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

    Richard Dobbs Spaight (Sr.), New Bern

  • Type

    Plaque

  • Subjects

    Historic Political Figures

    Colonial History

    Revolutionary War, 1775-1783

  • City

    New Bern

  • County

    Craven

  • Description

    A bronze plaque commemorating Richard Dobbs Spaight (Sr.) is attached to a large boulder. The plaque was cast as the front elevation of a Greek revival architectural style building. In relief on the building’s pediment are several components from the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina, to include the state motto” Esse quam videri” meaning "To be, rather than to seem". Also prominent are the figures Liberty and Plenty facing towards each other. A bas-relief eagle in flight is directly below the pediment with the inscriptions appearing below the eagle’s spread wings. This marker was one of three dedicated on the same day and attached to the same boulder, the "Governors Boulder," at the Craven County Courthouse. They honor three men who held that position in North Carolina: Richard Dobbs Spaight (Sr.), Richard Dobbs Spaight (Jr.) and Abner Nash.

  • Inscription

    RICHARD DOBBS SPAIGHT / BORN 1758 – DIED 1802 / EDUCATED IN SCOTLAND AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW; AIDE- / DE-CAMP TO MAJOR GENERAL RICHARD CASWELL DURING / THE REVOLUTION, AND LIEUTENANT-COLONEL COMMANDANT OF / ARTILLERY AFTER THAT WAR; REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BOROUGH / OF NEW BERN FOR FIVE TERMS AND FOR THE COUNTY OF CRAVEN / FOR FOUR TERMS IN THE NORTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF COMMONS; / SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS; STATE SENATOR FOR TWO / TERMS; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, AND OF THE FIFTH AND SIXTH CONGRESSES OF THE / UNITED STATES; MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1787, AND OF / THE NORTH CAROLINA CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1789. / GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA FOR THREE TERMS; MORTALLY / WOUNDED IN DUEL FOUGHT IN 1802. THE FIRST NATIVE NORTH / CAROLINIAN TO HOLD OFFICE OF GOVERNOR.

    ERECTED 1923 BY / THE NORTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL COMMISSION / RICHARD DOBBS SPAIGHT CHAPTER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION / COUNTY OF CRAVEN AND CITY OF NEW BERN

  • Custodian

    Craven County

  • Dedication Date

    June 7, 1923

  • Decade

    1920s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.108020 , -77.038000 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Courthouse, New Bern, N.C." in North Carolina Postcard Collection (P052), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill Link

      "Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr.," Waymarking.com, (accessed April 1, 2017) Link

      "Richard Dobbs Spaight. Born 1758 – Died 1802," The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed April 2017) Link

      Barefoot, Daniel W. Touring North Carolina’s Revolutionary War Sites (Winston Salem, NC: John F. Blair Publisher, 1998), 76-77

      Carraway, Gertrude S. 1994. “Spaight, Richard Dobbs,” NCPedia.org, (accessed February 3, 2017) Link

      “Descendants of 3 Governors Help to Honor Ancestors,” The Morning New Bernian (New Bern, NC), June 8, 1923

      “Scenes at Unveiling of Boulder to Colonial Governors,” The Morning New Bernian (New Bern, NC), June 10, 1923

      “The Memorials to North Carolina’s Early Governors,” The Morning New Bernian (New Bern, NC), June 10, 1923

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze, boulder of Mr. Airy granite

  • Sponsors

    Richard Dobbs Spaight Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, the North Carolina Historical Commission

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The memorial dedications were a featured part of the first annual meeting of the fifth district of the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted by the Richard Dobbs Spaight Chapter. Mrs. Margaret Donnell Nelson, a lineal descendant of the Speights, and little Miss Arabella Cox, a lineal descendant of Abner Nash, performed the unveiling. Much of the ceremony took place in the courtroom with the presentation of a paper on Abner Nash by Frank Nash of Raleigh and a paper on the Speights by Judge Henry A. Grady. Dr. D. H. Hill represented the NC Historical Society. Addresses were also given by member of the D.A.R. and school children. During the ceremony “America,” “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Carolina” were performed.

  • Nickname

    Governors Boulder

  • Location

    The commemorative boulder with three bronze plaques is located in front of the Craven County Courthouse near the intersection of Broad Street and Craven Street. The courthouse address is 302 Broad St, New Bern, NC 28560. Craven County WWI and WWII Memorial stands to the left of the boulder if facing the main entrance to the building.

  • Landscape

    The boulder with commemorative plaques stands on the well-maintained front lawn.

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