Confederate Monument, Pittsboro
A Confederate soldier made of sheet copper stands erect atop a multi-block granite pedestal. The soldier is clad in a Confederate uniform, complete with slouch hat, and holds his rifle in front of him, its butt rusting on the ground. The monument is 27 feet tall.
Images: The monument is taken down on November 20, 2019.
Front: TO THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS OF CHATHAM COUNTY / OUR CONFEDERATE HEROES
Side: THIS MONUMENT IS THE GIFT OF THOSE WHO / RESERVE THE MEMORY OF THE CONFEDERATE / SOLDIER. ERECTED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE WINNIE / DAVIS CHAPTER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF THE / CONFEDERACY. MRS. H.A. LONDON / PRESIDENT / AUG. 23 1907.
Rear: CHATHAM FURNISHED 1900 / SOLDIERS TO THE CONFEDERACY / ABOUT 14-50 ENLISTED IN THE FOLL- / OWING COMPANIES ORGANIZED IN THIS / COUNTY / CO. I-32 REGIMENT / E 26 / G 26 / D 35 / E 44 / G 48 / D 61 / E 63 / G 63 / H 70 D 49 / ABOUT 450 SONS OF THE CHATHAM ENLISTED IN COMPANIES / ORGANIZED IN OTHER COUNTIES.
August 23, 1907
35.720510 , -79.177160 View in Geobrowse
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Mount Airy granite and stamped copper
Winnie Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy
North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Clark was the orator and was introduced by Mr. Henry London. The statue was presented by Mrs. H. A. London and received by Lieutenant O. A. Hanner. Colonel John R. Lane served as Chief Marshall for the occasion.
Although the contract signed between C.J. Hulin and the Winnie C. Davis Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy specified a “bronze statue…of standard government bronze,” as delivered it was a “7 ft. statue, No 8678… in sheet copper, antique bronze finish,” manufactured by W.H. Mullins Company. It is almost identical to the statue placed in Warren County in 1913 which was a model No. 8678-A. Stamped copper statues were inexpensive compared to bronze but often passed off as such. It was also not announced that these statues had been manufactured in a Northern factory.
Following the massacre of nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015 by white supremacist Dylann Roof, Americans, especially southerners, have reflected on and argued over the historical legacy of slavery, the Civil War, the Confederacy, and white supremacy. Monuments have been a particular focus of these debates and controversies, especially after the death of a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 and after President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to the removal of Confederate memorials. Despite laws in many southern states intended to prevent or impede the removal or relocation of historical monuments, protesters and local community leaders have removed or relocated controversial monuments associated with slavery, the Confederacy, and white supremacy. The pace of the removal of controversial monuments accelerated sharply in 2020, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Against the backdrop of protests against police brutality and white supremacy across the nation, local authorities in many communities in North Carolina removed and/or relocated monuments that were the focus of civil unrest.
Beginning in March 2019, protesters against and for removal of this statue began gathering in Pittsboro almost every Saturday. Over time the protests began to grow larger and more violent. As concerns for public safety grew and costs for protecting the statue and policing the protests mounted (upwards of $140,000), county officials voted to remove the monument. A lawsuit was then brought by the Winnie Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) which contended that the monument was public property and removing it violated the 2015 North Carolina Heritage Protection Act. Chatham county’s response was that a 1907 license permitting the UDC to erect the statue at the courthouse stated that the monument would “remain in the care and keeping” of the group. As such, the county argued that it could lawfully terminate the license and declare the monument a public trespass. On November 13, 2019 North Carolina Superior Court Judge Susan Bray denied the United Daughters’ motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the county from removing the monument. Judge Bray ruled that the organization failed to show that it was likely to win the case. Despite the statue removal, further litigation was initiated.
The statue was placed in storage in Greensboro until its disposition could be determined.
The monument stood on a brick walkway that led into the front entrance of the Chatham Country Courthouse, at 40 E. Chatham St, Pittsboro, NC. Geo coordinates: 35.72051, -79.17716
Mrs. Henry A. London wrote 1600 letters during a 3 ½ year period campaigning to get the statue.