Edgecombe County Confederate Monument, Tarboro
The monument consists of a tall granite column standing on a pedestal. At the top of the column stands a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier, who wears a hat and rests both his hands on his rifle. The rifle's stock is planted on the ground in front of the soldier. At the base of the monument are symbols of the Confederacy, including the rebel flag inside a cross and the seal of the Confederate States of America.
Images (courtesy of HMdb.org, photos by Craig Swain): Front of the memorial | Back of the memorial
Front: ERECTED IN HONOR OF / THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS / OF / EDGECOMBE COUNTY / ‘DEFENDERS OF STATE SOVEREIGNTY.’ 1861 C.S.A. 1865
Rear: ERECTED OCT. 29, 1904
October 29, 1904
35.900440 , -77.535970 View in Geobrowse
"Town Common and Confederate Monument, Tarboro, N.C." in North Carolina Postcard Collection (P052), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill Link
"Town Commons Showing Confederate Monument, Tarboro, N.C.," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed December 10, 2012) Link
Confederate Veteran 19 (1911), 102 Link
Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013), 80-84
Casey, Brenna M. “Memory and Monuments in Tarboro,” The Assembly, Tarboro, NC, February 16, 2021, (accessed December 3, 2021) Link
Hardy, Charles C. Images of America: Remembering North Carolina’s Confederates, (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2006), (accessed February 8, 2012) Link
Smith, Blanche Lucas. North Carolina's Confederate Monuments and Memorials, (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1941)
Walker, John H. “Tarboro Council Votes to Remove Confederate Memorial,” Rocky Mount Telegram (Rocky Mount, NC), August 11, 2020, (accessed December 3, 2021) Link
Walker, John H. “Tarboro Monument Given to Fort Branch,” Rocky Mount Telegram (Rocky Mount, NC), January 13, 2021, (accessed December 3, 2021) Link
“Edgecombe County Confederate Memorial,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed September 11, 2017) Link
“Edgecombe County Confederate Memorial,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed January 26, 2012) Link
“Fort Branch Civil War Site,” Fortbranchcivilwarsite.com (accessed December 5, 2021) Link
“Monument Unveiling Programme,” The Tarborough Southerner, October 27, 1904 Link
“Monument Unveiling,” The Tarborough Southerner, November 3, 1904 Link
“Tarboro NC – Confederate Statue Removed Unannounced from the Tarboro Town Common on Saturday August 29, 2020,” The DCN News Blog/Online, August 30, 2020, (accessed December 5, 2021) Link
Polished gray granite base and column, bronze statue
The Daughters of the Confederacy - William Dorsey Prender Chapter
Two children, Katherine Wimberly Bourne and William Dorsey Pender, Jr. unveiled the monument. Bourne was a granddaughter of Civil War Governor, Henry T. Clark and Pender was the grandson of Confederate General William Dorsey Pender. When unveiled three shots were fired by the Edgecombe Guards as the band played “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.” Julian S. Carr delivered the day’s featured oration. Although in attendance Governor Charles B. Aycock was not on the program. After the speeches and benediction “Dixie” was played to end the ceremony.
The dedication was held without the statue present. It did not arrive from the foundry in Chicago until the following week.
After the statue was removed on August 10, 2020, the time capsule buried beneath the base was opened. Among the items inside the box were photographs of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis and Confederate banknotes. Also found were damp papers containing biographies of Confederate officers, the rolls of a local veterans’ organization and a masonic lodge, and a list of members of the William Dorsey Pender chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy who had gifted the statue.
The future location of the memorial at Fort Branch overlooks the Roanoke River and is located two miles below Hamilton and 60 miles upriver from Plymouth. The Fort Branch Historical Society has been working to preserve the earthwork fort for over 40 years.
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.
On August 10, 2020, the Tarboro Town Council voted 5-3 to remove the monument from its location in the Town Common. Mayor Pro Tem Othar Woodard made the motion to remove the statue. Woodard stated there was “no intent to destroy the monument, only to remove it from public property so that it is no longer in a position to offend Black members of the community.” In January 2021 the town council voted to donate the statue to the Fort Branch Historic Site. This decision created some controversy as the site was in neighboring Martin County and some 35 miles east of Tarboro. In the end this proposal was the only one of the three submitted proposals considered. Estimated cost to remove the memorial was $42,500.
As of late 2021 the memorial was in storage in an undisclosed location pending its being re-erected at the Fort Branch Civil War site in Hamilton in Martin County, NC. The fort is on private property but maintained by the Fort Branch Historical Society, a non-profit volunteer organization.
The future location of the memorial at Fort Branch overlooks the Roanoke River and is located two miles below Hamilton and 60 miles upriver from Plymouth, NC.
Until being removed in August 2020, the monument stood in the town common that was established in 1760 by the legislative act which created the colonial town of Tarboro, NC. When traveling north, the monument stood on the right on N. Main Street (U.S. 64.) Several other memorials are still located in the commons area, including USS Maine Memorial and Henry Lawson Wyatt Memorial Fountain. Geo coordinates of the former location are 35.900440 , -77.535970.
The memorial stood in a large park, Tarboro’s Town Common that is one of two remaining original town commons in the United States, the other one being in Boston.