Confederate Soldiers Monument, Gatesville
The Gates County Confederate Soldiers Monument is a marble common soldier statue, on a tall granite base standing in front of the Gates County Board of Elections building. It memorializes Gates County's Confederate veterans, in particular William P. Roberts, a Gates County native and youngest General in the Confederate Army.
North: TO OUR / CONFEDERATE/ DEAD / 1861-1865
West: 1915 / CONFEDERATE MONUMENT ORGANIZATION / GATES CO. / TO OUR CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS
East: GATES CO FURNISHED THE / YOUNGEST GENERAL IN / THE CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY. / W.M. P. ROBERTS, WITHOUT / MILITARY TRAINING WAS UPON / MERIT ALONE, COMMISSIONED BRIG. GEN. AT THE AGE OF 23.
July 8, 1915
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"Gates County Confederate Monument," The Historic Marker Database, HMdb.org (accessed May 31, 2014). Link
The North Carolina Historical Commission, (Raleigh, NC: 1916). Link
Bryant, Cal. “Confederate Statue Will Have Company,” The Roanoke-Chowan News- Herald (Ahoskie, NC), April 30, 2021, (accessed May 17, 2021) Link
Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2013), 122, 164, 223.
State Literary and Historical Association of North Carolina, Proceedings and Addresses of the Annual Session of the State Literary and Historical Association of North Carolina, (Raleigh,NC: 1906), 30. Link
“Address of Acceptance,” The Albemarle Observer (Edenton, NC), July 16, 1915
“Great Day in Gatesville,” The Albemarle Observer (Edenton, NC), July 9, 1915
Confederate Monument Association
U.S. Representative Claude Kitchen was the featured speaker. The presentation speech was by A.P. Godwin and the acceptance speech was John J. Gatling, former member of the North Carolina House of Representatives and the North Carolina State Senate. Mrs. R.E. Little, president of NC United Daughters of the Confederacy also spoke. The monument was unveiled by four young girls before a crowd of 2,000.
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 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.
In April 2021, after several months of fact finding, the Gates County Confederate Statue Committee recommended to the county commissioners that the Confederate Statue remain at the current location. They also recommended that it be joined by a new memorial that contained wording that reflected the current diversity of the county. Both recommendations were approved by the commissioners. The new monument will be a stone tablet 42 inches wide and 40 inches tall with a bevel top. That tablet will be positioned on top of a 54-inch x 14-inch base. The estimated $4,000 cost will come from county funds. No time table was set for the new memorial.
The approved wording for the new monument reads as follows:
“United We Stand”
By The Citizens of Gates County, NC
“The Civil War was a major event in US history that cost the lives of thousands of citizens and left the landscape in ruins. Despite losing the war, there was a movement in the south during the era of Jim Crow to memorialize and honor veterans who sacrificed their lives for the right to secede from the union while defending the institution of slavery.
The honors given to these veterans in the past do not represent our values as of today. Citizens of Gates County value unity, racial equality, inclusion and acceptance. We are a community who respect and love each other in spite of our cultural, religious and political differences. Being an example of a good citizen and neighbor, we look to serve as positive role models for the next generation of young people.
“Removing the Confederate Monument will not end racism. Let it serve as a reminder for who we are and who we are not. Hatred has no place in Gates County. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
The memorial is located at the intersection of Court Street (North Carolina Route 137) and New Ferry Road (County Road 1111), on the right when traveling east on Court Street, 112 Court St., Gatesville, NC.
The monument stands on the lawn by a walkway to the main entrance of the Gates County Board of Elections building.