Searcy Confederate Monument
The Searcy Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1917 at the White County Courthouse to honor local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War.
White County sent eight companies of infantry and cavalry troops to fight for the Confederacy, and shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, local members of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) decided it was time to raise a monument in their memory. The Reporter, a trade magazine for monument makers and dealers, included a notice in 1904 saying, “At the recent reunion of Camp Walker-McRea [sic] U.C.V., held at Searcy, Ark., a committee was appointed to co-operate with a committee of the local chapter of the U.D.C. in the erection of a Confederate monument for White county, on the Court House square at Searcy.”
The joint committee apparently decided to raise the funds for the project through private donations and, eleven years later, had raised enough to award a contract to Stewart & Sons of Searcy (White County) “for the erection of a large monument in the court square to the United Confederate Veterans of White County,” which would stand twenty-five feet tall and cost between $1,200 and $1,500.
The long-awaited monument dedication was held on August 16, 1917, as part of the annual UCV reunion, with at least sixty-one Confederate veterans and their guests crowding into the courthouse to hear an address by former U.S. representative Stephen Brundidge following a reading of Psalm 100 by the widow of Confederate general Dandridge McRae. The Daily Citizen reported that Brundidge “delighted the old soldiers and Searcy attendees,…brought honor to himself, and gladness to the heart of the hearers in his speech.”
Brundidge “said that slavery was not the real cause of the great strife between the North and South but it was the different views the two sections held of the constitution.” The speaker asserted that the South’s stand was the correct one, “but was indeed thankful that today we are one Nation, living under one flag, and that the Nation had not been dissolved and that we today present a solid front to every enemy of our country.” Following the speech, “the old soldiers and their friends assembled on the court house lawn where the beautiful monument was unveiled,” then marched to Spring Park “where a bountiful dinner, with plenty of barbecued meat, was served.”
The Searcy Confederate Monument, located on the southeast lawn of the White County Courthouse, is a six-foot statue of a Confederate soldier atop a sixteen-foot granite pedestal. The southeast side of the monument is inscribed “C.S.A. / ERECTED TO / THE MEMORY OF / THE / CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS / OF WHITE COUNTY / BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION 1917. / 1861–1865.” The monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 1996.
For additional information:
“Confederate Monument.” Arkansas Gazette, October 18, 1915, p. 6.
Dodson, Mrs. Thomas F. “Confederate Monuments and Markers in Arkansas.” Arkansas Division UDC, 1960.
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 May 26, 2018).
“Proposed Monuments.” The Reporter 37, no. 1 (1904): 37.
Slater, John. “Searcy 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/WH2320S.nr.pdf (accessed May 26, 2018).
Mark K. Christ
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Last Updated: 11/11/2021