Documenting the American South

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

    Henry Lawson Wyatt Memorial Fountain, Tarboro

  • Type


  • Subjects

    Historic Military Figures

    Civil War, 1861-1865

  • City


  • County


  • Description

    The monument is an octagonal shaped fountain, surrounded by four tall lamps and four smaller, capped poles. The monument itself appears to stand about eight feet tall, if not more, mostly due to the larger exterior lamps. The capped poles are quite ornate, topped with a spherical shape, followed by a pear-shaped body covered by foliage. Water streams from a faucet in the center of the fountain, flowing into a small plate and then into a larger plate approximately one foot down. The water then drains into the surrounding pool. The water is contained in by small stone walls, which connect the lamps and the smaller poles around the fountain. The fountain itself is then surrounded by a circular garden, in which flowers are growing. A wrought iron fence encircles this entire unit, with a gate allowing entry to the monument. An inscription appears on a bronze plaque.

  • Inscription


  • Custodian

    Town of Tarboro

  • Dedication Date

    October 18, 1910

  • Decade


  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.900290 , -77.536270 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "A Fountain of Water. A Monument Ever Flowing With a Testimonial of a County Hero." The Tarborough Southerner (Tarboro, NC), Oct. 20, 1910

      "Fountain Unveiling Postponed." The Tarborough Southerner (Tarboro, NC), Jul. 28, 1910, p. 3

      "Wyatt Memorial Fountain." The Tarborough Southerner (Tarboro, NC), Oct. 13, 1910, p. 3

      Caldwell, Addie Williams. The Charlotte News, sec. The Confederate Column, October 09, 1910.

      Edgecombe County Government. "Tourism." (accessed June 3, 2014). Link

      N.C. Historical Commission. Third Biennial Report if the North Carolina Historical Commission December 1, 1908 to November 30, 1910 (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Co., 1910), 38, (accessed April 5, 2013) Link

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

      Turner, J. Kelly, and Jno. L. Bridgers, Jr. Hisory of Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton Printing Co., 1920.

      Veazey, Daniel Burt. "Wyatt, Henry Lawson,", (accessed June 3, 2014) Link

      Watson, Alan D. Edgecombe County: A Brief History. Raleigh: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979.

  • Public Site


  • Materials & Techniques

    Stone, bronze, iron

  • Sponsors

    Dixie-Lee Children's Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy

  • Monument Cost


  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Although the date on the fountain’s inscription is August 3, 1910, manufacturing delays forced a postponement until October 18, 1910. Almost 1000 people were on hand for the ceremony which opened with prayer by the Reverend J.J. Ballou and then Sam Nash serving as master of ceremonies. A local choir sang “The Old Confederate, He’s good enough for me,” after which George Fountain introduced the speaker of the day, Colonel John L. Bridges the captain of the Edgecombe Guards at the time of Wyatt’s death. He spoke of the meaning and importance of monuments to the Southerner saying, “War may change and settle a policy, but it can never change or destroy a principle, therefore the south was right in fighting for the principle of her people. It is very gratifying to see and know and see that the heroic deed… is being written in stone and bronze…”

    At the conclusion of Bridge’s address, Mrs. F.M. Williams, state President of the U.D.C. “took pride” in commending the Dixie Lee Chapter for their efforts. The monument was presented to the city by Miss Pauline Powell and accepted on behalf of Tarboro by Mayor Jones. As two surviving members of the fight at Bethel Church, J.H. Thorpe

  • Subject Notes

    The Wyatt Fountain is a memorial to Tarboro resident Henry Lawson Wyatt, a carpenter who enlisted as a private in the Edgecombe Guards unit of the Confederate Army. He died at age 18 at the Battle of Bethel Church, Virginia in 1861. Wyatt was the first documented North Carolinian to lose his life in battle. There is a plaque in his honor in Virginia as well.

    The First Regiment eventually became known as the Bethel Regiment.

    See Henry Lawson Wyatt Monument "First at Bethel" in front of the State Capitol building.
    Blanche Lucas Smith's book, North Carolina's Confederate Monuments and Memorials, lists the cost of the monument as $1000.

  • Location

    The memorial fountain is located within the Historic Tarboro Town Commons, facing Main Street, Tarboro, NC. Several other memorials are located nearby, including USS Maine Memorial and Edgecombe County Confederate Monument.

  • Landscape

    The fountain is surrounded by a small garden, encircling the fountain with flowers. It stands in a large park, Tarboro’s Town Common that is one of two remaining original town commons in the United States, the other one being in Boston.

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