Arkadelphia Confederate Monument
The Arkadelphia Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1911 on the grounds of the Clark County Courthouse in Arkadelphia by the Harris Flanagin Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to commemorate local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War.
In 1911, the Harris Flanagin Chapter of the UDC borrowed $1,500 to purchase a Confederate monument. It was dedicated in an elaborate ceremony on May 27, 1911, which began at 10:00 a.m. and lasted into the afternoon. According to newspaper reports, speakers included historian, politician, and author Farrar Newberry, who “delivered a stirring and patriotic oration in which he eulogized the soldiers of the Confederacy in the highest terms, and praised the Confederate ladies for their grand achievement.” Following a speech by J. H. Hinemon (a professor at what later became the University of Arkansas at Monticello), who “enumerated the glorious deeds of immortal Southerners…and it made those present rejoice to know they lived in the land from whence such illustrious men came as those to whom the speaker paid tribute,” the bunting covering the monument was removed, and “a mighty shout went up from the throng and the pulsations of old and young alike were quickened as there stood revealed on high the statue of a soldier clad in the Confederate uniform with musket at parade rest.”
The Arkadelphia Confederate Monument is a six-foot Italian marble carving of a uniformed soldier atop a twenty-one-foot Georgia marble base. The north side of the base is inscribed “C.S.A. / MAY – 1911 / 1861–1865.” The south side features the inscription: “WHEN THE LAST TRUMPET / IS SOUNDED, MAY EACH ONE / ANSWER THE ROLL CALL / OF THE HEAVENLY ARMY.” The east side reads, “THE PRINCIPLES FOR / WHICH THEY FOUGHT LIVE ETERNALLY” above “THE HARRIS FLANAGIN CHAPTER, U.D.C. / TO THE MEMORY OF THE SOLDIERS / OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY / WHOSE INVICIBLE COURAGE MADE / A HUNDRED BATTLE FIELDS FAMOUS / AND WHOSE UNSELFISH DEVOTION TO A / PRINCIPLE MADE THEIR CAUSE GLORIOUS.” The west side is inscribed: “ON FAME’S ETERNAL CAMPING / GROUND / THEIR SILENT TENTS ARE / SPREAD / AND GLORY GUARDS WITH / SOLEMN ROUND / THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD.”
The Flanagin Chapter then had to pay for the monument, announcing in the Southern Standard on June 15, 1911, that it needed to raise sixty dollars per month for the next two years in order to make payments. Despite benefit performances and aggressive fundraising by chapter members, they lagged behind on payments until November 1914, when the Clark County Quorum Court appropriated $665 to pay off the remaining debt on the monument.
The statue stood on the Clark County Courthouse grounds until March 1, 1997, when a tornado tore through Arkadelphia, killing six people and damaging or destroying 240 buildings. The monument was toppled and shattered into several pieces, and its head was missing. After two years, Clark County Judge Grady Manning offered a $500 reward for the head’s return, and a former Henderson State University student turned it in, claiming he found it at Greers Ferry Lake. The Arkansas Chapter of the UDC paid about $20,000 to Memorial Design, Inc., of Elberton, Georgia, to restore the statue. It was again placed atop its pedestal in August 2002, and it was rededicated on October 12, 2002.
The original Clark County Confederate Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 3, 1996.
For additional information:
Bowers, Rodney. “Soldier Whole Again, Reclaims Post.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 12, 2002, pp. 1B, 8B.
———. “Statue Head, Gun Part Lost in Tornado Still AWOL.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, February 11, 1998, pp. 1B, 6B.
Dodson, Mrs. Thomas F. “Confederate Monuments and Markers in Arkansas.” Arkansas Division UDC, 1960.
Lloyd, Donna. “Confederate Statue Finally Returned to Courthouse Lawn.” Siftings Herald, August 12, 2002, p. 1.
Logan, Charles Russell. “Something So Dim It Must Be Holy”: Civil War Commemorative Sculpture in Arkansas, 1886–1934. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1996. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed December 29, 2017).
Slater, John. “Arkadelphia Confederate Monument.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/CL0906S.nr.pdf (accessed December 29, 2017).
Syler, Allen. “The Confederate Monument Clark County Courthouse Square.” Clark County Historical Journal (Fall 1982): 74–97.
Mark K. Christ
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Last Updated: 02/24/2020