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

    Samuel Johnston, State Capitol, Raleigh

  • Type


  • Subjects

    Historic Political Figures

    Historic Civic Figures

    Colonial History

    Early Republic

    Revolutionary War, 1775-1783

  • Creator

    Frederick Wellington Ruckstull, Sculptor

  • City


  • County


  • Description

    Standing over three feet tall, this over life-size marble bust depicts Samuel Johnston, North Carolina patriot and federalist. The pedestal is inscribed with Johnston's name and dates and also bears a bas-relief engraving of the insignia of the Masons. The inclusion of the insignia honors both Johnston as the first and third Grand Master of the Masons of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and the Grand Lodge of Masons as the sponsor of the bust.

  • Inscription

    SAMUEL JOHNSTON / 1733-1816

  • Custodian

    State of North Carolina, Capitol Grounds

  • Dedication Date

    January 10, 1912

  • Decade


  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.780650 , -78.639130 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Samuel Johnston, (sculpture)." Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museum, SIRIS,, # IAS 75006513, (accessed July 15, 2013) Link

      "Visit the North Carolina State Capitol," North Carolina Historic Sites,, (accessed November 9, 2019) Link

      Angley, Wilson. 2007. "Samuel Johnston,", (accessed July 15, 2013) Link

      Bishir, Catherine W. "State Capitol Memorials," from “Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina”,, (accessed May 16, 2012) Link

      Connor, R. D. W. Samuel Johnston Governor of North Carolina 1787-1789 (Raleigh, NC: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1912), (accessed July 15, 2013) Link

      North Carolina Historical Commission. The Fourth Biennial Report of the North Carolina Historical Commission December 1, 1910 to November 30, 1912 (Raleigh, NC: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1912), 13, (accessed July 15, 2013) Link

      North Carolina Society Daughters of the Revolution. The North Carolina Booklet: Great Events in North Carolina History XII: No. 1 (1912), 35, (accessed July 15, 2013) Link

  • Public Site


  • Materials & Techniques


  • Sponsors

    Grand Lodge of Masons

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The monument was given to the State of North Carolina on January 10, 1912 and installed in the northeast corner of the Capitol. Members of the Grand Lodge of Masons were in attendance at the event.

  • Subject Notes

    Samuel Johnston was a patriot and statesman. He was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1733 and emigrated with his family while still a baby. His grandfather, Gabriel Johnston, was then the royal governor of North Carolina. Samuel Johnston was a member of four provincial congresses in North Carolina and a leader in the transition from royal to revolutionary state government. He served on the provincial council from 1774-1776 and was elected as a representative to the legislature from Chowan County in 1779. In 1780, he served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and was nominated for the presidency in 1781 but declined. He was committed to the Federalist cause, lobbying for ratification of the Constitution. He became governor of North Carolina in 1787, serving two full terms and elected for a third unserved term which he vacated to serve in the U.S. Senate as the first senator from North Carolina. He once again became a North Carolina state legislator, this time from Martin County, in 1798 followed by a time in the judiciary as a superior court judge.

    [Additional information from NCpedia editors at the State Library of North Carolina: This person enslaved and owned other people. Many Black and African people, their descendants, and some others were enslaved in the United States until the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in 1865. It was common for wealthy landowners, entrepreneurs, politicians, institutions, and others to enslave people and use enslaved labor during this period. To read more about the enslavement and transportation of African people to North Carolina, visit To read more about slavery and its history in North Carolina, visit - Government and Heritage Library, 2023.]

  • Location

    The bust is located inside the rotunda in the North Carolina State Capitol on Edenton Street in Raleigh, NC.

  • Landscape

    The bust sits in a niche inside the rotunda. The interior of the rotunda houses other State Capitol memorials including statuary, paintings, and plaques commemorating significant events and individuals in North Carolina's history.

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