WWI Memorial, Lexington
This memorial consists of a bronze tablet mounted on a granite base that lists the names of the thirty-nine residents of Davidson County that died in or as a result of World War I. The monument includes the names of African American soldiers, although they are separated from the list of their white counterparts. Around the base of the memorial are several cannon balls. As early as April 16, 1919, Davidson County wanted to commemorate the service and deaths of those citizens that had fought in WWI. They planned and raised funds for two celebrations, promising the leftover money to the memorial fund. Initial planning began in June of the same year with the meeting of a memorial committee and the idea of creating a memorial hospital. The second of the two planned celebrations never occurred, and the money raised was given to the memorial association. By October of 1921, the association had determined that the memorial would be monument of sorts (not a hospital) placed in Lexington Square, but the plan of the bronze tablet on granite marker was not finalized until December.
•1917• •1919• IN HONOR OF THE / NINE HUNDRED AND THIRTY MEN / OF DAVIDSON COUNTY / WHO SERVED IN THE WORLD WAR / AND / IN MEMORY OF THE / FOLLOWING MEN WHO GAVE THEIR / LIVES FOR THE FLAG / JESSE L. BARKLEY • ODELL BARNES / W.M. BAZEMORE • HARVEY BRILLES / GEORGE W. BROADWAY• C.C. COOK / BEN W. CORNELIUS • FRITZ CREAKMAN / D.C. CULBRETH • JOHN H. EASTER / RAYMOND ELLIOTT • ROBERT LEE FRITTS / ERNEST GURDNER • H.D. HARRIS / CHAS W. HARRISON • N.M. HOPKINS / ARTHUR W. HOWELL • LLOYD IRVIN / ALBERT A. LINEBERRY • CARL LINK / FRED G. LOOKABILL • JOHN CARL MILLER / WILLIAM ALBERT MILLER • JNO. A MYERS / THOMAS GURNEY NANCE • IRA POSTON / NELSON RAYFIELD • ADLAI STEVENSON / HARRISON SULLIVAN • J.R. SURRATT / W.P. SURRATT • OLIVER THOMASON / TRAVIS THOMPSON • HENRY V. TRAYNHAM / ERNEST WEAVER • FRED WELCH / HAYMORE WESTMORELAND / COLORED / WILL HARGRAVE • JAMES FRANKLIN LOPP / •PRO DEO ET PATRIA•
July 4, 1922
35.823980 , -80.252820 View in Geobrowse
“All in Readiness for Unveiling of Soldier Memorial,” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), June 29, 1922
“Memorial Committee to Meet,” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), June 18, 1919 Link
“Memorial Shaft Unveiled with Fine Ceremony,” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), July 6, 1922
“Memorial to Be Unveiled Here Fourth of July,” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), May 25, 1922
“Plans for Memorial to Be Completed Soon,” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), December 22, 1921
“The Presentation and Acceptance of the Memorial,” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), July 6, 1922
“Time for Positive Action,” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), April 16, 1919
“Why No Celebration,” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), November 14, 1919
Granite marker, bronze tablet
The monument was paid for by county, city, and civic organizations. However, the most prolific and active sponsor of the memorial was chairman of the memorial association, J.R. McCrary.
A memorial ceremony to go along with the dedication of this monument was planned by Woman’s Auxiliary of the American Legion for over six months, from the end of December 1921 through July 4, 1922. All planning was documented and reported to the community. The dedication ceremonies were referred to as “notable exercises.”
All veterans in Davidson County were asked to join in the parade that went up Main Street and Sixth Avenue in Lexington held prior to the unveiling. The veterans were the head of the parade, riding in automobiles, followed by the Erlanger marching band. Fraternal and patriotic organizations were included in the parade behind the band; including the American Legion Auxiliary, the Thomasville and Lexington American Legion Posts, P. O. S. of A., and Boy Scouts.
Several thousand people from all over Davidson County attended the ceremony. An address was given by University of North Carolina professor, Frank P. Graham. The monument was unveiled by Capt. C. M. Thompson and Capt. C. W. Trice. The Star Spangled Banner was sung and Major Wade H. Phillips accepted the monument on behalf of the soldiers being honored. Relatives of the World War soldiers were invited and in attendance. Automobile racing and a baseball game were held after the ceremony.
The statue is dedicated to all soldiers from Davidson County that fought in WWI, but especially the thirty-nine that lost their lives.
The Lexington Square located at the intersection of Main and Center streets is home to the Historic Davidson County courthouse along with several memorials and markers. The Confederate Dead monument stands in the southeast quadrant of the square, at the intersection of S Main and E Center streets. The northeat quadrant (intersection of E Center and N Main streets) hosts memorials to Davidson County Vietnam War and Afghanistan Veterans, WWII and Korean Veterans, and WWI Veterans who died in the Great War. A marker to Daniel Boone and Nathanael Greene stands on the northwest quadrant (intersection of W Center and N Main streets) right by Captain Benjamin Merrill and City of Lexington memorials.
Bushes and trees surround the quadrant with memorials.
The marker was originally placed in the center of the northeast quadrant, but was moved to the side in the late 1940s or early 1950s to make room for the World War II marker when it was added.
As it is located in the town square, the monument and its surroundings have been part of many celebrations.