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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Robert Lester Blackwell Monument, Roxboro

  • Type

    Statue

  • Subjects

    World War I

    Historic Military Figures

  • City

    Roxboro

  • County

    Person

  • Description

    The monument stands outside of the Person County Courthouse. It is a marble statue depicting Robert Lester Blackwell, a soldier from Person County who died in World War I, and stands 10 feet in height.

    Images: View of the monument in front of the Person County Courthouse | Inscription

  • Inscription

    ROBERT LESTER BLACKWELL / BORN OCT. 4 1895 / SON OF A TENANT FARMER / ON OCTOBER 11, 1918, NEAR ST. SOUPLET, FRANCE / HIS UNIT CO. K. 119TH INF. 30TH DIV. WAS CUT OFF / AND FACED DESTRUCTION. THE OFFICER IN CHARGE / SENT A MAN FOR HELP, HE WAS KILLED, HE SENT / ANOTHER AND HE WAS KILLED, HE THEN CALLED / FOR VOLUNTEERS, LESTER TRIED TO GET THROUGH. / HE LOST HIS LIFE. FOR THIS HE WAS AWARDED / THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR. / SPONSORED BY LESTER BLACKWELL POST 138

  • Custodian

    American Legion Post

  • Dedication Date

    November 11, 1965

  • Decade

    1960s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    36.393580 , -78.983820 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Statue Unveiled at Veterans Day Ceremonies." The Courier Times (Roxboro, NC), November 15, 1965, Sec 2:1

      Bolden, Don. "Statue To Honor War Hero." The Daily Times-News (Burlington, NC), November 9, 1965, Sec B:1

      Center of Military History - United States Army. "World War I," Medal of Honor Recipients (accessed June 3, 2014) Link

      Military Times. "Robert Lester Blackwell" (accessed June 3, 2014) Link

      North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. "World War I Medal of Honor Recipient Robert Blackwell," This Day in North Carolina History (accessed June 3, 2014) Link

      Tuttle, Marcia. 1979. "Blackwell, Robert Lester," NCpedia.org (accessed June 3, 2014) Link

      Waymarking.com. "Robert Lester Blackwell - Roxboro, North Carolina," Smithsonian Art Inventory Sculptures on Waymarking.com (accessed June 3, 2014) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Rowan county granite

  • Sponsors

    American Legion Post

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The Robert Lester Blackwell monument was unveiled at Person County Courthouse on November 11, 1965 in honor of Veteran's Day. Over 200 people attended. The ceremony, sponsored by American Legion Post 138, featured an advance of the colors of the color guard, a prayer by Rev. L. G. Elliot, a pledge to the flag and a performance of the Roxboro Consolidated Band. Additionally, former American Legion Post Commander N. E. David spoke kindly about Blackwell and the ceremony also recognized Blackwell's relatives. James Ramsey act as the featured speaker for the event.

  • Subject Notes

    Robert Lester Blackwell was born on October 4, 1895 in Person County. He was the youngest of James B. Blackwell's six children. His father was both a Civil War veteran and a tenant farmer. Blackwell himself was drafted into the army on September 19, 1917. He was assigned to Company K, 119th Infantry, 13th Division. While on the battlefield near Souplet, France, Blackwell volunteered to carry a message calling for reinforcements despite the imminent danger. He was killed during his efforts, for which he was awarded the only Congressional Medal of Honor given to a North Carolinian at that time. He was also given the Cross of war from Italy and Portugal.

  • Location

    The monument is located at the north corner of the intersection of Abbitt Street and South Main Street in Roxboro, North Carolina.

  • Landscape

    The monument is located on a concrete walkway along the border of a grassy area in front of the courthouse and is also surrounded on either side by trees.

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