Mt. Zion Confederate Soldiers Monument, Cornelius
The monument stands in front of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church where local men enlisted for the Confederate war effort and commemorates the local Confederate dead. It is composed of a Confederate Common Soldier statue atop a tall tapered column. The soldier stands at parade rest, facing north with his rifle resting on the ground. The column is mounted on a dark, polished square granite block that is inscribed on the front face. This structure rests atop a capped granite plinth which has a bas-relief image of a cannon on the front face, bas-relief inscriptions on the sides, and the bas-relief image of crossed swords on the rear face. The entire monument structure sits on three-step base of rough cut stone.
On August 14, 2017, the Confederate Veterans Monument has been spray painted with a bright blue “X” through the words Confederate Soldiers. On another side of the monument, the word “NO” is painted over two swords.
Front, dark granite: THOUGH MEN DESERVE / THEY MAY NOT WIN SUCCESS /
THE BRAVE WILL HONOR THE BRAVE / VANQUISHED NONE THE LESS.
Rear, dark granite: FIRST AT BETHEL / FARTHEST AT GETTYSBURG / LAST AT APPOMATTOX
Left, plinth: OUR CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS
Right, plinth: 1861-1865
Mt. Zion Methodist Church
August 4, 1910
35.477180 , -80.854630 View in Geobrowse
“The Mt. Zion Monument Fund,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), October 13, 1909
"Vandals Deface Confederate Monument in Cornelius," Cornelius Today (Cornelius, NC), corneliustoday.com, August 14, 2017, (accessed August 22, 2017) Link
Burwell, Armistead. "The Ideal Confederate Soldier: Unveiling Confederate Monument Cornelius, N.C., August 4th 1910," (Cornelius, N.C., 1910), (accessed April 22, 2013) Link
Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013), 163, 224
North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. "Cornelius," North Carolina Civil War Monuments, (accessed April 22, 2013) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Thirteenth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division, Held at Wilmington, N.C., October 13th, 14th, 15th, 1909 (Newton, NC: Enterprise Print, 1910), 27, (accessed April 22, 2013) Link
Whisnant, Miriam Smith. "The History of Mount Zion United Methodist Church," in "Mount Zion United Methodist Church Celebrates its Sesquicentennial Year June 23, 1827 - June 23, 1978," (Cornelius, N.C., 1978), (accessed April 22, 2013) Link
“Mt. Zion Reunion,” The Concord Tribune (Concord, NC), July 16, 1908
“The Cornelius Monument.,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), August 4, 1910
“The Statue Is Found Cornelius Monument,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), August 2, 1910
“Thousands Attend Unveiling at Cornelius Today,” The Evening Chronicle (Charlotte, NC), August 4, 1910
Shaft and statue: Granite, most likely from North Carolina. Statue: New Hampshire granite
Mt. Zion Confederate Monument Association. According to a history of the Mt. Zion Methodist Church, funds were raised through individual donations, oyster suppers, fiddlers' conventions, and shows with box suppers, and a list of donors was kept by a Mrs. R. J. Stough.
Shaft and base: $1,103 A 1909 news article stated that $400 was still needed to purchase the statue and improve the landscaping.
The monument was erected in 1909 with the dedication ceremony in 1910 at the annual reunion of members of Company K, 56th NC Regiment with a crowd estimated from 6,000 to 8,000 people. A little girl, Miss Feriba Stough, unveiled the monument, and a dedication address was given by Congressman E. Y. Webb. The unveiling address was given by Judge Armistead Burwell, Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Burwell said it “was a monument to the Confederate soldiers, not to any one or army [or] particular class or body of soldiers, and for that reason it has broader scope than many similar monuments which adorn some of the cemeteries in the south.” A reunion dinner was held in the evening with R.B Hunter providing that address. The dedication almost took place without the statue. It had gotten lost in transit from Vermont and only arrived two days prior to the dedication.
According to a brief history of the Mt. Zion Church prepared for its 150th anniversary, the church served as place for fathers and sons to enlist in two regiments of the Confederate Army (Company K, 56th regiment; and Company C, 1st Calvary Regiment of North Carolina Troops) and to join in the "Southern Cause." Beginning on May 30, 1861, the church held daily prayers for aid. According to the church history, forty-five Confederate soldiers were buried in the church cemetery. The church served as a site of Confederate solider reunions until 1949, and over the years as the numbers of veterans to honor decreased, annual services began to honor veterans of the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.
This monument was among several that was vandalized 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.
Back in July of 2015, almost exactly a month after the shootings at historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., swastikas were painted on the monument as well as the phrase “Stop honoring white supremacy.”
The monument sits facing north in the grounds of the Mt. Zion Methodist Church on the east side of Zion Avenue. It is located to the right of the northern entrance to the parking lot and grounds.
The monument is located in the lawn steps away from a short stretch of sidewalk at the entrance from the road. It is surrounded by mature shade trees.
The church served as a site for Confederate reunions and services honoring veterans.