Category Archives: Event

Brunswick County in the Great War arrives this week.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range is excited to announce the arrival of their book
Brunswick County in the Great War
Preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Legacies of the Men and Women Who Served.

Book signings and semi-drive-thru purchase

Book signings and semi-drive-thru purchase will be available during the next couple of Saturdays beginning
October 24, 2020, at the Caswell Beach Town Building, outside from noon-3:00 pm.

Masks and Social Distancing are the plan.

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Veterans Day 2019: Continuing to Honor Those Who Served

The family of WWI Veteran and POW Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley was honored at the event.

Approximately 60 people attended the Veterans Day WWI Commemoration on a warm and sunny Monday morning on November 11, 2019.

At 11:00am, the time the Armistice went into effect 101 years ago, Norma Eckard, president of Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range began the program.

This year, the special guests were the family of WWI Brunswick County veteran and only POW, Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley.

Two grandchildren of Pvt Stanley (Fred Stanley and Deborah Bolin) began the continuation of the Roll Call for Brunswick County WWI veterans. Descendants who participated in previous commemorations returned: Gwen Clemmons Causey (granddaughter of Sgt Henry Lindon Clemmons) and David Lewis (grandson of Lt David Elton Lewis). Two were unable to attend, but are listed below.

For several years, descendants have attended the ceremonies held at the Fort Caswell Rifle Range. Their presence adds meaning to the Roll Calls. We have been honored to have the following special guests attend past commemorations:

Many descendants of WWI veterans from locations other than Brunswick County have also participated and attended past commemorations. Many have submitted photos for the WWI Wall of Honor.

If your name is not listed here, we apologize and ask that you please contact us. If any descendants wish to participate or attend future commemorative events, it would be an honor to include you.

The program and script is available here for display or download: 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony Transcript (updated Nov. 14, 2019)

Thank you for those who attended and the marvelous supporters and donors!

The State Port Pilot and Brunswick Beacon published stories about the ceremony. They can be downloaded here:
Veterans Day at the 101-year-old Fort Caswell Rifle Range (bottom of page) and
Veterans honored at Fort Caswell Rifle Range ceremony. They are also available on the News section of the website.

Photos courtesy of Phyllis Wilson. Thank you!

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Veterans Day 2019

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them” – George Eliot

The program for today’s Roll Call will be posted soon.

WWI Snapshots will continue next week.

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Invitation to the 2019 Veterans Day Roll Call on November 11

On Monday, November 11th, Veterans Day, at 11:00 am, the Roll Call continues for the 724 men and one woman nurse who served in WWI from Brunswick County. It will once again be held beside the 1918 Rifle Range Memorial at Caswell Beach.

The event is sponsored jointly by the Brunswick Town Chapter NSDAR and the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range. The Southport Historical Society Firing Crew will fire Thor in commemoration of the veterans’ service. Gwen Causey, locally known for her historic focus and knowledge of Brunswick County will speak: “Brunswick County, 1900-1921.”

The public is welcome. Please bring a folding chair. For safety, be sure to park in condo parking lots and not on the roadside.

Photo courtesy of Christine Urick; April 2019 Roll Call

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

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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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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Back Porch Rockers to perform on August 15

The next fundraiser to support the Fort Caswell Rifle Range is Oktoberfest in Caswell Beach (October 12, 2019) which includes music by the Back Porch Rockers.

Randy Lewis from Back Porch Rockers asked us to share this invitation which he posted on their Facebook page.

Hey folks, come on out and join us Thursday evening from 6pm – 8pm on August 15th as we perform as part of the Southport Summer Concert Series down at Franklin Square Park. Bring a chair, blanket, something to eat, a beverage and enjoy an evening in one of the most beautiful settings here in Southport. Dance and sing along with The Back Porch Rockers as we perform classic rock favorites by artists such as Eric Clapton, The Eagles, ZZ Top, Tom Petty and many others. It should be a fun-filled evening as the band brings back memories of our younger years.

If you are familiar with our band, you know that we always perform for a cause and this concert is no different. Any and all donations will be used to benefit the “Up Your Arts” program here in the Southport area. Up Your Arts is a non profit organization founded in 2017 to support and enhance the creative and performing arts throughout the greater Southport area.

See their Facebook page for information regarding their future performances.

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Bands were a hit at Dinner, Derby & Dance


It may have been hot, but the bands were hotter!

Despite the controversy regarding the Derby winner at Churchhill Downs, Kentucky, the unsung heroes of the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range fundraiser on May 4, 2019, were the bands: Trilogy, Three to Get Ready and Jimmy on the keyboard.

Both bands and Jimmy offered the talents of music to the primary fundraiser for the restoration of the World War I, National Historic Preservation site in Caswell Beach, the Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran and the future book to be published and placed in the schools and libraries. The rifle pit was once a training location for soldiers in defense of our country in 1918, until the end of the Great War and WW II. The site, long neglected, has been the beneficiary of grants, pro bono services, and fund raising dollars for eight years.

Three to Get Ready

The bands providing entertainment for the Derby Day event donated their costs to the cause. Peter Borgia of Three to Get Ready, Jimmy Maglio of Trilogy, and fellow band members kept the audience on its feet for the four hour, Dinner, Derby, and Dance, at the fire station in Caswell Beach Town, NC. Representing several genres of music, the event began with the smooth jazz sounds of Three to Get Ready, and concluded the evening with a rock and roll journey to the sounds of Trilogy. During the dinner hour, Jimmy Maglio and Paul Wood enhanced the dining experience with a piano and saxophone duo.

Besides the musical event there were Best Hat and Best Dressed Couple contests.

Richard & Jean Malinofsky won Best Dressed Couple;
Pat Rizzo won Best Hat, Female; and
David Smith won Best Hat, Male.

A 50/50 raffle, Kentucky Derby betting, Themed Baskets for the silent auction, and a fantastic buffet, hosted by Turtle Island catering, completed the evening festivities. Over $2000 was raised. Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range are grateful for the generous contributions of the sponsors, the town of Caswell Beach for the use of the public facility building (fire station), and the support of those who attended.

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May 7, 2019: Dedication of the Robert Bollie Stanley military style marker

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range, along with members of the Brunswick Town Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, paid tribute to Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley, WWI Brunswick County veteran and only known POW.

The flat military style marker which was installed and dedicated was purchased with funds donated by Allen Dunstan, an out of town visitor who was deeply touched by Pvt Stanley’s sacrifice.

Seven of Pvt Stanley’s descendants along with a friend attended the ceremony and received the thanks and recognition for his sacrifice.

The family members, pictured from left to right.

  • Vivian Stanley, granddaughter
  • Leroy Hill, grandson
  • Ellis Stanley, cousin
  • Deborah Bolin, granddaughter
  • Fred Stanley, grandson
  • Anna White, granddaughter
  • Joe Stanley, cousin

Norma Eckard read a short biography during the ceremony.

Robert Bollie Stanley was born and raised in Shallotte.

He was called to duty for World War I on March 29, 1918, training in Camp Grant, Illinois. Pvt Stanley served with the 92nd Division, nicknamed the “Buffalo Soldiers” in honor of African American troops who served in the American West after the Civil War. There were only two divisions in World War I having African American combat units, the 92nd “Buffalo Soldiers” and the 93rd “Blue Hat” Divisions.

Robert Stanley was one of only nine known African American men from Brunswick County who served in a combat position.

During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, on October 29, 1918, Pvt Stanley was captured by the enemy. He was released about a month later, on November 27, 1918. Pvt Stanley returned to America on March 24, 1919, with his right leg amputated at the thigh. He was discharged from the US Army on August 25, 1919, with a 95% disability.

Robert Bollie Stanley married and raised several children. He was laid to rest on September 22, 1961, at age 66.

Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley’s WWI Profile can be read for more details here.

During the dedication ceremony, Joe Stanley unveiled the marker. After the prayer, “Taps” was played.

The script for the ceremony is available here: Robert Bollie Stanley Dedication Ceremony

The family shared a photo of Pvt Stanley in uniform, which stirred emotions as we recalled his sacrifices.

Following the dedication of the marker, the family members were invited to share stories of Pvt Stanley.

Fred “Stan” Stanley, grandson, was adopted by his grandfather and raised like a son. Pvt Stanley raised several young children on his own after the death of his wife at a young age. Stan remembered him being in frequent pain, but rarely complained. Stan and his grandfather were always together.

Stan was 17 years old when his grandfather suffered a stroke. Delaying his entrance into the Navy, he stayed with his grandfather until he “took his last breath” in September.

Both Stan and Joe Stanley, cousin, commented that their grandfather never spoke about WWI.

Deborah Bolin, granddaughter, was wearing a brooch owned by her mother, Pvt Stanley’s daughter. She shared that her mother was very special to her.

Joe Stanley remarked that Pvt Stanley was “a fabulous man.”

Stan shared more information via email after the ceremony, including this comment.

“God has blessed me and allowed me to see and do so much, and even more so, allowed me to witness such an amazing recognition of my grandfather’s sacrifice.”  ~Fred “Stan” Stanley

More memories may be added later.

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Honoring Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Brunswick Town Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution will honor Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley tomorrow with the installation of a military style marker.

The funds for this marker were donated by Allen Dunstan, an out of town visitor who was deeply touched by Pvt Stanley’s sacrifice.

Read more here:
Donor honors WWI POW Robert Bollie Stanley with military marker

Pvt Stanley is buried in Stanley Cemetery in Shallotte. The ceremony will begin at 11 am.

WWI Profiles will resume next week.

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