Kerenhappuch Turner Monument, Guilford Courthouse
Kerenhappuch Norman Turner was the wife of James Turner, one of the early settlers of Maryland. Oral tradition indicates that upon news of her son’s grave injury at the Guilford Courthouse, Kerenhappuch rode on horseback to her wounded son’s aid. She is said to have nursed him back to health at Guilford Courthouse. This statue depicts her holding a cup of water and a towel. The statue was not present when the monument was dedicated in 1902. This was typical of monuments with statues at Guilford Courthouse. The base was dedicated first while funds were raised for the statue to be added later. During the 1902 dedication ceremony the top of the monument was decorated with “an old-fashioned spinning wheel” covered in flowers. The statue was placed in October 1903 and present for a three-day Greensboro homecoming celebration held October 11,12 and 13. There was no indication of a dedicated unveiling ceremony for the statue.
Images (courtesy of Natasha Smith): Side view | Bronze plaque | Manufacturer and sculptor | View of memorials
Front: 1781 1902 /
A HEROINE OF ‘76 /
MRS. KERENHAPPUCH TURNER /
MOTHER OF ELIZABETH /
THE WIFE OF JOSEPH /
MOREHEAD OF N.C. AND /
GRANDMOTHER OF CAPTAIN /
JAMES AND OF JOHN MOREHEAD /
A YOUNG N.C. SOLDIER UNDER /
GREENE, RODE HORSE-BACK FROM /
HER MARYLAND HOME AND AT /
GUILFORD COURTHOUSE NURSED /
TO HEALTH A BADLY WOUNDED SON. /
Back: ERECTED BY / J. TURNER AND JOS. MOTLEY / MOREHEAD
Side: Manufactured by / W.H. MULLINS / SALEM, OHIO / J. SEGESMAN, SCULPTOR
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
Monument base and inscription tablet: July 4, 1902. Statue: October 1903
36.131690 , -79.846360 View in Geobrowse
"Additional Correspondence," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), June 25, 1902, 6 Link
"The Battle Ground Company," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), September 1, 1902, 1-2 Link
"The Fourth at Guilford Battle Ground," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), July 9, 1902, 1 Link
"Turner Statue, Morehead Monument, Davidson & Nash Arches, Greensboro, N.C.," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed September 13, 2013) Link
Baker, Thomas E. and Michael H. White. The Monuments at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, North Carolina, (Greensboro, NC: Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, 1991)
Bradshaw, George Samuel. Mrs. Kerenhappuch Turner: A Heroine of 1776. An Address by G. S. Bradshaw, Esq., on Occasion of the Unveiling of a Monument to Her Memory, at the Guilford Battle Ground, July 4th, 1902, (Greensboro NC: The Guilford Battle Ground Company, 1902), (accessed May 16, 2012) Link
Folder 46a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 2, 54, 68, 69, 70 Link
Folder 51 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 12 Link
Folder 53 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 31 Link
Image Folder 1 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 7 Link
“A Heroine of ’76, 1781 – 1902,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed February 6, 2018) Link
“First Monument to a Woman,” The Asheville Weekly Citizen (Asheville, NC), June 27, 1902
“Honors to Colonial Heroine,” Richmond Dispatch (Richmond, VA), June 25, 1902
Bronze statue and plaque, granite base
James Turner Morehead and Joseph Motley Morehead, who were descendants of Turner, sponsored the monument. Joseph Motely Morehead was President of the Guilford Battleground Company at the time of the unveiling.
Two monuments were dedicated on the same day, one to Turner and the other to Nathaniel Macon. The day’s featured oration was by Thomas M. Pitman on the life of North Carolina patriot and statesman Nathaniel Macon. G.S. Bradshaw gave a speech on Kerenhappuch Turner. The unveiling was performed by two young Colonial Dames. One was a descendant of Betsy Barker at whose house the Edenton Tea Party was held and the other a descendant of Dr. David Caldwell. U.S. Representative and later NC Governor W.W. Kitchin arrived late for the dedication but gave a speech during a dinner held later in the evening.
Kerrenhappuch Turner was born in Virginia in 1690 and married James Turner in 1710. In 1733 they lived in Spottsylvania County, Virginia, and by 1790 she had moved to Montgomery County, North Carolina. She died in 1805 at the age of 108. Several of her descendants have served as Governors and Congressmen in Kentucky and North Carolina. This monument is said to be the first monument to a heroine of the Revolutionary War.
A spoon was originally in her hand but consisted of a normal tinned iron spoon, electrocoated in copper and it soon began to corrode. The W H Mullins company promised to replace the spoon with a fully copper one free of charge in 1907 when it began to show signs of weathering. Today the hand is empty.
The monument is located within Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. It faces north. The monument stands in a row of memorials that include No North-No South, James Morehead and Captain Gillis monuments.
The memorial is surrounded by mature trees of the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.
Joseph Morehead took great pride in having a monument to a woman, and later cited it as proof of the relevance of Guilford, writing "Besides we have here the first monument to a Revolutionary heroine erected in the United States. This has been denied to me by some, who, upon investigation had no more to say. There are groups of men and women, but this is to a woman."