Saturday, February 27, 2010

Justice of the Peace and old lawman

Generally a fan of the scientific process, no such methodology was used in finding a Justice of the Peace to perform the civil ceremony that united David and I in marriage 2 weeks ago. The folks at the courthouse provided a list of three names on a sheet of paper. We took the first one.

Sure, I did Google his name, William Slemp, and came up with almost nothing. There was something faintly reassuring about the listing of a single phone number. It seemed quaint.

The last name on the list came complete with a string of 5 phone numbers in both our area code and the next one over. While this person was probably being thorough, it made it seem like he was busy and maybe just a little hard to reach.

Imagine my surprise when the local paper carried a front page human interest story on William.
Turns out he is 80 years old and just retired from the Sheriff's office last Christmas, having spent 58 years in law enforcement. In the photograph above, he shows a bullet-hole in the police uniform he wore at age 24. Shots were fired at him in 1955, when he interrupted a robbery in progress during night rounds. The bullet struck 2 inches from his heart and nearly killed him

Another of the photographs in the article show Bill shaking the hand of President Harry S. Truman. When he was a deputy U.S. Marshal in Roanoke, Bill had occasion to provide chauffeur services to the president. That photo is faded, but this colorful character carries on, now uniting couples in matrimony in his living room.


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to the newlyweds! Seems like your choice was a good one. How could a ceremony not be blessed having a person of good character, survival and longevity perform it.