Johnston County WWI Doughboy Statue, Smithfield
Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson, Sculptor
The statue is a slightly larger than life-size figure of a World War One Doughboy. He is looking
straight ahead holding a rifle with bayonet attached. He is wearing a helmet, an ammunition
belt with canteen and bayonet scabbard around his waist and a gas mask bag around his neck,
resting on his chest. This statue, of which other examples were produced by the sculptor Theo
Alice Ruggles Kitson, was titled “On Guard.” The statue is supported by a granite plinth on a
double base. A large but simple bronze plaque fills the front of the plinth with a smaller one on
the left side when facing the statue. The statue stands at the street corner on a brick
Images: Close-up view | Rear view | Side view | Front plaque | Side plaque | Sculptor signature | View of memorials in front of the Johnston County Courthouse
Front Inscription: IN MEMORY / OF THE ILLUSTRIOUS DEAD OF JOHNSTON COUNTY / WHO DIED
IN THE GREAT WORLD WAR 1917-1918
[Left column] JESSE ALFORD / MAINE BAILEY / WILLIAM CLARENCE BARBOUR / JACKSON W. BARHAM / DAVID REXFORD BEST / HUBERT L. BRIDGERS / LESTER ALTON BUNCH / AKRIEL G. BYRD / HUGH COATS / OTHO DURHAM / GEORGE EXUM / EUGENE GALLION / GEORGE W. GALLOWAY / JAMES REXFORD GLOVER / MAUDIUS GODWIN / GRAY HAMILTON / PEARLIE H. HARRIS / HERMAN HIGGINS / BUCK HILL / JOSEPH HOLDEN / JOHN HOOD / CHARLES JOHNSON / HENRY LANDGLEY / FABIAN LEE / IRA B. LEE / [Right column] JOHN R. MASSEY / LEONARD MOORE / MILLARD T. PARRISH / RAYMOND J. PARTIN / JESSE PERRY / JOHN PERRY / JOSEPH LEE PIERCE / EPHIRAM PITTMAN, JR. / EDWIN SMITH POU / GEORGE WRIGHT SMITH / NEAL HENRY SMITH / HENRY SOUTHARD / WALTER STEVENS / DAVID THOMAS STRICKLAND / MARVIN L. STUCKEY / CHARLIE WALL / JOSEPH W. WALL / WILLIAM WALLACE / WALTER E. WATSON / WILBERT F. WELLONS / LOUIS F. WISE / CROWELL WOODARD / PRESTON WOODARD / JOSEPH SHADE WOOTEN
MANKIND HAS EVER REVERED HEROIC VALOR AND PAID HIGHEST / TRIBUTE TO THOSE IN WHO IN LIFE’S TESTING TIME PROVED WELL / THEIR CLAIM TO THE NOBLEST MANHOOD COURAGEOUS SERVICE IN / LIFE AND A GLORIOUS DEATH ESTABLISHED YOUR RIGHT TO THIS / PROUD DISTINCTION AND MADE HUMANITY YOUR ETERNAL DEBTOR. / HONOR ROLL
Side: THIS MEMORIAL ERECTED BY / COUNTY COMMISSIONERS / 1925 – 1926 / REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE OF / JOHNSTON COUNTY / AT SOLICITATION OF / AMERICAN LEGION
November 11, 1926
35.511730 , -78.347330 View in Geobrowse
Liss, Ken. “From Snow Sculptures To The Paris Salon And Beyond,” Muddy River Musings, (Accessed April 23, 2016) Link
“Beautiful Monument Dedicated at Smithfield,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), November 12, 1926
“On Guard,” Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums, http://siris-artinventories.si.edu, (accessed April 24, 2016) Link
Johnston County Commissioners
Rain forced the ceremony into the courthouse which only held a third of those who came to witness the activities. Professor Albert Coats a Johnson County native and a member of the law faculty at the University of North Carolina provided the dedication speech. The Armistice Day speech was delivered by Congressman John H. Kerr. Despite the rain the day featured a parade and fireworks during the evening. A barbecue dinner was served at the Armory.
In 1895 Theo A. R. Kitson became the first woman admitted to National Sculpture Society. She specialized in robust war memorials and became one of the leading sculptors of war memorials in the United States. She is best known for “The Hiker” a monument commemorating turn of the 20 th century American conflicts, the Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War and the Boxer Rebellion. About 50 versions of this work appear across the United States. Between 1902 and 1920 she produced more than 60 statues, busts and reliefs at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi.
The statue is located at the corner of E. Market and S. 2nd Streets in Smithfield, NC. It stands on the front lawn, to the right of the main entrance to the Johnston County courthouse. The courthouse grounds also hold Veterans Memorial, a plaque commemorating General Lee's surrender at Appomattox, a memorial listing Johnston County war dead since World War Two, a memorial flagpole to World War Two and Korean War dead, and World War One Memorial Drinking Fountain.
The statue stands on the front lawn under shady mature trees.