Dan Emmett, Fletcher
The memorial is one of a series of large granite mountain boulders, all about the same size but
of different shapes that comprise the “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South.” Each marker contains a bronze plaque with date of birth and death and a statement about the person’s significance to southern culture or in some cases their relationship to Calvary Episcopal Church.
Images: Plaque | Rear view | View of memorials at "Westminster Abbey of the South"
Plaque, front: IN LOVING MEMORY / “DAN” EMMETT / COMPOSER OF / “DIXIE” / BORN IN
MOUNT VERNON, OHIO / OCTOBER 29, 1815 / DIED IN MOUNT VERNON, OHIO / JUNE 28, 1904
/ HE COMPOSED “DIXIE” IN NEW YORK CITY / 1859
Plaque, rear: ERECTED BY / THE NEWMAN MANUFACTURING CO. / MAKERS OF BRONZE TABLETS / CINCINNATI, OHIO, 1927
Calvary Episcopal Church
June 5, 1927
35.442600 , -82.503600 View in Geobrowse
"Westminster Abbey of South," Spartanburg Herald Journal (Spartanburg, SC) September 24, 1939, Link
Hicklin, J.B. “Elaborate Abbey to Immortalize South’s Leaders,” Forest City Courier (Forest City, NC), September 24, 1931, (accessed May 27, 2016) Link
Jenkins, Mark. “Historical Sketch of Calvary Episcopal Church,” (Calvary Parish, Fletcher, 1959) Link
“Calvary Church, Fletcher, N.C. Between Asheville and Hendersonville,” in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (PO77), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link
“Emmett Memorial at Calvary to Be Dedicated Sunday,” Asheville Times (Asheville, NC), June 2, 1927
“Emmett, Dan, Memorial To Composer Of ‘Dixie,” E. M. Ball Photographic Collection (1918- 1969) D. H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804 Link
Newman Manufacturing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio
The dedication ceremony began with a brief service in the church and a talk on Emmett by Felix E. Alley of Waynesville. A service on the lawn featured patriotic music prior to the unveiling by Rev. Clarence S. McCLellan, rector of Calvary Episcopal, as “Dixie” was played on the banjo by B.L. Lunsford. Those in “attendance included members of over half a dozen United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans chapters along with dignitaries from Asheville, Hendersonville and Fletcher.
Daniel Emmett is most famous as the composer of “Dixie”. Emmett performed in a number of
blackface minstrel bands during his career but it was his Virginia Minstrels group performances
in the early 1840s that made these shows into a full-blown craze in the United States.
Blackface performances had been imported from Europe where it had been popular for centuries. In England these performances were sympathetic to the plight of slaves and helped hasten the end of slavery there. In the United States it came to reinforce racial stereotypes by portraying African-Americans as good natured but ignorant buffoons.
Calvary Episcopal Church is located at 2840 Hendersonville Road, at
its intersection with Old Airport Road in Fletcher, NC.
Eighteen “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South” markers stand in two rows in a lawn area facing Old Airport Road to the right of the church. The Robert E. Lee Dixie Highway is located near the street facing Hendersonville Road. One memorial to Bill Nye is in the church cemetery and the second memorial to Bill Nye is on the front lawn of the church. The Calvary Episcopal Church marker stands near the sanctuary.
This memorial is one of eighteen “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South” markers that stand in two rows in a lawn area to the right of the church.
This memorial and the seventeen others now standing along Old Airport Road were originally located in a landscaped plot along Hendersonville Road (Highway 25) directly in front of the cemetery. It is likely they had to be relocated when the road was widened to four lanes.