Documenting the American South

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

    Wilson County Memorial Fountain, Wilson

  • Type


  • Subjects

    World War I

    Veterans of Multiple Wars

    Revolutionary War, 1775-1783

    Civil War, 1861-1865

  • City


  • County


  • Description

    The monument is a symmetrical granite triptych. The massive rectangular center column and two smaller flanking columns are topped with pyramidal caps. The columns are separated from each other by short walls, and the entire structure rests on a base of the same material. The center portion of the triptych is a relief sculpture of two unfurled flags, crossed at the center of each shaft. The flags are the Stars and Stripes and the flag of the Confederate States of America. Beneath the flags is the bronze plaque with an inscription. To either side of the center structure are two smaller tower-like structures, connected by a thin wall of granite. Each of the smaller towers were initially drinking fountains, but have since been replaced by small pyramid caps mirroring the one topping the largest tower. The center panel has remained unaltered. The memorial is manufactured in Raleigh, NC.
    Just a few feet behind the memorial and closer to the courthouse building, there is a bell. It was cast by the Meneely Bell Company of Troy, New York, one of the most famous foundries of 19th century.

    Images (courtesy of Natasha Smith): Contemporary view of the memorial | Back side | Meneely Bell Co., Troy, N.Y. | Bell and the memorial | View of the courthouse building and the memorial | Far-off view of the courthouse building with the Memorial Fountain on its right

  • Inscription


    Rear: Erected by / the John W. Dunham Chapter U.D.C. / and / the Thomas Hadley Chapter D.A.R. / November 11, 1926

  • Custodian

    Wilson County

  • Dedication Date

    November 11, 1926

  • Decade


  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.725210 , -77.910230 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Wilson County Civil War Memorial," The Historical Marker Database,, (accessed May 27, 2017) Link

      "Wilson County Courthouse Memorial Drinking Fountain," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link

      Boykin, J. Robert. Historic Wilson in Vintage Postcards. (Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2003)

      Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013), 194, 203, 226

      Smith, Blanche Lucas. North Carolina's Confederate Monuments and Memorials, (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1941)

      “Wilson Will Have Soldier Memorial,” Statesville Record and Landmark (Statesville, NC), September 6, 1926

  • Public Site


  • Materials & Techniques

    Georgia gray marble, bronze

  • Sponsors

    The John W. Dunham Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (U.D.C.) and the Thomas Hadley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.).

  • Monument Cost


  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The speaker was Hon. H. G. Connor. The monument was accepted by Dr. E. G. Moore.

  • Subject Notes

    The memorial was a joint effort between the UDC and the DAR to honor Wilson County soldiers of all wars. There is no mention of the Confederate States of America or Civil War, other than the depiction of the Confederate Battle Flag. Because of the Confederate flag and the UDC sponsorship, that it was a memorial to all wars has not often been recognized despite its dedication on World War One Armistice Day.

    At its original creation, the monument was a water fountain located in front of the courthouse, with separate faucets labeled “For White People” and “For Colored People.” In 1960, the fountains were removed, as were all traces of segregation from the monument itself. Since then, it is only a fountain in name.

    The Courthouse itself was built in 1924 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
    The John W. Dunham Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was chartered in 1900.
    The Thomas Hadley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was organized in 1922.

  • Location

    The monument is located on the right (southeast) corner if facing the building, at the corner of Nash St. and Goldsboro St. The Wilson County Veterans Memorial and the Purple Heart Marker stand on the left of the courthouse building. The Wilson County Courthouse (115 Nash St. East, Wilson, NC) is within the Old Wilson Historic District. There are many small businesses and office buildings in the area.

  • Landscape

    There is a large brick plaza in front of the courthouse building. The monument stands to the right of this plaza in front of a bed of ornamental landscaping. Behind the monument lays a small area landscaped with some small shrubs and trees.

    However, this has not been the landscaping surrounding the monument the entirety of its existence. Early postcards and images show this area as having been covered in grass rather than the shrubs currently surrounding the monument.

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