Randolph Shotwell Memorial, Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh
The memorial honors Randolph Shotwell, a newspaper publisher and outspoken
critic of Reconstruction.
The ornate granite monument was described at the time as being of “cottage design”. It stands
13 feet tall and is capped by “beautifully wrought” urn with elegant drapery. The monument
caps are decorated with delicately carved oak leaves. On the east face cap above the
inscriptions is a monogram consisting of the initials R.A.S. Inscriptions appear on all four sides.
The monument rests on a three tier base with the word SHOTWELL appearing on the east side
Images: East side view | North side view | West side view | South side view | Monuments to Col. McLeod Turner, Col. Burgwyn and Randolph Shotwel
East face: IN MEMORIAM / RANDOLPH ABBOT SHOTWELL, / LATE CAPTAIN, CO. I, 8TH REGT., /
VA. VOLS., C.S.A. / BORN DEC. 13TH, 1843, / IN WEST LIBERTY, VA., / DIED JULY 31, 1885,
IN RALEIGH N.C.
East side base: SHOTWELL
South face: THIS MONUMENT / IS ERECTED BY THE PEOPLE / OF HIS ADOPTED STATE / AS A TRIBUTE TO / A SOLDIER / WHOSE COURAGE WAS PROVED IN / SIXTEEN GREAT BATTLES, / AND WHO, IN THE MIDST OF DISASTER, / CAPTIVITY AND DEFEAT, / KEPT UNSHAKEN / HIS FIDELITY TO HIS CAUSE, / HIS COUNTRY AND HIS / COMRADES-IN-ARMS.
West face: THREE YEARS IN BATTLE / FROM LEESBURG TO COLD HARBOR / WITH PICKETT’S MEN, / AND THREE IN PRISON AT FORT / DELAWARE AND ALBANY. / RESURGAM.
North face: A PATRIOT / WHOSE HONOR AND CONSTANCY / NO SUFFERING COULD WEAKEN / NO ADVANTAGE TEMP / NO LOSS DISMAY: / AND IN WHOM ALL THE ATRIBUTES OF / TRUE GREATNESS / WERE SO NICELY ADJUSTED, SO / EXACTLY PLACED, / THAT IT WAS NOT UNTIL HE HAD / PASSED INTO / LIFE ETERNAL / THAT MEN SAW THAT HE HAD REACHED / THE FULL STATURE OF / A MAN.
Erected on November 10, 1888
35.784860 , -78.627480 View in Geobrowse
The Daily Tobacco Plant (Durham, NC), November 12, 1888, 4
Historic Oakwood Cemetery, http://historicoakwoodcemetery.org (accessed May 19, 2021) Link
Wert, Jeffery D. “Shotwell, Randolph Abbott,” NCPedia.org, (accessed November 3, 2015) Link
“Shotwell,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed November 3, 2015) Link
“The Shotwell Monument,” Fayetteville Weekly Observer (Fayetteville, NC), December 6, 1888, 1
“The Shotwell Monument,” Weekly State Chronicle (Raleigh, NC), April 5, 1889, 2
Shotwell Memorial Association, Judge Walter Clark, President
The monument was erected on November 10, 1888. Several dates were proposed for a dedication to include Confederate Memorial Day, May 10, 1889. News coverage of ceremonies at Oakwood Cemetery for that year makes no mention of the Shotwell Monument or its dedication.
Randolph Shotwell was a controversial figure in North Carolina history. He moved to the state
after the Civil War and operated a series of failed newspapers in New Bern, Rutherfordton and
Asheville which were his voice for denouncing the Radicals (Republicans) in power during
Reconstruction. Although some claim he was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan, others claim he was
not. In either case he was vilified by his enemies. Although it appears he did try to moderate
the outrages being committed by the organization his association with the KKK led to his arrest
and trial in the Senate chambers in Raleigh. He was convicted and sentenced to six years in
prison. Offered an immediate pardon if he testified against fellow Democrats he refused and
was sent to the federal penitentiary. In 1872 Ulysses S. Grant granted him an unconditional
pardon. Several years after his release, he bought the Farmer and Mechanic newspaper in
Raleigh and remained in the newspaper business for the remainder of his life.
Author Thomas Dixon, best known as author of “The Clansman,” used Shotwell as the model for the hero in his “The Traitor.”
Historic Oakwood Cemetery was founded in 1869 in North Carolina's capital, Raleigh, near the North Carolina State Capitol in the city's Historic Oakwood neighborhood. Annual Confederate Memorial Day services are held at the Oakwood Cemetery each May.
The memorial is located in Historic Oakwood Cemetery, at 701 Oakwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27601, in Confederate section. The Memorial Arch, House of Memory, Confederate Monument, Memorial Wall, Gettysburg Memorial, Colonel McLeod Turner Monument, Col. Burgwyn Monument, General George Anderson Monument, CSS H.L. Hunley Submarine Memorial, Arlington Dead Marker and the Civil War Sesquicentennial Marker stand in the same section of the Oakwood Cemetery. Outside the Confederate section are memorials to Worth Bagley and William Ruffin Cox.
The memorial is surrounded by grave markers and monuments.
The Oakwood Cemetery continues to serve for Confederate Memorial Services each Memorial Day.