Confederate Soldiers Monument, Clinton
Commemorating the Confederate soldiers of Sampson County from 1861-1865, this monument is a bronze, life-size statue of a Confederate soldier standing at rest with his rifle in front of him. On the granite base that the soldier stood upon, at about 11 feet tall, there is an inscription on the front (south) face with words to honor the Confederate soldiers of Sampson County. Below the words of honor, there is a quote inscribed in smaller-sized text, reminding audiences that these soldiers died for their nation, for a “cause, though lost still just,” and for their fellow American citizens. The rear (north) face is engraved with information regarding the sponsor of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the dedication date. It once stood tall and centered in front of the south entrance to the Sampson County Courthouse, among many other historical monuments and markers. The statue was damaged when toppled from its base during the morning hours of July 12, 2020. A short time later the statue minus its base was placed on display at the Sampson County History Museum. Damage to the statue is still visible.
Image: Vintage Postcard image of Sampson County Courthouse, Clinton, N.C. |
Confederate Soldiers statue removed on July 12, 2020
Front (south) face: IN HONOR OF / THE / CONFEDERATE / SOLDIERS / OF / SAMPSON COUNTY / “WHO BORE THE FLAG OF A NATION’S TRUST. / AND FELL IN A CAUSE, THOUGH LOST / STILL JUST, / AND DIED FOR ME AND YOU.” / 1861-1865
Rear (north) face: ASHFORD-SILLERS / CHAPTER / U.D.C. / MAY 10, 1916
May 12, 1916
34.995770 , -78.320080 View in Geobrowse
"Confederate Soldier Statue in Downtown Clinton Removed after Being Vandalized," ABC11 Eyewitness News, abc11.com, July 12, 2020, (accessed July 16, 2020) Link
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Berendt, Chris. “Monument Moving to Museum,” The Sampson Independent (Clinton, NC), August 22, 2020, (accessed August 30, 2020) Link
Davis, Brendaly Vega. “City to Aid Monument Move,” The Sampson Independent (Clinton, NC), clintonnc.com, September 5, 2020, (accessed September 6, 2020) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Eighteenth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina Division, Held at Raleigh, North Carolina, October 14, 15, 16, 1914 (Goldsboro, N.C.: Nash Bros. Printers and Binders, 1914), 96, (accessed September 6, 2012) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Twentieth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina Division, Held at Gastonia, North Carolina, October 11, 12, 13, 1916 (Wilmington, N.C: Wilmington Stamp and Printing Company), 102, 108, (accessed September 7, 2012) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Twentieth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina Division, Held at Gastonia, North Carolina, October 11, 12, 13, 1916 (Wilmington, N.C: Wilmington Stamp and Printing Company), 102, 108, (accessed February 19, 2014) Link
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“COUNTY COMMENCEMENT,” The News Dispatch (Clinton, NC), May 14, 1914
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Bronze statue, granite base
Ashford-Sillers Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy
A ceremony to lay the cornerstone took place on Friday morning, May 8, 1914 with participants first marching to the cemetery to decorate graves of Confederate dead. Colonel G.L. Peterson led the ceremony during which a Confederate war flag and the stars and stripes were laid side by side in the recess of the corner stone. Colonel Fred Olds spoke on the “Lost Cause” then Dr. Bourland followed “blending history with prophecy” and a plea for cooperation.
The 1916 dedication ceremony was held on May 12, although the monument inscription is for May 10. This event also began with a march to the cemetery led by a military company, marshals, flower girls and veterans in autos which then proceeded to the courthouse. After band and quartet music then North Carolina Attorney General and soon to be Governor Thomas W. Bickett gave the keynote speech. The master of ceremonies for the day was George L. Patterson. A short speech was given by bank president L.A. Bethune and the invocation by Reverend J.L. Showell. The monument was unveiled by Fannie Holmes and Fennimore Cooper and accepted for the veterans by Mr. B.S. Peterson.
Monument inscription has the dedication date as May 10, 1916, but the ceremony was actually held on May 12, 1916.
In 1916, the Ashford-Sillers Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy confirmed that the total cost of the monument was $1,700, with $300 of that still to be raised.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy indicated that building the monument was delayed by the World War I.
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 early July 2020, the Clinton city council adopted a resolution to urge county leaders to remove the monument. Then during the early morning hours of July 12, 2020 the monument was vandalized and the statue pulled from its base. The statue was moved to county storage because of “public safety” concerns. On August 17, 2020, the county board voted 5-0 to permanently relocate the monument to the Sampson County History Museum. The statue, the base and a time capsule if present would be stored until the museum could accommodate the relocation. In support of removing the monument the Rev. Stephen Wilkins in a written comment stated, “… for more than 100 years, our black brothers and sisters have seen the monument as a symbol of violence and oppression; and the message they hear as it stands in front of the courthouse is that justice is neither blind nor equal nor fair.” Arguments to have the statue repaired and replaced in front of the courthouse cited the 2015 state law that made it unlawful to remove monuments from public spaces without approval of the NC Historical Commission.
On July 12, 2020, the statue has been removed from in front of the Sampson County Courthouse after being vandalized overnight. The statue sans its base is now displayed in the Military History Building of the Sampson County History Museum. The museum has 11 buildings, each with a unique theme of county history. The museum address is 313 Lisbon Street, Clinton, NC 28328
The statue stands on the display in the Military History Building of the Sampson County History Museum.
The monument was located on the south side of the Sampson County courthouse, on E. Main St., Clinton, NC. Geo coordinates: 34.997800 , -78.323750. The monument stood in the center of the lawn of the Sampson County courthouse, in front of the steps to courthouse.