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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Elizabeth Maxwell Steel, Salisbury

  • Type

    Plaque

  • Subjects

    Historic Women Figures

    Revolutionary War, 1775-1783

  • City

    Salisbury

  • County

    Rowan

  • Description

    The Elizabeth Maxwell Steele memorial is a bronze tablet with an arched top attached to the old Rowan County Courthouse. In relief above the inscription is the Spinning Wheel symbol of the Daughters of the American Revolution and 13 stars.

  • Inscription

    THIS TABLET IS ERECTED / TO THE MEMORY OF / ELIZABETH / MAXWELL STEELE / PATRIOT / BY THE / ELIZABETH MAXWELL STEELE / CHAPTER / DAUGHTERS OF THE / AMERICAN REVOLUTION / 1781-1911

  • Custodian

    Rowan County

  • Dedication Date

    October 11, 1911

  • Decade

    1910s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.668530 , -80.468800 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Female patriotism--Mrs. Steele & Genl. Green [i.e. Greene]." New York Public Library Digital Collections, Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library Link

      "Main St., from Council to Inniss [Innes] St., Salisbury, N.C." in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill Link

      Rumple, Jethro. A History of Rowan County, North Carolina 1891 (Charlotte, NC: Observer Printing House, 1916), 206-209, photo on 209, (accessed June 21, 2017) Link

      UNTITLED, The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), October 9, 1911, 5

      West, William S. 1994. “Steel, Elizabeth Maxwell,” NCPedia.org, (accessed June 15, 2017) Link

      “Bronze Tablet Unveiled This Evening,” Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, NC), October 11, 1911

      “Elizabeth Maxwell Steele,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed June 15, 2017) Link

      “Nathanael Greene Finds Fortification at Steel’s Tavern,” History.com, (accessed June 15, 2017) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze

  • Sponsors

    Elizabeth Maxwell Steele Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The dedication service began with a prayer prior to two children, Mary Henderson and Janet Quinn, unveiling the tablet. After remarks by D.A.R. State Regent, Mrs. William Reynolds Winston, an address was given by Theodore F. Kluttz.

  • Subject Notes

    Elizabeth Maxwell Steel was a Salisbury innkeeper and Revolutionary War heroine. As reflected by surviving letters she was an ardent Patriot and a strong-willed, self-sufficient woman. According to legend and unverified secondary sources, Steele provided lodging and a gift of three bags of coin to a despondent General Nathanael Greene during the 1780–81 Cornwallis campaign in western North Carolina. Her son is the Federalist statesman John Steele.

    The story of Steel and General Greene was commemorated in a painting by Alonzo Chappel and an engraving, Female Patriotism, based on the painting by J.B. Hall.

  • Location

    The tablet is attached to the outside wall of the Old (1801) Rowan County Courthouse to the right of the entrance. The courthouse building now houses Rowan Museum, located on the 200 block of North Main Street (U.S. 29) at the intersection with West Council Street. The Rowan County World War I Memorial stands nearby in front of the modern Rowan County Courthouse (to the right of the historic courthouse if facing the building.)

  • Landscape

    The Rowan Museum (historic courthouse building) is surrounded by lawn, with a few trees planted along the North Main Street.

  • Former Locations

    When dedicated the tablet was located on the “left granite abutment at the entrance to Smith’s Drugstore” which stood near the site of Steele’s Tavern.

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