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

    Trading Ford, Churchland

  • Type

    Marker

  • Subjects

    Historic Military Figures

    Revolutionary War, 1775-1783

  • City

    Churchland

  • County

    Davidson

  • Description

    The Trading Ford memorial is a 10-foot high and 6-feet wide monolith constructed of stone and masonry with a bronze tablet attached. The tablet 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.

    Above the tablet is a piece of granite with TRADING FORD carved in relief. A short flag pole is atop the memorial and two cannon balls rest on low stone pedestals at either corner of the monolith. A low stone retaining wall forms a square around the memorial. Modern additions include a solar powered spotlight and planters for seasonal flowers.

  • Inscription

    TRADING FORD / GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE / IN HIS MASTERLY RETREAT FROM THE BRITISH ARMY / UNDER LORD CORNWALLIS, CROSSED THE YADKIN AT / TRADING FORD, ONE-HALF MILE EAST OF THIS / SPOT, FEBRUARY 2-3, 1781. A SUDDEN RISE IN THE RIVER / PREVENTED THE PASSAGE OF THE BRITISH AND PERMITTED / THE AMERICAN ARMY TO ESCAPE AND PREPARE FOR THE / BATTLE OF GUILFORD COURT HOUSE.

    ERECTED 1929 BY / THE NORTH CAROLINA HISTORICAL COMMISSION / AND / THE CITIZENS OF DAVIDSON COUNTY

  • Custodian

    Churchland Lions Club and the Trading Ford Historic District Preservation Association

  • Dedication Date

    October 19, 1929

  • Decade

    1920s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.730840 , -80.380550 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      Sixth Biennial Report of the North Carolina Historical Commission: December 1, 1914 To November 30, 1916, (Raleigh, NC: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1916), 41 Link

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

      Bingham, Jr., William H. 2006. “Trading Ford,” NCPedia.org, (accessed July 1, 2017) Link

      “Groups Restore Trading Ford Monument,” Salisbury Post (Salisbury, NC) December 21, 2009, (accessed July 1, 2017) Link

      “The Upper Road,” Ancestry.com, (accessed July 2, 2017) Link

      “Trading Ford Monument,” Trading-ford.org, (accessed July 2, 2017) Link

      “Trading Ford,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed July 1, 2017) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze, local stone and masonry

  • Sponsors

    North Carolina Historical Commission and the Citizens of Davidson County

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Speakers heard at the memorial dedication included Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker; the Rev. Tom A. Sykes of High Point; and Dr. A. R. Newsome, secretary of the N.C. Historical Commission.

  • Subject Notes

    The Trading Ford was a shallow area of the Yadkin River located northeast of Salisbury and was one of the few places where the river could be crossed on foot or horseback. This fact made it a focal point for the movement of people through Piedmont North Carolina for hundreds of years. In February 1781 Trading Ford played a minor role in the Revolutionary War in North Carolina. After the Battle of Cowpens, Patriots under Gen. Nathanael Greene marched north from Charlotte to avoid the British army led by Lord Charles Cornwallis. The Americans arrived at Trading Ford, crossed safely and took any boat they could find with them. The British troops arrived shortly afterward, but rains had caused the Yadkin to rise. Without boats the British could not cross and give chase to the Americans.

    Over time the monument property had become overgrown and the mortar securing the monument’s uppermost stones and the surrounding retaining wall crumbled and the cannon balls stolen. In 2009 after successful efforts to save the monument from highway construction the Churchland Lions Club and the Trading Ford Historic District Preservation Association restored the monument. Replica cannon balls were re-installed; the tablet was washed and a new flag was placed atop the monument. Pansy planters, solar-powered spotlights and a brochure holder rounded out the undertaking.

  • Location

    The memorial marker is located off of Trading Ford Way (State Highway 1138) north of the intersection with Sowers Road near Churchland, NC.

  • Landscape

    The marker stands in a wooded area, with scarce houses and business buildings nearby.

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