Wildcat Highway Marker, Wadesboro
The Wildcat Highway marker is a roughhewn square granite block three-feet wide by three-feet high. A smooth recessed rectangle holds the inscription.
Images: Far-off view of the memorial marker.
WILDCAT / HIGHWAY / ERECTED IN LOVING / MEMORY OF THOSE / WHO SERVED IN / THE WORLD WAR / WAR MOTHERS OF NORTH CAROLINA
City of Wadesboro
June 15, 1930
34.976010 , -80.085550 View in Geobrowse
“American War Mothers,” SNAC (Social Networks and Archival Context), snaccooperative.org, (accessed November 3, 2021) Link
“Call Quest,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), August 4, 1972
“Tablet Honors War Veterans,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), June 17, 1930
“Will Erect Individual Memorials Along “Old Hickory” and “Wildcat” Highways in Memory of Fallen Heroes,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Charlotte, NC), May 17, 1922
“World War Mothers to Honor Memory of War by Appropriate Markers,” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), February 16, 1930
Anson County Chapter, War Mothers of North Carolina
The dedication ceremony began in the Anson County Courthouse with Benjamin Covington presiding. Speakers included World War veteran F. Don Philips, Mrs. C. H. May president of the local War Mothers Chapter and General W.A. Smith commander of the Confederate Veterans. After moving to the memorial site the marker was unveiled by two children, Margaret Bradford and Margaret Wall.
Records of the American War Mothers state that the organization “was founded in response to federal officials impressed with and grateful for the Food Conservation and War Relief Work carried on by mothers of servicemen and women during World War I.” with membership “limited to U.S. women whose children served in the Armed Forces. On September 29, 1917, these officials requested that a permanent War Mothers organization be established.” By Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, two-thirds of the states were organized into chapters. On February 24, 1925, Congress granted the American War Mothers a National Charter. Their purpose was to engage in patriotic works and assist men and women who served and were wounded in American conflicts.
Miss May F. Jones of Asheville is credited with the idea of commemorating the two major routes stretching across North Carolina from the mountains to the coast for those who served during World War One. With the backing of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and the North Carolina Division of American War Mothers, the legislature designated them in 1921 as “memorials to the heroism and valor of all North Carolinians who answered the call...” to serve during World War One. The “Central” Highway (Hwy. 10) was designated as the “Old Hickory Highway” after the 30th Infantry Division. This division’s name honored Andrew Jackson who received the nickname as a reflection of his tenacious and unyielding nature. Men from this division came from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. The “Wilmington-Charlotte-Asheville” Highway (Hwy. 20) was designated as the “Wildcat” Highway after the 81st Infantry Division. During World War One the 81st Infantry Division, nicknamed the “Wildcat” Division, was stationed at Ft. Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. Most of the men in this division came from North Carolina and South Carolina.
The “Old Hickory” Highway began at Paint Rock on the North Carolina-Tennessee line and passed through Asheville, Statesville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Goldsboro and ending at Beaufort, very roughly the course of portions of I-40 and US Highway 70. The “Wildcat” Highway began at the North Carolina-Georgia line passing through Murphy and also on to Asheville, then Shelby, Lumberton and to Wilmington. The route closely follows the path of old US Highway 74. In 1922 much of the route was over unpaved roads and the North Carolina Highway Commission committed to marking these routes as the roads were improved. The efforts languished leaving the War Mothers markers as the only visible memory of the two highways.
Wildcat Division markers were placed in Lake Lure, Gastonia, Charlotte (two), Wadesboro and Wilmington. Old Hickory Division markers were placed in Statesville, Salisbury, Raleigh (two), and Craven County. A marker with a bronze tablet commemorating both divisions was placed at the intersection of the two highways near Asheville.
The marker is located in a triangle-shaped median formed by the intersections of Highway 742, Salisbury Street and N. Main Street in Wadesboro, NC.
The memorial stands on the grass with a large evergreen bush serving as the backdrop to the granite marker.
When dedicated, the marker stood approximately three-quarters of a mile east of the present location at the intersection of Highway 74 and North Washington Street.