To Men Massacred on General Rutherford's Forced March, Newton
George E. Coulter, Newton, NC , Builder
The 20 feet tall monument is made from Rowan County granite. Paneled into it is a two by four feet slab of Georgia Creole granite incised with an inscription to the men killed by Cherokee Indians in 1776. There is a two section obelisk atop a two section base. The base bottom tier is forty-eight inches square by twenty-two inches high. The second tier is thirty-seven inches square by twelve inches high. The lower section of the obelisk which contains the inscription is twenty-nine inches square where it rests on the base and is fifty-eight inches high. All sections of the monument have rough cut sides with a smooth top.
A TRIBUTE TO / MATHIAS BARRINGER, / LIPSCOM ADAM, / ____GRUNDT,____HASS,____WILSON, / AND ANOTHER, WHO WERE / MASSACRED ON JOHNSON RIVER IN / GEN. RUTHERFORD’S, / FORCED MARCH AGAINST THE / CHEROKEE INDIANS IN 1776, AND TO / PHILLIP FRY / WHO ALONE ESCAPED AND TO / CONRAD TIPPONE / ONE OF LAFAYETTE’S MEN, / BY A GRATEFUL OSTERITY / JULY 2 1897
July, 2, 1897
35.662670 , -81.221650 View in Geobrowse
"Monument Unveiled: to the Memory of Brave Followers of Gen. Rutherford," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), July 7, 1897, 1-3 Link
Norris, David A. “Rutherford’s Campaign,” NCPedia.org, (accessed July 10, 2015) Link
North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Department of Cultural Resources. "Newton Downtown Historic District," National Register of Historic Places, (accessed August 21, 2015) Link
“Catawba County Courthouse Obelisk - Newton, North Carolina,” Waymarking.org, (accessed August 21, 2015) Link
“Matthias Barringer,” The Family Genealogy Website, http://www.history.loftinnc.com, (accessed August 21, 2015) Link
“Monumental Notes,” in The Monumental News, Volume 9 (R.J. Haight, 1897), 482, (accessed July 10, 2015) Link
The Reverend J.C. Clapp, President of Catawba College formed an association to raise funding for the monument.
The dedication ceremony was opened at noon with a welcome by W.B. Gaither of Newton. This was followed by an address on “The Relationship of the Indians to the Pioneer Settlers” by Dr. Spainhour of Lenoir. At 2pm Judge McCorkle gave another historical speech on “The Old Barringer Muster Ground” which was a local place of note during the Revolution and Civil War. Other historical sketches were given by Paul Barringer, Professor J.D. Rome, Colonel G. M. Yoder and John E. Roller. At 3pm Reverend J.C. Clapp made a patriotic speech at the monument. Desa Oline and Gertie Letzer, two young girl descendants of those named on the monument, then pulled the ropes to expose the monument.
Seven men from the immediate area of Newton were ambushed on their way to join a militia being gathered by General Griffith Rutherford to campaign against the Cherokee Indians. Six were killed with only Phillip Fry escaping. One man named on the monument, Conrad Tippong, was not at the massacre but had served with Lafayette during the Revolution and later married the widow of one of those killed.
General Rutherford’s campaign was part of a multistate effort to break the strength of the Cherokee Indians before they could ally with the British in an effort to regain lost territory. British efforts to keep the Cherokee from going to war until the arrival of British troops failed and Rutherford’s Campaign in September 1776 shattered Cherokee strength and morale. Although casualties were light on both sides, 36 villages were burned; horses, livestock and food plundered that were needed for the winter months.
Wyatt & Fespermand from Faith, NC supplied Rowan County granite. George E. Coulter from Newton, NC made inscription on Georgian Creole Granite.
The monument is located on the southeast lawn of the 1924 Catawba Courthouse, now the site of the Catawba County Museum of History. It stands on the corner of N. College Street and EA Street. The lawn of the old courthouse also hosts the Catawba County Confederate Monument and the Catawba County War Memorial.
The obelisk stands on the courthouse lawn under shady trees.