HAMLET — The Seaboard City hired its Museum Manager and Downtown Coordinator Stephanie Thornsbury in June, and although she was raised in Hamlet, she’s finding out about the history of the town in her new position.
Her plan is to rotate new and older exhibits in the Hamlet Depot and Museums, so on Aug. 18 the John Fallaw display was placed at the entrance and will remain there for the next two months.
“I lived here all my life and had no idea,” she said about Hamlet’s history. “I thought that would be something fun and bring people in multiple times. Let’s them see something new.”
According to Thornsbury, in May of 1942, then-Hamlet Police Chief John Fallaw received a phone call stating that a man had gone “berserk” and shot people. Upon arriving at the scene, Fallaw was informed that a man named Will Dawkins had shot people and fled onto Oak Avenue. When he arrived on Oak Avenue, he discovered a man with a shotgun walking through a yard heading toward Rice Street. Fallaw proceeded down the street, tracking the man.
A repairman was on a telephone pole while the ensuing incident occurred. According to this witness, the chief approached Dawkins and instructed him to “come along.” Dawkins then replied, “Chief, don’t get out of the car.”
Fallaw remained persistent and instructed Dawkins, again, to come with him. The chief then stepped out of his car and Dawkins pulled the trigger, killing Fallaw instantly.
Fallaw was born on July 12, 1892 and died on May 5 of 1942 in the line of duty. Thornsbury said she couldn’t find an accurate time of when he served as chief of police, but thought it was only for a few years. Regardless, with Fallaw’s gun holster belt — on loan from the Hamlet Police Department — to go along with a photo, Thornsbury is using the exhibit to celebrate Hamlet’s rich history.
Up next on display — when the exhibits rotate again in October — will be a feature on the Hamlet Railers, a minor league baseball team that played in Richmond County until the 1950s. Thornsbury said team members played against baseball legends such as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth when they would come down south on the train for ballgames.
The Hamlet Depot and Museums are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.