Kings Mountain U.S. Monument, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Blacksburg (SC)
Southern Marble & Granite Company, Foundry
McKim, Mead, and White, Architect
Constructed of white granite from the Mount Airy quarry in North Carolina, the U.S. Monument towers 83 feet high above Battleground Ridge and rests on a two-stepped marble base (16’ x 3” squared). The interior of the obelisk is hollow, and the white marble bricks are contrasted against dark mortar. The diagonals of the obelisk roughly correspond to the four cardinals of the compass. And on each side of the monument are bronze tablets that dedicate the monument to the patriot victory at Kings Mountain, discuss the significance of the battle, list the American and British commanders, and list the Americans killed in battle.
Bas-relief, or low-relief, sculpture flanks each of the tablets. On the north and south sides of the obelisk are sculptures of two seated women in profile wearing flowing Greco-Roman dress. The figure on the right grasps a sword and a laurel wreath, symbols of martyrdom and victory. On the left, the female figure holds a palm frond, a symbol of peace, in her right hand while her left rests on her shoulder, exposing her breast. The east and west sides of the monument portray sprigs of pine, representing immortality.
Images: Contemporary view | Historic postcard image | Historic postcard image
AMERICAN FORCES / WHERE ORGANIZED COMMANDER / WASHINGTON COUNTY, V.A. COLONEL WILLIAM CAMPBELL / WASHINGTON COUNTY, N.C. (NOW TENN.) COLONEL JOHN SEVIER / SULLIVAN COUNTY, N.C. (NOW TENN) COLONEL ISAAC SHELBY / NINETY SIX DISTRICT, S.C. / AND ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. / COLONEL JAMES WILLIAMS / WILKES AND SURREY COUNTIES, N.C. / COLONEL BENJAMIN CLEVELAND / MAJOR JOSEPH WINSTON / LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. / LT. COL. FREDERICK HAMBRIGHT / MAJOR WILLIAM CHRONICLE / BURKE AND RUTHERFORD COUNTIES, N.C. / MAJOR JOSEPH MCDOWELL / YORK AND CHESTER COUNTIES, S.C. (THEN PART OF CAMDEN DISTRICT) / COLONEL EDWARD LACEY / COLONEL WILLIAM HILL / GEORGIA / MAJOR WILLIAM CANDLER / RESERVES / COLONEL JAMES JOHNSTON / NOTE: COLONEL CHARLES MCDOWELL THE REGULAR COMMANDER OF THE BURKE AND / RUTHERFORD COUNTY REGIMENT WAS ABSENT FROM THE BATTLE ON A SPECIAL / MISSION TO GENERAL GATES / BRITISH FORCES / COMMANDERS / MAJOR PATRICK FERGUSON (K) CAPTAIN ABRAHAM DE PEYSTER
North face: TO COMMEMORATE THE VICTORY / OF / KING’S MOUNTAIN / OCTOBER 7, 1780 / ERECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT / OF THE / UNITED STATES / TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF WHICH / THE HEROISM AND PATRIOTISM OF / THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS / BATTLE SO LARGELY CONTRIBUTED
East face: KILLLED / COL. JAMES WILLIAMS 2ND LT. NATHANIEL DRYDEN PRIVATE HENRY HENIGAR / LT. COL. JAMES STEEN “ ANDREW EDMONSON “ MICHAEL MAHONEY / MAJ. WILLIAM CHRONICLE “ NATHANIEL GIST “ ARTHUR PATTERSON / CAPT. WILLIAM EDMONSON “ HUMBERSON LYON “ WILLIAM RUFF / “ JOHN MATTOCKS “ JAMES PHILLIPS “ JOHN SMART / 1ST LT. WILLIAM BLACKBURN PRIVATE THOMAS BICKNELL “ DANIEL SISKE / “ REECE BOWEN “ JOHN BOYD “ WILLIAM STEELE / “ ROBERT EDMONSON, SR. “ JOHN BROWN “ WILLIAM WATSON / 2ND LT. JOHN BEATTLE “ DAVID DUFF “ UNKNOWN / “ JAMES CORREY “ PRESTON GOFORTH / MORTALLY WOUNDED / CAPT. JOHN SEVIER 1ST LT. THOMAS MCCULLOUGH 2ND LT. JAMES LAIRD / PRIVATE MOSS HENRY / WOUNDED / LT. COL. FREDERICK HAMBRIGHT 1ST LT. ROBERT EDMONSON, JR. PRIVATE WILLIAM GILMER / MAJ. MICHAEL LEWIS “ J.M. SMITH “ ISRAEL HAYTER / “ JAMES PORTER PRIVATE BENONI BANNING “ ROBERT HENRY / CAPT. JAMES DYSART “ WILLIAM BRADLEY “ LEONARD HYCE / “ SAMUEL ESPY “ WILLIAM BULLEN “CHARLES KILGORE / “ WILLIAM LENOIR “ JOHN CHILDERS “ ROBERT MILLER / “ JOEL LEWIS “ JOHN CHITTIM “ WILLIAM MOORE / “ MOSES SHELEY “ WILLIAM COX “ PATRICK MURPHY / “ MINOR SMITH “ JOHN FAGAN “ WILLIAM ROBERTSON / 1ST LT. ROBERT EDMONSON, JR. “ FREDERICK FISHER “ JOHN SKEGGS / “CHARLES GORDON “ WILLIAM GILES / “ SAMUEL JOHNSON “ ---- GILLELAND / 24 UNKNOWN
South face: ON THIS FIELD THE PATRIOT FORCES / ATTACKED AND TOTALLY DEFEATED / AN EQUAL FORCE OF TORIES AND / BRITISH REGULAR TROOPS. / THE BRITISH COMMANDER MAJOR / PATRICK FERGUSON WAS KILLED / AND HIS ENTIRE FORCE CAP- / TURED AFTER SUFFERING HEAVY / LOSS. THIS BRILLANT VICTORY / MARKED THE TURNING POINT OF / THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
National Park Service, Kings Mountain National Military Park
October 7, 1909
35.142580 , -81.380630
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De Van Massey, Gregory. An Administrative History of Kings Mountain National Military Park, (U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Southeast Region, 1995)
Draper, Lyman Copeland, Allaire, Anthony, and Shelby, Isaac. King’s Mountain and Its Heroes: History of the Battle of King’s Mountain, October 7th 1780, and the Events which Led to It, (Cincinnati: Peter G. Thomson, 1881) Link
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Kings Mountain Centennial Association, United States Government
Colonel Ashbury Coward of Orangeburg, SC called the dedication ceremony for the US Monument in order at 10:30 AM on Thursday, October 7, 1909. Thousands congregated around the grandstand and monument with bands playing celebratory music. Several prominent individuals were in the audience, including Senator Lee S. Overman of North Carolina, Senator Smith from South Carolina, and General Julian S. Carr. The Kings Mountain chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held charge of the event, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy assisted in distributing pamphlets and cards. After initial remarks by Colonel Coward, President S.C. Mitchell of South Carolina University led the invocation. This was followed by a rendition of the “Kings Mountain Centennial Lyric,” written by Mrs. Clara Dargan Maclean, arranged to music by Professor Linebach, and performed by the Yorkville band under the direction of Professor R. J. Herndon. Governor Marin F. Ansel of South Carolina took the podium winning over the crowd with his “pleasing and happy manner.” Governors W. W. Kitchin of North Carolina, M. R. Patterson of Tennessee, and J. E. Brown of Georgia followed suit. Next came an oration by Dr. Henry N. Snyder, president of Wofford College and the the D.A.R.’s selection for an oration. And finally Congressman D. E. Finley of South Carolina and Honorable R. N. Page, who spoke on behalf of Congressman E. Y. Webb, offered their own words. After three and a half hours of speeches, the dedication ceremony concluded with a doxology and benediction.
The following morning, Friday, October 8, 1909, at 9 a.m. the combined North and South Carolina National Guard recreated the battle under the command of General J. C. Boyd Adjutant General of South Carolina. The North Carolina troops were from Dallas under the command of Colonel J. T. Gardner of the First Battle Field Artillery National Guard of North Carolina, with additional assistance from Captain Robertson and Captain A. L. Ballwinkle. Colonel W. W. Lewis commanded the South Carolina provisional regiment which consisted of First and Second Infantry National Guard companies from Greenville, Cornwell, Rock Hill, Columbia, Camden, Fort Mill, and Spartanburg.
McKim, Mead and White, a prominent New York architectural firm, were hired in 1906 to design the United States Monument at Kings Mountain. Better known for their beaux-arts inspired public buildings such as Penn Station, Mckim, Mead, and White also created public monuments. While the U.S. Monument is one of the firm’s less complex designs, it maintains their aesthetic perspective with a strong profile and form over ornamentation. Careful consideration was taken for materials selection, construction, and presentation, resulting in a fine example of early twentieth-century monumental architecture.
In September 1907, it had been decided that the monument would take the shape of an obelisk. Two years earlier, McKim, Mead, and White had designed the Saint Mary's Falls Canal 50th Anniversary Memorial Obelisk in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, a smaller-scaled obelisk that likely served as the architectural inspiration for the U.S. Monument. The decision to erect an obelisk at Kings Mountain reflects the cultural fascination with Ancient Egypt during the nineteenth century. Since its origins in Ancient Egypt, the obelisk has been seen as a symbol of reverence, dominance, and patriarchy.
The intended height of the monument changed from 115 feet to 83 feet due to problems with the foundation. In addition, the tablets were not ready in time for the installation of the monument on June 12, 1909, a fact noted by the press at the time. They were subsequently installed on January 19, 1910.
The monument resides on Battleground Ridge in the northeastern part of the part at the park's highest point, and it stands in line with the Centennial Monument.
The monument is located in a clearing at the top of the heavily forested ridge.
The site has been the focus of annual Fourth of July celebrations that include eighteenth-century military encampments, musket demonstrations, and fireworks.
The design of the monument was approved under the authority of the Secretary of War of the U.S. Government.