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Up Organizations Police, Rescue Town Government

Police and Fire Department and Rescue Squad

Police Department

In the late 1850's John C. Moore was a Magistrate for either the township or county; and during that period of time John Al McGinnis was a Constable. Both men lived in the area of Stanley near Hoyle's Creek.

Charles L. Gattis was appointed in 1883 as Town Magistrate for Brevards Station, probably the first for the town.

Marcus A. Turbyfill was the Police Chief in Stanley in 1911 and it was his duty to collect the taxes due as well as keep all the bridges, roads, and railway crossings in repair. Mr. Turbyfill was paid $2.00 for his police work on Picnic Day plus $1.50 for five subpoenas served. Ned Cannon was paid $1.00 for his services as assistant Marshall on Picnic Day.

In September, 1911 Marcus A. Turbyfill resigned his position of Police Chief and Julius C. Gaston was appointed Chief.

Changes in Police Force

In February of 1912 Julius C. Gaston tendered his resignation as Police Chief. James A. Rankin, who was the town tax collector, was appointed Town Marshall for the unexpired term of John C. Gaston.

In December of 1912 A. C. Taylor was appointed as an assistant policeman for the Christmas Holiday.

James A. Rankin was re-elected as Town Marshall in May of 1913, however, he resigned shortly thereafter. Henry Michael Summerow was elected Building Inspector. John Bunyon Bennett was then elected Town Marshall and Tax Collector. At that time the town board decided to purchase for the policeman a billy club, pistol and a badge. His duties included the new position of Sanitary Policeman, to replace Mr. Summerow who apparently resigned. It was his responsibility to visit every home in town, inspect the outdoor closets at these homes each month, and report to the town board the sanitary conditions therein.

In July of 1913 Mr. Bennett resigned and George W. Stone was elected as the new Town Marshall. Mr. Stone resigned the position in October of 1913 and his replacement was Conrad G. Derr. On November 9, 1914 Samuel Mauney was elected as Town Policeman, replacing Conrad G. Derr, at a salary of $30.00 per month, plus commission for collecting taxes. His responsibilities also included repairing the railroad "bridges" or crossings in town.

Arthur G. Lay was elected Town Marshall on September 16, 1918. His responsibilities were that of tax collector as well as keeping the railroad bridges and town roads in good repair. Mr. Lay held that position until January of 1922 when S. W. Broom accepted the position as Chief Marshall. Mr. Broom resigned several months later and Arthur Lay resumed the duties except this time he did not have the responsibility of street repair. In the May election of 1923 J. Benjamin Wallace was elected Chief Town Marshall and Street Commissioner. Ben Wallace resigned in 1923 and C. I C. dark was elected to fill the position. Then in November of 1923 J. G. Colvin was elected Chief Marshall with a salary of $75.00 per month.

After J. G. Colvin, Mr. Jim V. Stroupe was elected as Chief Town Marshall, (in 1925). Chief Stroupe didn't drive a car so James Cleveland Jamison (father of Catherine Jamison Bennett and Paul Jamison) drove him around on his police calls.

On July 22, 1932 it was reported in the Gastonia Gazette that "Officer J. V. Stroupe and his deputy, Ralph Handsel have been on some traces as to the source of homebrew that has been reported as being brought here of late."

The Gastonia Gazette of July 30, 1932 reported that "Thieves entered the meat house of J. B. Lutz, aged eighty five, farmer on route one, last night and carried off several hams and five bushels of potatoes. J. V. Stroupe chief of police, is on some hot trails."
Police Chief Ralph Handsel (right) and Deputy Jim Rutledge after an arrest in which a large amount of "white lightnin" was confiscated

Ralph Handsel was made Police Chief on 12 May 1941. (See "Ralph Handsel") James L. "Jim" Rutledge was retained as an assistant policeman on 4 November 1946 and for many years he and the chief were the town's "police force."

The town of Stanley purchased from Dr. B. G. Weathers property on the corner of Main and Carpenter Streets, on which to build a new Police Department and Town Hall. (This property was part of the Sally A. Finger estate). The date of purchase was 13 March 1946 and the Town Hall and Police Department were built shortly thereafter.


First Police Car

The first police car owned by the Town of Stanley was purchased in the early 1950's from "Speedy" Taylor Motors in Mount Holly, a 1951 Ford. Up until that time police officers drove their own automobiles. The town purchased a new police car in March of 1959. The new car was equipped with a new Transistor Power Supply Radio and the radio from the old police car was placed in the fire engine.

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In October of 1988 Stanley's Police Chief, Ralph Handsel, at age 81, was recognized as the oldest Police Chief in the United States. He retired at the end of December 1988 after serving on the Police Force 56 years.

See Ralph Handsel

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Stanley Volunteer Fire Department

In the early 1900's the Town Marshall of Stanley Creek, in addition to his other duties, was responsible for keeping the fire engine in running condition.

In December 1911, the town of Stanley purchased a new fire engine from the Ajax Fire Engine Company, possibly the first fire engine owned by the town. It was a two wheel vehicle with a tank for holding water. The quantity of water held was not large, hardly sufficient to extinguish most fires. Horses were often times used but usually men pushed or pulled this engine to the location of the fire.
Standing near Stanley's 1935 Dodge Fire Engine are some of the members of the Volunteer Fire Department. Chief Ralph Handsel, George Derr, Vip Lineberger, Oliver Shook, Stewart Dellinger and Burle W. Ballard.

The actual Volunteer Fire Department as an organized unit was begun on May 5, 1935. Ralph Handsel, the Police Chief, was elected as the Fire Chief. That year the department purchased a 1935 Dodge Truck which was equipped with hoses and fire fighting equipment but no water tank or pumps.

Stanley's Fire Department received approval on 11 August 1949, from the Town Board to purchase a new fire engine. Two years prior, the grade school burned to the ground. The old 1935 Dodge fire engine wouldn't start so it had to be pushed down the hill to the fire.

The new 1949 Ford Fire Engine, unlike the 1935 engine, was equipped with a tank for carrying water to the location of fires.

At that time the new town hall was built with a bay for the fire engine which faced out to South Main Street.

Stanley Civil Defense Rescue Squad

The "Cold War" during the 1950's threatened to expose the world to a nuclear attack. All around the country civil defense agencies were established to form rescue squads in case of war. Stanley's Squad was organized in October of 1959 by Bill Withers, Emmett Canipe and J. R. Lowe. Bill Withers and Emmett Canipe took high-angle, civil defense type, rescue training with Ronald Heafner and Buddy Carothers at Gastonia. They came back to Stanley, put together the Stanley crew and spent about a year training them. Walt Hyde was the Red Cross instructor. All members were very well trained, even by today's standards. Luckily the squad was never needed for nuclear attack and in short time it was recognized that their great need was for emergency medical rescue in and around Stanley.

The first vehicle the squad began with was a used 1941 International Mail Truck which had over 300,000 miles on it. In attempts to obtain another, better truck squad members donated $.50 a week as well as received donations from other supporters and eventually were able to purchase a 1963 GMC Panel Truck for $3,400. AT that time Stanley's was "one of the few functioning rescue squads in the entire United States."

The first meetings were held in the back room of the Stanley City Hall and the first officers elected were the following:
Bill Withers, Chief - Emmett Canipe, Captain - J. R. Lowe, Lieutenant - Hollis Grindstaff, Lieutenant - Carson Mauney, Sergeant - Jim Handsel, Sergeant - Jim Murphy, Sergeant - Charles Withers, Sergeant

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Stanley Rescue Chief Bill Withers

William Smith "Bill" Withers is the only Chief the Stanley CD Rescue Squad ever had. When Bill retired in 1993 the squad voted to change the by-laws and the "Chief" title was to remain his as long as he lives and will then go to the grave with him. This honor was installed upon him "in recognition for the work in building the squad to its current status, for his efforts in saving lives and in directing others to save lives, for his leadership that has spread to rescue squads throughout the county and his role in forming a countywide emergency medical team. Other officers, captain, lieutenant, and sergeant, will continue to be voted upon by the members."
Bill, the son of John Withers and Mary Smith, grew up just past the South Fork River toward Dallas. After graduating from Belmont Abbey College he became Stanley's Town Clerk and held that position for several years. He was mayor of Stanley for two and a half terms. Bill is a businessman practicing his profession as a tax accountant and also owns a restaurant "The Little Big Horn" at the location of the old homeplace, as well as manager of another restaurant he owns, "The Woodshed" in the town of Stanley.
In November of 1966 Bill Withers was chosen as Stanley's Man of the Year."

Up Organizations Police, Rescue Town Government

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