The George Davis Monument

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George Davis Monument and statue.

The George Davis Monument in Wilmington, North Carolina was sculpted by Francis Herman Packer a native from Munich, Germany who worked out of New York. Funding for Mr. Packer’s travel to and from Wilmington was provided directly from Mr. James Sprunt.[1] The casting of the monument was done by the Gorham Manufacturing Company in 1910 in Rhode Island. The casting was 8 feet tall bound bronze weighing in at 1,700 pounds.[2]

The cornerstone of the monument was laid on October 14, 1909 during a ceremony of the Masonic. Within the cornerstone are some of the following items: A copy of the first number Carolina Churchman, dated October, 1909, copy of commission of Honorable George Davis as Attorney General of the Confederate states, dated January 4, 1864, and many other items of historical interest.[3] The base weighed in at five and a half tons and included gilded seals of both North Carolina and the Confederate states. Long encomiums were also utilized within the base to celebrate Davis’s virtues.[4]The statue itself was unveiled on April 20, 1911 to the chimes of the Delgado Band hired for the occasion for $25.[5]

History of the George Davis monument[edit]

Inception[edit]

Inscription on monument.

The idea for the monument was originally developed by the Cape Fear Chapter 3 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1901. This occurred during a time when there was a general incentive to celebrate the history of the South by commemoration through the psychology of monuments. These monuments were heralded as part of the civic improvements for the city of Wilmington, North Carolina as well as monuments located throughout the South. Created well after the Civil War these monuments were a reflection from the construction of cultural memory.[6]

Funding[edit]

Front inscription and artwork.

The Cape Fear Chapter 3 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy began raising money for the George Davis monument in 1904. The funding was very slow to arrive despite the urgency the UDC gave to the community. The minute book of UDC Cape Fear Chapter shows that funds were complete in April 1909 with the Chapter raising almost $900 and the rest being raised by cotton magnate James Sprunt. Sprunt stepped in and provided additional funding he had amassed through friends and colleagues which brought the total budget to $5,010.34.[7]

Timeline of the Monument[edit]

1993—Sons of Confederate Veterans Celebrate George Davis’ Birthday[8] 1995—Descendants Honor George Davis at Monument Ceremony[9] 2000—Traffic Damage to the George Davis Monument[10] 2000—Repair and Reinstallation of the Monument[11]

George Davis[edit]

The following is a timeline of George Davis.[12]

  • 1820, March 1: Born in Porter’s Neck in New Hanover County (now Pender County)
  • 1834: Entered UNC Chapel Hill at the age of 14
  • 1838: Graduated from UNC Chapel Hill, was valedictorian of his class
  • 1841: Graduated from law school and licensed to practice
  • 1847-1855: Served as a Wilmington Town Commissioner along with 33 other commissioners
  • 1861, Jan. 26: Delegate to the Peace Convention—Whig who supported Henry Clay, originally sided with the Constitutional Union party, but at the Peace Convention on 2 March he stated he was now a secessionist and that “The division must be made on the line of slavery. The State must go with the South.”
  • 1863, December 31: Confederate President appointed him Attorney General
  • 1866, January 2: Paroled by President Johnson as part of the General Amnesty
  • 1870, April 28: General Robert E. Lee entertained in Honorable G. Davis home on Second Street in Wilmington, North Carolina
  • 1896, February: Died. Buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, North Carolina

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Seaper, Janet K., Breiner, Allison, photographs. “George Davis Statue” Beach Magazine (February 2005) 54-59.
  2. ^ Seaper, Janet K., Breiner, Allison, photographs. “George Davis Statue” Beach Magazine (February 2005) 54-59.
  3. ^ Dickson, A. L. “Historic Articles Preserved: Cornerstone of Davis Monument Contains papers, Letters and Coins.” (April 17, 1966)
  4. ^ Volkstorf, Todd. “Refurbished Davis statue again stands downtown.” Wilmington Star News (February 17, 2002)
  5. ^ Reaves, Bill. “Inside Old Wilmington.” The Wilmington Star News (February 1966.)
  6. ^ Lawrence, R. C. “Attorney for the South.” The State VI:35 (January 28, 1939): 9+18.
  7. ^ Steelman, Ben. “Statues: George Davis.” Sunday Star News (January 20, 2002) 11D.
  8. ^ Rose, Tracy. “George Davis: Faithful remember Confederate leader.” Wilmington Star News (March 2, 1993) 1B-2B.
  9. ^ Hervey, Philip. “Descendents honor son of the South.” Wilmington Star News (June 8, 1995)
  10. ^ Volkstorf, Todd. “Refurbished Davis statue again stands downtown.” Wilmington Star News (February 17, 2002)
  11. ^ Volkstorf, Todd. “Refurbished Davis statue again stands downtown.” Wilmington Star News (February 17, 2002)
  12. ^ Yearns, Buck. “George Davis.” Dictionary of NC Biography 32-33.

Coordinates: 34°14′08″N 77°56′45″W / 34.23556°N 77.94577°W / 34.23556; -77.94577{{#coordinates:34.23556|-77.94577|region:US-NC_type:landmark|||||| |primary |name= }}