Confederate Memorial Monument

Monument Photo by Jason Gibbs

In Memories of a Lifetime, Neal Willis noted his impression of the first time he saw the Confederate Memorial Monument. The year was 1926. Neal and his classmates were outside during recess at the Beaufort Graded School—then next to the Courthouse in Beaufort. 1926 postcard below show the location of Beaufort Graded School and the Courthouse just before the monument was erected.

Neal Willis wrote, “We saw the train come in and stop in front of the Town Hall (now the site of the Health Department). We thought this odd because we had never seen it stop there before. We watched as a large wooden crate was unloaded and placed on the curb. After the train moved on we rushed over to see what was in the box. We peeked inside and saw the biggest man we had ever seen. He was a giant and was greenish in color. We didn’t linger long enough to further investigate. We made tracks away from that monster."
Willis continued, "I remember the 10th of May when it was unveiled. This date was an annual get together of school kids to hold Maypole dances and running and jumping contests. It was a country shindig with people coming from all over the county. On the day of the unveiling, Senator Simmons from New Bern, as well as other dignitaries made speeches about the Civil War. Bands played and everyone cheered as the cord was pulled to release the white sheet that covered the statue.
After the ceremony, everyone went over to the cemetery to place flags on veteran’s graves. It was a very emotional occasion enjoyed by a lot of people, many of whom were descendants of veterans.”