Documenting the American South

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

    Mt. Zion Confederate Soldiers Monument, Cornelius

  • Type

    Common Soldier Statue

  • Subjects

    Civil War, 1861-1865

  • City


  • County


  • Description

    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.

  • Inscription




    Right, plinth: 1861-1865

  • Custodian

    Mt. Zion Monumental Association

  • Dedication Date

    August 4, 1910

  • Decade


  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.477180 , -80.854630 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      “The Mt. Zion Monument Fund,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), October 13, 1909

      "Confederate Soldiers Monument - Cornelius NC,", (accessed March 2, 2021) Link

      "Vandalism at Confederate Monument," Cornelius Today (Cornelius, NC),, July 20, 2015, (accessed March, 2021) 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

      Marusak, Joe. "Church Near Charlotte Demands Immediate Removal of Confederate Statue from Lawn," July 3, 2020, (accessed March 2, 2021) 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

      Yochum, Dave. "Monument Association 'Exploring All Options to Protect and Save' Confederate Statue,", June 12, 2020 , (accessed March 1, 2021) 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

  • Public Site


  • Materials & Techniques

    Shaft and statue: Granite, most likely from North Carolina. Statue: New Hampshire granite

  • Sponsors

    The Mt. Zion Confederate Monumental Association is a private organization not associated with the Mt. Zion Methodist Church except by proximity and in some cases, simple membership in the church. 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 Mrs. R.J. Stough.

  • Monument Cost

    Shaft and base: $1,103 A 1909 news article stated that $400 was still needed to purchase the statue and improve the landscaping.

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    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.

  • Subject Notes

    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.

  • Controversies

    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 former 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.

    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.”

    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.

  • Location

    The monument stands facing north 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 statue is not on church grounds and the church does not own it. The Mt. Zion Church is located at 19600 Zion Avenue, Cornelius, NC.

  • Landscape

    The monument stands on the lawn steps away from a short stretch of sidewalk at the entrance from the road. It is surrounded by mature shade trees.

  • Post Dedication Use

    The church served as a site for Confederate reunions and services honoring veterans.

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