left. They had no children, and I never heard of any other relatives.”

Read a brief newspaper clipping on his use of Plasmofalt in Southport, available through the Southport Historical Society here.

Source of photos: findagrave
George Washington Rappleyea passed away in 1966 at age 72, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


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 George Washington Rappleyea 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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