Governor John Ellis, Salisbury
The obelisk dedicated to the North Carolina’s first Civil War governor stands roughly 10 feet tall and was originally topped with a cross. It was described as “of fine marble, very nicely polished,” with a granite base. Inscriptions appear on all four sides of the plinth.
Images: Front inscription | Left inscription | Rear view
Front: ERECTED / AS AN / AFFECTIONATE MEMENTO, / OF THE / MANY VIRTUES, / AND NOBLE ATTRIBUTES / OF THE LATE / GOV. JOHN W. ELLIS: / BY MR. AND MRS. PHILO WHITE / AND OTHER RELATIVES: / 1874
Front base: GOV. ELLIS
Left side: GOV. ELLIS / WAS EDUCATED AT THE UNIVERSITY / OF NORTH CAROLINA: HE ADOPTED / THE PROFESSION OF THE LAW AT HIS / GRADUATION, WAS TWO YEARS A MEMBER / OF THE LEGISLATURE; NINE YEARS A / JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURTS; TWICE / ELECTED GOVERNOR, AND DIED AT FOR- / TY ONE YEARS OF AGE, WHILE YET IN / OFFICE AS EXECUTIVE OF THE STATE. / IN THE VARIED OFFICIAL POSITIONS, / AS IN THE OFFICIAL RELATIONS OF LIFE, / HE EVINCED A HIGH ORDER OF TALENT, / OF MORAL WORTH AND OF PATRIOTIC / DEVOTION TO THE BEST INTEREST OF HIS / NATIVE STATE.
Right side: “THE MEMORY OF THE JUST IS BLESSED.”
Rear: IN COMMEMORATION / OF THE / LIFE AND PUBLIC SERVICES / OF / JOHN W. ELLIS / WHO WAS / BORN IN ROWAN CO. N.C. / NOV. 23, 1820 / AND / DIED JULY 7, 1861.
The City of Salisbury Cemetery Division
35.670080 , -80.468900 View in Geobrowse
John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 (bulk 1844-1865), #242, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link
Tolbert, Noble J. 1986, “Ellis, John Willis,” NCPedia.org, (accessed November 15, 2019) Link
“A Fine Monument.” Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, NC), July 23, 1874
“John Willis Ellis,” Find A Grave, findagrave.com, (accessed November 15, 2019) Link
On 1 Jan., 1861, John Willis Ellis (1820-1861) was formally installed as North Carolina’s governor for a second term. On May 20, 1861, the state seceded from the Union. His tenure as North Carolina’s first Civil War governor was brief as he died on July 7, 1861, having been in poor health for some time.
The obelisk is located at the Old English/Freedman’s Cemetery, at 220 N. Church Street, Salisbury, NC.
The memorial is surrounded by tombstones.