I’ve been researching some of the history of the Stembridges’ in Waynesboro, since I live in Waynesboro! One of the ones that I’ve read about was Henry Hansell Stembridge, Jr. He traces back on Thomas Baker Stembridge’s line, and that makes us (distant) cousins! Our common ancestor would have been William Stembridge born in 1792 in Baldwin County.
I have been in touch with Henry Hansell’s daughter Jane Stembridge who shared more details about her dad. She said that he grew up in Waynesboro. His dad, Henry Hansell Stembridge Sr , or Dr Stembridge as he was known, was a pharmacist in Waynesboro, and lived where the Pizza Hut is now located on 11th street. Henry Hansell Sr was a charter member of St. Michaels Episcopal Church. Henry Hansell Jr. was influenced by his uncle, Rev. Barney Foreman, of Beech Island, who was a Baptist Minister.
Cory Zamora was kind enough to let me know that her book: Gunsmith to the Stars will be released next month. We have had several articles about her Father, Manuel Zamora, who worked for Stembridge Gun Rentals in the early days. I hope to get a copy, and learn a little more about a somewhat connected history.Â Here’s the link via Amazon
A gentleman by the name of Jim Ferguson wrote me last year:
“I was cleaning out a home today and found a box of letters and photos dated in the 1940’s. They were letters to a Frederick T. Dickie at Stembridge gun rentals at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. The photos were of lots of neat guns and of some people whom I asume are related to the gun shop. I guess I’m wondering if anyone is interested in seeing this stuff.”
I wrote back of course, and said yes! Here’s what Jim found!
SHORTLY AFTER THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, James Stembridge left his East Coast home and went to Los Angeles to seek his fortune. Somewhere around 1913 he met up with Cecil B. DeMille and landed a job helping him make a war movie. Mr. DeMille wanted James to coach the actors on how to act like soldiers and emulate their habits. This led to some steady work and sometime between 1916 and 1920 they recognized the need to accumulate a stock of firearms that could be used as movie props. Thus was the beginning of the Stembridge gun arsenal.
Over the years, James continued looking for and purchasing guns of all make and style and he became the leading armorer for the movie industry. Even though they rented firearms to all the studios, Stembridge Gun Rental was housed in a secure warehouse on the Paramount lot until 1979. The backbone of the business was its manager Fritz Dickie, who reigned from 1927 until 1974.
On Dec. 7, 1941, with the attack on Pearl Harbor underway, there was an immediate shoring up of the coastal defenses. On that same day the commander of Ft. MacArthur in Los Angeles called Stembridge and told him that he didnt think there were enough firearms at the fort. Stembridge immediately sent over several hundred rifles and more than 50 Thompson sub-machine guns.
Amazingly, when the war was over, all of the weapons were returned. Can you imagine a government agency being that reliable today? Stembridges contacts with the War Dept. paid off because with demobilization came the disposal of thousands of military firearms and Stembridge acquired enough to stock a movie army at scrap-metal prices.
By the 1980s, Stembridge had more than 10,000 guns in their armory. Unfortunately, the settlement of a family estate forced the sale of 400 of their historic guns, those used by legendary actors. Publishing magnate Robert Petersen bought them for his personal collection. Now his estate is auctioning them as noted in the article preceding this one.
The Stembridge Gun Rental is still in business and is operated by Syd Stembridge, grand-nephew of the founder. But times have changed. Many studios are using model guns now that can fire blanks designed to give a cinematic flash. Providing customized blank cartridges has long been a big facet of Stembridges business.
Most of this information was provided to Firegeezer in a personal interview with Syd Stembridge.
(article from Bill Schumm’s website: http://firegeezer.com/2007/06/04/stembridge-gun-rental/#more-274/)
* Received some new items from CorlettÂ Zamora this evening, who is looking for information on her Father, Manuel Zamora. Here’s a card that had her fathers name mentioned. If you have any information about Manuel Zamora, please leave a comment below so we can be in touch! Thanks!!!
I just posted 2 stories (not written by me) that share a little more about Marion Wesley Stembridge, that shed a little more light on who he was, and what he did. There’s actually a story going on currently involving the house he lived in.
“Well, one of our past relatives, Marion Stembridge, is in the news again. No, not because his ghost has frightened off another interloper in Marion’s old house on Washington Street. The house has been reputed to have his ghost roaming the halls since his demise back in 1953 by his own hand after killing 2 of the attorneys who were trying to put him in jail for the killing of a woman who was trying to help defend John Cooper from Marion who was trying to get payment for a car he had sold Cooper. By the way, that house, I think, is for sale because all prospective buyers get run off by some unknown entity stomping through the house.” written by my Dad, Roger E. Stembridge
Here’s s picture my nephew Chad just sent of Marion’s Grave. The whole idea of ghosts used to really interest me. I view things much differently now, I know there is a very real spiritual war taking place. I do however believe that once you die, you enter either into heaven or hell – depending on the way you viewed Jesus Christ. This is the belief taught in the Bible; which I have excellent reason to believe is the Word of God!
What do you think?
written by Jonathan Jackson
September 05, 2008 09:42 pm
Peter Dexter won the National Book Award for fiction in 1988 for his novel “Paris Trout”. The book was later adapted into a screenplay, and a 1991 movie version starred Dennis Hopper and Barbara Hershey. The work of fiction, however, had roots in a Milledgeville tragedy that began unfolding almost 60 years ago.
Marion Stembridge was a Milledgeville businessmen who, in addition to selling groceries, made a living as a local loan shark. These transactions were reportedly often made between Stembridge and people who could ill-afford to pay back the loans. One of these loans turned deadly in 1949.
Stembridge made a loan to a man named John Cooper, who purchased a car. Cooper returned the car to Stembridge in an attempt to rid himself of the note. Stembridge and an employee named Sam Terry reportedly drove to an area of town called Shantytown and confronted Cooper.
According to published accounts, multiple sources record that Stembridge and Terry began beating Cooper and that two women intervened in the attack. Stembridge shot the two women, wounding both. One of the women, Emma Johnekin later died from her wounds, and Stembridge was charged.
Stembridge claimed he shot both women in self-defense. Still, he was sentenced to one to three years for the shooting. Stembridge appealed the sentence and was released on bond. He was represented by Marion Ennis, Frank Evans and Jimmy Watts.
According to published accounts, Ennis grew uncomfortable with the case and ended his legal representation of Stembridge. Stembridge was tried again and convicted, but was released again.
His former attorney, Marion Ennis, reportedly attempted to have him prosecuted yet again, but could not persuade authorities to do so. In the course of events, Ennis was assisted by another attorney, Pete Bivins, in trying to get Stembridge back into court.
Federal authorities learned and later successfully proved in court, that Stembridge had not paid federal taxes in several years. It was a widely held belief at the time that Ennis and Bivins uncovered evidence that resulted in Stembridges conviction on tax evasion charges. It was a belief that Stembridge himself also held.
On May 2, 1953, the City of Milledgeville was celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding when Stembridge went to Ennis office above the Campus Theatre and shot him with a .38 caliber revolver, killing him.
Stembridge then went around the corner to Bivins office in the Sanford building and shot and killed him as well. Stembridge then killed himself with the gun.
Peter Dexter took liberties with actual events for his award-winning work of fiction, Paris Trout, but the man behind the account was most definitely Marion Stembridge.
Copyright 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.
article written by Carol Clark
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, August 10, 2003; P01
“I was there the day Marion Stembridge came up the stairs, wearing that big coat with a pistol in his pocket.”
Bob Green, a 78-year-old lawyer, was telling me a story as I sat on a bench beneath a tulip tree in Milledgeville, Ga., waiting for the tourist trolley.
“I heard the shots from my office. The whole town was aflutter,” Green said, recalling the 1953 killing spree that became the basis for Pete Dexter’s prize-winning novel, “Paris Trout.”
Milledgeville, about 100 miles southeast of Atlanta, is a small town full of big stories. The comic and the tragic, the real and the unreal, the famous and the forgotten, all blend together in the rich local lore.
A young Oliver Hardy ran the projector at Milledgeville’s first movie house. “He sang and danced to entertain people between the picture shows,” said guide Gwendelyn Clark as the red trolley rolled along. “Then he left town, said he was going to make movies.”
We passed the cemetery where writer Flannery O’Connor is buried along with train robber Bill Miner — “the last of the Dalton gang” — and turned into a neighborhood of towering white oaks and white-columned mansions.
We stopped at the Gothic-style building that served as Georgia’s capitol during the Civil War, before the seat of government shifted to Atlanta, and the church where Gen. William Sherman’s troops stabled their horses when they marched through in 1864.
Milledgeville was founded in 1803, near the geographic heart of Georgia, and is the only planned capital in the country besides Washington. The compact town center contains more than 200 architectural landmarks, including many examples of a distinctive style known as Milledgeville Federal.
A bicentennial celebration has sparked efforts to attract more visitors. A new museum in the old state Capitol contains artifacts going back to the Creek Indians. The former Governor’s Mansion, where a ballroom scene for “Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All” was filmed, is undergoing renovation. Limited tours recently became available to Andalusia, the dairy farm on the edge of town where O’Connor did most of her writing.
So why has this middle Georgia gem, now marketing itself as the “Antebellum Capital,” remained off the tourism radar for so long?
For many native Georgians, Milledgeville is synonymous with five state prisons and Central State Hospital, once one of the world’s biggest — and most notorious — mental institutions. Generations of children grew up hearing: “If you don’t behave, I’m sending you to Milledgeville.” I had to pay it a visit.
“Turn right when you come to a little old restaurant and then you’ll see a pecan grove and the White House,” a liquor store clerk told me when I stopped to ask directions. “That’s the main building of the hospital, but everybody calls it the White House because that’s what it looks like.”
The mammoth Greek Revival administration building sat on a rise overlooking several acres of pecan trees, bordered by decaying red-brick structures that resembled abandoned schoolhouses, except for the rusted bars over the broken window panes.
Bud Merritt, a former psychiatric social worker who now serves as the hospital’s informal historian, met me inside the Victorian train depot that housed the museum.
A straitjacket was laid out on a gurney. A rolling medicine cart stood next to a metal bed with leather straps and sheets stenciled “state property.” Lobotomy tools were arranged in neat rows on a shelf. Below them was a vintage electric shock machine — a metal case with a Bakelite knob labeled “Intensity.”
When the hospital opened in 1842 as the Georgia Lunatic Asylum, it offered some of the best care available at that time for the mentally ill, Merritt said. Then it started growing, swelling to a small city of 13,000 patients by the 1960s. One or two staff members were assigned to as many as 100 patients.
“What you had here were a lot of decent, caring people working under extraordinarily difficult circumstances,” he said. “You’d just carve out a little area and do the best you could.”
Georgia has long since reformed and decentralized its mental health care system, like the rest of the nation. Central State now averages about 900 patients in its daily census.
We toured the grounds in Merritt’s van, entering an area where most of the former patient buildings have been turned into prison facilities. Loops of razor wire stacked five rows high lined both sides of the road until we entered a forest of cedar trees.
Between 1843 and the early 1900s, more than 20,000 patients who died in the hospital were brought to the forest and buried anonymously, according to a plaque.
The twitter of songbirds mingled with the distant shouts of prisoners in their exercise yards. I could see the faint outline of the unmarked graves — row after row of rectangular depressions in the forest floor.
“We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries now that there is less stigma attached to mental illness,” Merritt said. “Some people are finally learning that great-granddad didn’t die in the war, he died in Milledgeville.”
During lunch at Elaine’s restaurant, on the outskirts of downtown, police officers and farmers, elderly couples and young office workers filled the tables as a sturdy blonde weaved among them, carrying pitchers of iced tea that rattled like castanets. Every few minutes, the cooking staff burst through the kitchen’s swinging doors with trays radiating the aroma of hot biscuits.
The waitress addressed the diners by name as she poured their tea. When she got to me she asked, “You travelin’?”
I told her about my visit to Central State.
“I used to play at the hospital when I was a little girl,” she said. “My grandfather was the coroner and my grandmother was a caretaker. They’d take me along to work sometimes.”
“Weren’t you afraid?” I asked.
“Oh, no, I made a lot of friends,” she said. “I remember a woman who never talked to anyone. I went up to her and asked why she was sittin’ all alone and why she was so sad. And then she got to talkin’, and she talked from then on. I always tell people that I changed her life.”
Everybody I met in Milledgeville was a good storyteller.
Dianne Johnson, manager of the Antebellum Inn B&B, brought goose bumps to my arms when she told me about a ghost that was harassing a tenant in a nearby rental property.
“She was making the bed in the upstairs room when her 4-year-old daughter said, ‘Mama, make that man stop staring at me.’ She said, ‘What man, honey?’ And the little girl pointed to an empty corner of the room.”
Johnson assured me that the inn was ghost-free, then dashed off to a dinner engagement, leaving me alone in the elegant, but somewhat creaky, mansion.
I took a volume of O’Connor short stories from a bookshelf and sat on a rocker on the veranda. I hadn’t read “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” since college. I had forgotten how funny were O’Connor’s descriptions of a banal family from Atlanta, driving to Florida for vacation.
“Let’s go through Georgia fast so we don’t have to look at it much,” the bratty little boy says.
But the family turns off onto a side road. The narrative shifts from funny to terrifying when they find themselves at the mercy of an escaped felon known as the Misfit.
I snapped the book shut and called it a night.
Andalusia, the 544-acre farm where O’Connor drew her inspiration, is one of the last rural remnants amid the strip development lining the highway into Milledgeville.
Craig Amason, director of the Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation, met me in front of the two-story white farmhouse built around 1850. The house has been vacant since the author died in 1964 of the debilitating effects of lupus. She was 39.
We squished through mud notched by deer tracks as Amason told me about the foundation’s plans to renovate Andalusia and expand the regular visiting times. The farmhouse opened to the public for the first time in June. None of O’Connor’s famous peacocks remains on the property. The sole inhabitant of the farm, a mule named Flossie, eyed me suspiciously from a distance.
“This has the potential to become one of the most important literary landmarks in the country because it’s more than an author’s home. It’s also the source of her imagination,” Amason said. He gazed toward a rickety, weathered barn with a rusting tin roof. “Anyone who’s read ‘Good Country People’ can’t look at that hay barn and not think of Joy and the Bible salesman,” he said.
O’Connor was born in Savannah but moved to Milledgeville with her family when she was 13. Her two novels, “Wise Blood” and “The Violent Bear It Away,” and most of her short stories are set in the red-clay landscape of middle Georgia. Her characters spoke in the pitch-perfect cadences of the region’s farmers, housewives, laborers and aristocrats, making them seem real even when they veered off into extremes — which they often did. O’Connor used violence like flashes of lightning to expose her deeply spiritual themes.
An annual O’Connor symposium attracts hundreds of fans and scholars to Milledgeville, including many from Europe and Japan, Amason said. “She has a fanatical following. People either love her work or they hate it.”
He led me through the screened-in porch of the house and into the small room where O’Connor slept and worked. Dark blue curtains filtered the light. The air was suffused with the smell of old wood and textiles. The simple furnishings included empty bookcases and a twin bed covered in a thin cotton bedspread. An armoire stood in the center of the room, next to the bed.
“Flannery was on crutches, so it was an advantage to have everything pushed together,” Amason said. “She wrote every morning religiously, from 8 to 12, and she sat facing the back of this armoire so she wouldn’t be distracted.”
O’Connor, the most famous storyteller in a place weighted with stories, had her work cut out for her.
Carol Clark last wrote for Travel about Mobile, Ala.
Details: Milledgeville, Ga.
GETTING THERE: Milledgeville is about a 1 1/2-hour drive from Atlanta. Go east on I-20 about 60 miles to Exit 114 (Madison). Turn right onto Highway 441 south and continue about 45 miles to Milledgeville. Nonstop flights from D.C, to Atlanta start at about $235 round trip.WHERE TO STAY: The Antebellum Inn (200 N. Columbia St., 478-453-3993, www.antebelluminn.com), a five-room B&B, is a great place to soak up the ambience of Milledgeville. The 1890 mansion is in the heart of the historic district. Rates from $65 include a superb breakfast.
Milledgeville also has a number of chain hotels, including the Budget Inn (225 E. Hancock St., 478-452-3533), which has a convenient downtown location. Rooms go for about $35.
WHERE TO EAT: You won’t leave Elaine’s (1057 S. Wayne St.) hungry. This homey, no-frills restaurant has all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffets of fried chicken, quail, catfish and other local specialties for $6.50. Cafe South (132 Hardwick St.), housed in a historic building that was once a post office and general store, is another good place for southern comfort food. Meat-and-two- vegetable lunches served cafeteria-style are $6.15. Try the bread pudding.
WHAT TO DO:
• Trolley tours of the town are offered Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. by the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Convention and Visitors Bureau (see below). Cost of the two-hour tour, which includes a drive through the historic district as well as stops at historic homes, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and the Old State Capitol, is $10.
• The museum at Central State Hospital (620 Broad St, 478-445-0755, www.centralstatehospital.org) is free but open by appointment only.
• Flannery O’Connor’s farm, Andalusia, is open for self-guided, “walk-in” tours on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for $5 per person. Guided trolley tours depart from the visitors center the third Saturday of every month at 11 a.m. for $10. Other tours are offered by appointment. For directions and information: Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation, 478-454-4029, www.andalusiafarm.org.
• The fifth Flannery O’Connor Symposium (478-445-5277, www.gcsu.edu/revelations), Oct. 8-11 at Georgia College and State University, features readings by poets and fiction writers, performances of original musical compositions, and area folk art exhibits. Ticket prices vary.
INFORMATION: Milledgeville-Baldwin County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-653-1804, www.milledgevillecvb.com.
— Carol Clark
a collection from their PAST…
Stembridge Gun rentals of Hollywood, California, was formed in about 1920 by James Stembridge and Cecil B. DeMille to supply guns to the movie industry.
The company is still in existence and is currently being run by Syd Stembridge whose father was the nephew of the founder. (Contact information BELOW)
Make A Wish A few months back a friend of mine, Scott Hodges, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Scott, a gun collector and enthusiast, had read with enthusiasm an article in GUNS Magazine, about Stembridge Gun Rental (Oct. ’98). He was hopeful that he could regain his health and make the trek to Southern California to tour the facility.I subsequently contacted Harry Lu at Stembridge. What happened next was truly amazing. Just two weeks before his death, Scott had the thrill of his life. With assistance from Hospice of the Valley, Harry Lu, along with his wife and three children, loaded an RV with his collection and drove to Phoenix..On a lovely Saturday afternoon, Scott and several of his fellow volunteers from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department,
were treated to a rare showing of weapons that have graced the silver screen. The day Scott spent with Harry Lu brought his family many happy memories they will always cherish.Chrystie HeimertPhoenix, Ariz.
A good resource for learning about how some of the Hollywood Blanks made by Stembridge Gun Rentals were used!
10007 .30-06 BY CHRIS PUNNETT – Superb reference for anyone interested in any type of cartridges. 384 pages, hardbound loaded with illustrations of cartridges, and boxes from makers all over the world. Great information including much historical data on the companies that made the cartridges. as well as details on the unbelievable number of variations that exist in this popular collecting specialty. Extensive coverage of U.S. military variations alone is worth the very modest price of this great book.
Title page autographed by the author.
FREE SHIPPING IN U.S.! $59.00
If you would like information on a Stembridge Gun Rental Gun… or anything related to Stembridge Gun Rentals,Please write or call Sydney at the following:
also, here’s a neat article written by Bill Schumm about Stembridge Gun Rentals, and it’s history.
picture from FreeFoto.com
Bridport, an Anglo-Saxon town made famous by its rope making is the largest town in West Dorset. Such was the fame of Bridport rope that those who ended their days on the gallows were said to have been ‘stabbed by a Bridport dagger’. The town is still Britain’s main source for twine.
The town grew up round the rope industry, which developed during the Middle Ages following King John’s request that the townsfolk make ‘night and day as many ropes for ships both large and small and as many cables as you can.’ Hemp and flax were grown locally and its long, straight alleys were once `rope walks where twine and rope were laid in long rope walks extending from the backs of houses as part of a cottage industry.
Bridport and the nearby harbour at West Bay, also dating from the 14th century, reached their peak of prosperity in the 18th and 19th century, corresponding with Britain’s sea power in the age of sail. Many of the houses which can be seen in South Street today were built during this period.
For more than 700 years Bridport has been at the forefront of net-making technology and among a number of local firms, the Bridport-Gundry group is today a world leader in the production of specialist textiles and nets. Bridport made nets are used by fishing fleets all over the world. Bridport-Gundry also make a whole range of other nets, including the arrester nets used by the Space Shuttle, equipment used by leading international airlines and those used at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships
In the town centre a wide range of independent shops, including a number of Antique shops, are complemented by branches of national chains and supermarkets and there is a popular twice-weekly street market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Historically interesting buildings include the Medieval parish church and chantry, the Tudor museum, and the Georgian town hall. The main streets have recently been remodeled and plans are in hand for a major development at West Bay and a light railway is proposed to link the “Bridport Harbour” with the main town.
Situated on the banks of the river, on the southern edge of the town is Britain’s only thatched brewery, Palmers of Bridport. Over two hundred years old, the brewery is very much the traditional, family-run business. The Palmer family took over the brewery in about its fiftieth year, and have been building up the business ever since. But the emphasis has always been on tradition – not only in their attitude towards the brewing process, but also towards their employees and the local community.
First impressions of the brewery, apart from the thatched roof on some of the older buildings, are of its well organized and beautifully functional equipment – lots of lovely Victorian brewing equipment and even a proper copper (they’re usually stainless steel these days). The brewery has always made the most of the river on whose banks it lies. In the past, the beer was transported to its destination by boat, though nowadays the river there is no longer navigable. Power for the brewery has been drawn from the river by means of a water wheel. That is, until a few years ago when the wheel’s huge cast iron shaft broke under the force of the river’s flow. Plans are afoot however to restore it to its former glory.
Here are some LINKs for Bridport, Dorset England:
USAREUR Public Affairs
July 21, 2003
V Corps engineers patrol river
in Saddam’s hometown
Story and photos by Jayme Loppnow, 130th Engineer Brigade Public Affairs
Pfc. Laura Stembridge of V Corps 502nd Engineer Company, 565th Engineer Battalion, keeps a close eye on the banks of the Tigris River in Tikrit. The company has run round-the-clock river patrols since the battalion’s arrival in Saddam Husseins hometown in April.
TIKRIT, Iraq — While combat has wound down in Iraq, the threat to soldiers in this unstable nation is still very real. Which is why V Corpss 502nd Engineer Company, 565th Engineer Battalion, continues to patrol the Tigris River here in the hometown of Saddam Hussein.
The company, along with the 814th Eng. Co. from Fort Polk, La., patrols the river 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep the approximately 2,000 soldiers deployed to Camp Iron Horse safe from enemy attacks along the river.
Recent attacks on a 556-meter floating bridge near the 565th headquarters, which was built as a temporary replacement for a bomb-damaged fixed bridge, make patrolling the river a vital mission for the 502nd. To add to the irony of having U.S. soldiers on patrol here, the bridge was constructed by the battalion April 28 — Saddams birthday — and was named the Birthday Bridge.
The 502nd patrols the area 2 kilometers north of the bridge and the 814th patrols the waters to the south.
In the grand scheme of things I think its more of a presence for us, being on the river and showing that we have control of the area, said Lt. Col. Richard Hornack, the former commander of the 565th. Weve done over 1,000 patrols, but weve never detained anybody. Weve never confiscated any contraband or anything like that. But its because we are doing river patrols 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Soldiers of V Corps 502nd Engineer Company, 565th Engineer Battalion, patrol the Tigris River in Tikrit, Iraq 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When they hear our motors, hopefully that will deter them from anything, said 2nd Lt. Sharon Edens.
The soldiers look for signs of enemy activity, such as loud music at odd hours, and flares, which can pinpoint the locations of troops, said Edens.
The routes and times of the patrols vary to eliminate any predictability.
We dont do the same thing twice, said Hornack. We dont want to become predictable, because as soon as you do, the enemy will track you down and plan an ambush.
Each boat carries an operator, a crew chief, and two soldiers for security, along with an AT-4 antitank weapon, an M-249 5.5-mm machine gun and three M-16 assault rifles.
Pvt.2 Joshua Gauthier, who is part of the patrol team, says the mission is necessary for the safety of the soldiers deployed to the camp.
Due to the recent mortar attacks, the patrols make all the difference, he said.
The 502nd will continue the river patrols for now, said Hornack.
Well do it as long as we here, he said.
Marion Stembridge was a respected as a grocery store owner, but he made his real money by being a banker and a loan shark. He had made almost a million dollars off of forcing poor people to pay outrageous sums of money in interest on loans. Stembridge had mental instability and hyper active behavior. His mother was forced to send him to Central State several times. According to local rumors that were going around, he only married his wife because she was a math teacher at Georgia College and could keep his accounts, but many doubted this because Stembridge could add numbers in his head in no time at all and rarely made mistakes. He supposedly abandoned her and moved into the Baldwin Hotel, but he gave the boarding house he owned to his wife. Whatever really happened, he rented the entire top floor of the Baldwin Hotel and had heavy duty locks replace the originals and kept the only set of keys to himself.
In 1949, a black man named John Cooper had had enough with Stembridge’s outrageous interests rates and dropped off a black, slick sedan at his store. He attached a message that read “You can have this pile of steel for my note.” Stembridge was 61 and was extremely angry with John Cooper’s act. He grabbed his .38 caliber revolver and headed toward Cooper’s home in Shantytown. He took along with him Sam Terry, one of his employees, so he could act as a witness on his behalf just in case anyone saw him. They found him, grabbed him by the T-shirt, and beat him with brass knuckles. Two women came out and tried unsuccessfully to get them off their friend, so Stembridge drew out his .38 caliber revolver and shot wildly wounding both women.
Fleeing for their lives the men made up a story that, in their minds, justified the crime. Terry pleaded that Cooper cursed at them and one of the women pulled out a pistol. Stembridge continued by saying it was plainly self defense. No weapon was found on either one of the ladies. Sam and Marion were accused of murder when one of the women, Emma Johnekin, died in the Richard Binion Clinic. Stembridge was sentenced to 1-3 years of prison. Stembridge appealed the case thinking that he shouldn’t have to spend anytime in jail, and he was freed on bond. Marion hired three attorneys for the case. One was Marion Ennis, a young lawyer, district attorney, and state senator. The other two were Frank Evans and Jimmy Watts. Ennis was uneasy about the case and dropped out. The appeal lasted two days and it was proven without a doubt that the bullet that had killed Emma Johnekin was from Stembridge’s gun. A 12 man jury labeled him guilty of manslaughter, but Stembridge didn’t give up. He appealed to the Georgia courts then to the Supreme Court of the United States. He was then freed because they said he was accused on a prejudiced testimony. Sam Terry had been to court and neither man served time for the crime. Many felt that Stembridge would never be punished because the crime he committed was against blacks.
While Marion Stembridge became richer, Marion Ennis became more and more uneasy about Stembridge not serving anytime in jail. Stembridge had very good political connections and Ennis couldn’t rouse a retrial, so he asked help from Stephen T. “Pete” Bivins. At about this time the Internal Revenue Service discovered that Stembridge had not paid his federal taxes in over 10 years. Two agents went over and Marion fixed them with his famous cold-blooded stare that was said to be able to put a hole right through you. He hesitated and then coolly offered them $10,000 to forget the case, but instead on April 28, 1953, he was convicted of bribery and was ordered to appear for sentencing in a week. The people started gossiping and said that Bivins had turned Stembridge in to the IRS. Bivins and Ennis continued to work on the old manslaughter case until they found evidence of perjury.
May 3, 1953, was the 150th anniversary of the founding of Milledgeville being state capital. This was the first big celebration in Milledgeville. Marion Stembridge, however, wasn’t celebrating. It was two days till he would be sentenced and he knew the judge would send him to prison. As he walked up the stairs from the store cellar, he whistled, nodded to his clerk, and pretended to go invite his mother to go the parade with him. He didn’t go to his mother’s home, but he went to the office of Marion Ennis. Ennis was shocked to see him and without the slightest hint, Marion pulled out his .38 caliber revolver and shot Ennis three times in the shoulder and chest. Ennis died leaving a widow and two young children.
Stembridge hurriedly walked down to Hancock Street and went to the second floor of the Stanford building to the office of the other attorney Pete Bivins. Stembridge again pulled out his gun and fired once hitting him in the chest. Bivins, who was 27, was able to pull out his pistol, but hadn’t the strength to fire it and died. Stembridge then put the pistol in his own mouth and fired, ending his own life along with the two others he had killed.
Peter Dexter wrote Paris Trout, a fictional account based on the Stembridge case, in 1988. It won the National Book Award and was made into a movie in 1991. Residents of the boarding house have reported hearing strange noises in Stembridge’s bedroom. Many believe he is still residing there in spirit.
Reference: Duffey, Barbara. True Ghost Stories of Georgia