Robeson County War Dead 1939 Plaque, Lumberton
A large bronze plaque approximate five feet tall is attached to an
interior wall of the Robeson County Courthouse. At the top of the plaque is a stars and stripes
shield with what appear to be a pair of crossed olive branches. The plaque is dated 1938 but
was dedicated in 1939. It replaced a wooden painted tablet placed in March 1919. The 1919
plaque listed “45 white, 12 Indian and 4 colored.” This plaque has additional names and
spellings corrected from the original but otherwise the inscriptions are identical. By 1939 the
local newspaper used the term Negro instead of colored in its reports but the wording on the
plaque was not changed.
Images: 1916 postcard with the historic Robeson County Courthouse | 1940s photographic image
THE CALL / THIS IS NOT A DAY OF TRIUMPH; IT IS A DAY OF DEDICATION. / HERE MUSTER NOT
THE FORCES OF PARTY, BUT THE FORCES OF / HUMANITY. MEN’S HEARTS WAIT UPON US,
MEN’S LIVES HANG / IN THE BALANCE, MEN’S HOPES CALL UPON US TO SAY WHAT / WE WILL
DO…… / WHO SHALL LIVE UP TO THE GREAT TRUST? WHO DARES FAIL / TO TRY? I SUMMON
ALL HONEST MEN, ALL PATRIOTIC, ALL / FORWARD LOOKING MEN, TO MY SIDE. GOD HELPING
ME / I WILL NOT FAIL THEM IF THEY WILL BUT COUNCIL AND SUSTAIN ME. / WOODROW
THE ANSWER / WHITE / [Column one] GEORGE E. GALLOWAY / CHARLES HALL / CARSON CHASON / DONNIE SUTTON / EDGAR LOVETTE / COY BRITT / E. LATHROP AUSTIN / MURDOC MCRAE / ALVA IVEY / BENJAMIN CARTER / MARVIN J. ODUM / ED. J. POPE / GEO. LAWSON / JOHN H. WALKER / SAM MCLAUGHIN / DUNCAN G. SHAW / JOSEPH SHAW / [Column two] JOHN A. MCLEAN / ALFRED OLIVER / HERBERT WATSON / JAMES COLLINS / DANIEL MARSH / LONNIE PROCTOR / CASPER STONE / HENRY H. STRAUGHN / GEORGE E. MCDOWELL / DANIEL W. FOWLER / CARSON A. WEST / HENRY BARR / EDWIN V. JOHNSON / O.B. O’BREIN / D.B. PURCELL / EDMUND BRITT / WALTER L. BEASLEY / [Column three] MARTIN L. STUART / LLOYD PITTMAN / G.H. MARSH / GUS NORTON / E.W. BRITT / ATLAS JOHNSON / JAMES E. SMITH / WILLIAM S. HYATT / ARCHIE GILLESPIE / ELLIS TYNER / RAYMOND EVERS / FRED GILLIS / WILLIS ALLEN LEE / ARCHIE MCLAUGHLIN / E. DAWSON BULLOCK / CLAUDE E. PHILLIPS
INDIAN / [Column one] ELLIS HARDIN / CALVIN B. LOWERY / WILLIAM R. OXENDINE / PRESTON LOCKLEAR / HARVEY OXENDINE / [Column two] WINSLOW LOCKLEAR / ADDINALL H. LOCKEY / GOLDEN OXENDINE / LONNIE HUNT / [Column three] GARFIELD LOWERY / JAKE EDWARDS / W.R. OXENDINE / LONNIE W. HAMMONDS
COLORED / [Column one] ARTHUR ROZIER / ZEDDIE ROBESON / ROBERT BURTON / EDDIE SMITH / [Column two] MARSHALL PITTMAN / LACY H. MCALLUM / VAL. PIERCE / [Column three] JASPER J. ELLIOT / FRED D. GILLIS / JAMES MCNEIL
THE EPITAPH / DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI / THY SONS AND THY DAUGHTERS SHALL BE GIVEN UNTO ANOTHER / PEOPLE, AND THINE EYES SHALL LOOK AND FAIL WITH LONGING / FOR THEM ALL THE DAY LONG. / DEUT. 28:32 / GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS. / JOHN 15:13 / PRESENTED BY ROBESON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS / IN MEMORY OF OUR WORLD WAR DEAD / A.D. 1938
May 28, 1939
34.620060 , -79.008230 View in Geobrowse
"Robeson County Court House, Lumberton, N.C." Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill Link
Folder 1269: Lumberton: Robeson County Courthouse, circa 1940s: Scan 1, in the North Carolina County Photographic Collection #P0001, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Link
“Memorial Tablet With Names of Robeson’s Dead,”The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), March 13, 1919, 1
“Plaque To World War Dead Unveiled In Impressive Ceremonies Here,” The Robesonian“Seeking New Memorial to War Victims,” The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), July 1, 1938, 1
“The Call, Answer, Epitaph,” The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), December 20, 1928
“To Present World War Memorial At Service Sunday,” The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), May 22, 1939, 1
“Urge Perfection Of War Memorial By August 15,” The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), July 22, 1938, 1
Robeson County Commissioners
Dedication day began with a morning memorial service at First Presbyterian Church to which ex-service men and relatives of those whose names appeared on the plaque had been invited. At 4:30 in the afternoon about 150 veterans, families and friends of the dead gathered at the courthouse for the unveiling ceremony. The event began with singing of “America” and the invocation by Reverend T.G. Vickers. County Attorney David H. Fuller delivered the main address; tracing the history of North Carolina’s “prominent past.” Fuller declared that “the time will never come when North Carolina forgets the heroic deed of her ancestors.” He also made note that the first soldiers to fall in the Civil War and Spanish-American War were from this state. After Fuller’s speech the unveiling was performed by Gold Star Mothers. C.B. Skipper, Jr., Robeson VFW post commander then accepted and dedicated the plaque “to the memory of these our departed comrades, who gave their all and made the supreme sacrifice, that democracy, should not perish from the earth and that our liberties and privileges as American citizens should not be impaired.” The ceremony ended with the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silent prayer and the playing of “taps”.
An attempt to remove the original wooden tablet from the courtroom in the old Robeson County Courthouse led to “a storm of protest.” Members of the bar association had removed it after the courtroom had been painted. After the protest it was returned to the wall until the present plaque was dedicated.
The plaque is located inside the Robeson County Courthouse at 500 N Elm Street, Lumberton, NC 28358.
The courthouse has two sets of entry doors on the front. Enter through the left entrance. The
plaque is on an alcove wall on the right just past the security checkpoint.
The Robeson County Confederate Monument is located in front of the County Courthouse.
Right behind the courthouse building there is a paved courtyard located at the corner of N. Court Square Street and N. Chestnut Street. It includes the Robeson County War Memorial and plaques to General John Willis, George Washington Tree, Colonel Thomas Robeson, and George G. McPhail, Jr. Also behind the courthouse to the left of the courtyard is an Appalachian Indian Road (Boone Trail Highway) plaque attached to a large arrowhead.
The 1932 courthouse where the plaque was located at dedication was torn down in 1974. The present courthouse was opened in 1977 at the same address.