Documenting the American South

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

    William Lee Davidson Arch [Removed], Guilford Courthouse

  • Type

    Arch or Gate

  • Subjects

    Removed Monuments

    Revolutionary War, 1775-1783

  • Creator

    F.J. Nolan, Greensboro, Construction, Builder

  • City

    Greensboro

  • County

    Guilford

  • Description

    This monumental structure, made out of granite blocks consisting of two piers connected by an arch, was reminiscent of a Roman Triumphal Arch. Each pier housed a bronze plaque. The arch, which has since been removed, overlooked a path along the grounds of the Guilford Courthouse. It stood 33 feet high with a width of 28 feet. This arch was one of two identical monuments built on the battleground in 1905 and dedicated in 1906.

    Historic images: Workmen Removing Davidson Arch | Nash and Davidson Arch

  • Inscription

    Right: Brigadier General William Lee Davidson, / Born 1746, killed in the Battle of Cowan’s Ford, / North Carolina, February 1, 1781. / Major, April 15, 1776; Lieut. Colonel, Oct. 4, 1777; Brigadier General, / August 31, 1778. / “On Fame’s Eternal Camping Ground.”

    Left: To the memory of the late Brigadier General Davidson, who commanded the militia of the district of Salisbury in the state of North Carolina, and was killed on the 1st day of February last, fighting gallantly in defense of the liberty and independence of the States.

  • Dedication Date

    July 4, 1906

  • Decade

    1900s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    36.132080 , -79.846070 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Series

    Guilford Courthouse Battleground

  • Supporting Sources

      "1st--Davidson, 2nd--Nash Arches, Guilford Battle Ground, Greensboro, N.C.," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed March 13, 2012) Link

      "Arrangement for the Big Celebration at the Battle Ground," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), June 17, 1903, 1 Link

      "Guilford Battle Ground Affairs," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), June 1, 1903, 1-2 Link

      "Guilford Courthouse: Historic Monument Pictures," National Park Service, (accessed November 30, 2011) Link

      "Turner Statue, Morehead Monument, Davidson & Nash Arches, Greensboro, N.C.," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed September 13, 2013) Link

      A Memorial Volume of the Guilford Battle Ground Company, (Greensboro, NC: Guilford Battleground Company, 1893), 1-27, (accessed February 8, 2012) Link

      Baker, Thomas E. "Early Preservation Efforts" in Redeemed From Oblivion: An Administrative History of Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, (National Park Service, 1995), (accessed February 8, 2012) Link

      Baker, Thomas E. and Michael H. White. The Monuments at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, North Carolina, (Greensboro, NC: Guilford Courthouse NMP, 1991)

      Davidson, Chalmers G. “Davidson, William Lee,” NCPedia.org, (accessed January 23, 2017) Link

      Folder 44a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 27, 37-38, 40-42, 51-56, 59-60, 62-67, 68-74, 77, 78 Link

      Folder 44b in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 15-19, 20-21, 29, 36-39, 44, 57-59, 60-61, 66-67, 70-72 Link

      Folder 44c in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 27-28 Link

      Folder 44c in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 7, 8, 11-21, 44-45, 49-54, 56-59, 62, 64 Link

      Folder 44d in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 1-2, 6, 10-13, 40, 45, 49, 51, 54, 55, 61-62, 64-71 Link

      Folder 44d in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 1-2, 6, 10-13, 40, 45, 49, 51, 54, 55, 61-62, 64-71 Link

      Folder 44d in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 3-4, 16-18 Link

      Folder 45a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 8 Link

      Folder 45a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 17-18, 31, 36, 43-44 Link

      Folder 45a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 17-18, 31, 36, 43-44 Link

      Folder 48a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 63 Link

      Folder 48a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 63 Link

      Folder 49 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 8, 11-12, 18-19, 22 Link

      Folder 50 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 86-87 Link

      Folder 51 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 25-26 Link

      Folder 51 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 61-63 Link

      Folder 52 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 20, 54-55, 72, 75, 77 Link

      Folder 52 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 71, 74 Link

      Folder 53 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 43-44, 57-59, 90, 100 Link

      Folder 54a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 2-6, 10-11, 16-18, 35-36, 77-79, 118-119 Link

      Folder 62c in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 82 Link

      G. E. Sisson, “Guilford Courthouse Battlefield National Military Park,” (Washington, DC: United States Geological Survey, 1934) Link

      Graham, William Alexander. "General William Lee Davidson," (Greensboro, NC: Guilford Battle Ground Co., 1906), (accessed May 25, 2012) Link

      United States Congressional Record. "Nash and Davidson Monuments: Full Text of the Debate Between Congressmen Cannon and Kitchin," from the U.S. Congressional Record, 57th Congress, First Session, Washington, D.C., July 1, 1902, (accessed February 6, 2012) Link

      Van Noppen, Addie. The Battle Field of Guilford Court House, (Greensboro, NC: Jos. J. Stone & Company, 1927), (accessed February 6, 2012) Link

      “Memorial to Two Heroes,” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), July 5, 1906

      “No Drunkenness Is in Greensboro,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), January 6, 1905

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Mt. Airy Granite, bronze tablets

  • Monument Cost

    $5000

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Dedication day saw the unveiling of two identical monuments, one to William Lee Davidson and another to Francis Nash. Col. A.M. Waddell of Wilmington presented a speech on the life of Francis Nash and Major W.A. Graham of Lincoln County spoke on the life of William Lee Davidson.

  • Subject Notes

    William Lee Davidson was a North Carolina militia general during the Revolutionary War. He was born in 1746 and died in 1781 at the battle of Cowan's Ford. He did not fight at the Battle of Guilford Court House.

  • Controversies

    Congress authorized Governor Charles Aycock to select the location for the Nash and Davidson arch; there was concern he would choose a different site in North Carolina. However, the Battle Ground Company successively lobbied the Governor to place it in Guilford County.

  • Landscape

    The land the arch was built on was required by law to be state owned. As such, the footprint of each arch was transferred to the state.

  • Removed

    Yes

  • Former Locations

    Originally, the New Garden Road passed through the arch. However the arch was dismantled in 1937. The pieces of the destroyed monument were used along the park roads.

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