Cleveland County Confederate Monument, Shelby
Charles M. Walsh, Marble and Granite Works, Petersburg, VA, Builder
Standing over twenty feet tall, the monument consists of a bronze statue of the Confederate Private Soldier as he faces north, alert and ready with his rifle in his hands. A draped Confederate flag is shown in bas-relief on the tall, taperd column, with the initials of the Confederate States of America -- "C.S.A." -- in raised lettering above the flag. The column is a massive piece of granite, with individual sections weighing reportedly eight to twelve thousand pounds. The column rests atop a large piece of granite, reportedly weighing itself upwards of eighteen thousand pounds, with the entire structure resting on a base of crushed rock and cement.
Images: Postcard image of Courthouse Square and the Confederate Monument (1907) | Monument in front of the Old Cleveland County Courthouse | Plaque on base | Side view of the memorial
Front, column: C.S.A. / IN HONOR OF THE / CONFEDERATE HEROES / OF CLEVELAND COUNTY / 1861-1865 / LEST WE FORGET
Front, base: American Bronze Co., Chicago
Rear: ERECTED BY: THE UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY NOV. 21 1906
Rear, plaque on base: Restored by / the Cleveland County Guards / Chapter #443 / of the United Daughters / of the Confederacy / September 15, 1991
Cleveland County, Earl Scruggs Center
May 10, 1907
35.291390 , -81.540220 View in Geobrowse
“Shelby’s Great Week,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), August 20, 1905
"Cleveland County Civil War Monument," The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed July 9, 2021) Link
"Cleveland County Confederate Memorial - Shelby, NC," Waymarking.com, (accessed August 30, 2012) Link
"The Confederate Monument," The Cleveland Star (Shelby, NC), November 16, 1906, 1 Link
"[Cleveland County] Confederate Monument, (sculpture)," Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museum, SIRIS, sirismm.si.edu, #IAS NC000416, (accessed March 4, 2013) Link
National Park Service. National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary. "Shelby North Carolina," (accessed March 4, 2013) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division, Held at Greensboro, N.C., October 9th, 10th, and 11th, 1907, (Newton, NC: Enterprise Job Print., 1907), 105, (accessed September 3, 2012) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Tenth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division, Held at Durham, N.C., October 10th, 11th and 12th 1906, (Newton, NC: Enterprise Job Print., 1907), 82, (accessed August 30, 2012) Link
Whitney, James, Royster, Caleb, and Alec Loeb. "The Civil War Experience in Gaston and Cleveland County," from “Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina”, http://docsouth.unc.edu/commland/, (accessed March 5, 2013) Link
“Cleveland’s Men of Gray,” The Farmer and Mechanic (Raleigh, NC), May 21, 1907
Bronze, granite, concrete, crushed rock
United Daughters of the Confederacy, Cleveland Guards Chapter 443
The monument was erected on the site in front of the Cleveland County Courthouse in November 1906. The dedication took place with exercises on May 10, 1907.
Lock Craig, who later served as North Carolina’s governor was the featured orator for the day. He was presented to those in attendance, estimated at 5,000 to 10,000, by a Major Schenck.
Despite the general reluctance of the citizens of North Carolina to endorse secession and the Confederacy, Cleveland County residents strongly supported the Confederate war effort and sent many men to the war along with neighboring Gaston County. Following the war, there was strong support for the memory of the Confederacy and its meaning for the South, and Cleveland County became the home of an active chapter of the Ku Klux Klan between 1868 and 1872. After Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Federal troops occupied the Courthouse Square in Shelby, staying until 1872 in an attempt to suppress the Klan. In 1906, the erection of the monument in front of the courthouse became an official memorialization of the Confederacy and an official reclamation of territory in its name.
According to a newspaper account of the monument's construction, the base of the monument was so massive that ten mules were needed to pull it on a wagon from the Southern Rail station to the Courthouse. In 1991 the United Daughters of the Confederacy sponsored the restoration of the sculpture by Karkadoulias Bronze Art of Cincinnati, OH.
The monument is located in front of the Old Cleveland County Courthouse in Shelby, NC, at the intersection of South Lafayette and West Dale Streets. The old courthouse now houses the Earl Scruggs Center which is an interpretive center on the life of the legendary banjo master and the historical and cultural traditions of the region. The Worl War II memorial is on the West Warren Street side of the courthouse building and the Korean and Vietnam Wars marker on the W. Marion Street side. The Cleveland County World War I Plaque is mounted on the exterior wall of the Courthouse.
The monument stands in the middle of the sidewalk directly in front of the entrance to the Courthouse. The area is surrounded by a lawn, mature shade trees, flowering shrubs, and seasonal plantings.
The Cleveland County Veteran Advisory Council hosts an annual Veterans Day Program at the historic court square in Shelby.