Gatesville home to Civil War Marker

Published 11:11 am Monday, November 29, 2010

GATESVILLE – The Civil War Trails program has installed more than 1,000 interpretive markers at Civil War sites in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Gates County is now the home of such a marker.

Recently, a marker was erected at the old Gates County Courthouse. It was there that men of the county, before being assigned their Confederate units and shipped off to battle, would gather for a rally. Many made their way up to the second floor of the historic facility where they scribbled their names on a wall. Some of those signatures remain visible today.

“The next round of maps printed by the Civil War Trails program should include the site here in Gatesville,” County Manager Toby Chappell said.

“We’ll see how much tourism this will generate and then weigh our options on what other sites here in Gates County can be possibly added to the Trail,” Chappell stated.

The issue of placing a marker at the old courthouse came before the Gates County Board of Commissioners at a meeting held earlier this month. There, the commissioners agreed to fund up to $600 towards the installation of the marker.

It was at their October meeting where the commissioners learned of a $1,100 cost for inclusion in the marker program.

“The board wanted me to get a feeling from the (Gates County) Historical Society, (Gates County) Chamber of Commerce and the town (Gatesville) as to whether they would make some sort of financial contribution to this (placement of a marker),” Chappell said.

Chappell went on to say that the Chamber would support whatever dollar amount the Historical Society agreed to fund, up to $250. That was the amount the Historical Society opted to fund.

“So that’s $500 of the $1,100 needed to place the marker,” Chappell said.

That prompted the commissioners to kick in up to $600 to provide the difference. That amount was contingent on whether or not officials with the Town of Gatesville opted to help fund the project.

“We can agree to finance the amount, less what the (Gatesville) town council agrees to,” Commission Chairman Graham Twine suggested. “That would be $600 on our part, less whatever Gatesville agrees to.”

Commissioner Henry Jordan motioned for the county to fund $600 for the marker, contingent upon the decision reached by the Town of Gatesville. Commission Vice-Chair Kenneth Jernigan offered a second and the motion passed without objection.

As things turned out, the county only had to fund one-half of their obligation. Chappell said he met with Gatesville’s officials and they agreed to put $300 towards the project.

“That left us having to fund only $300,” Chappell said. “This shows the spirit of community…having four entities come together in an effort to attract more tourists to Gates County. Heritage tourism is bringing more and more people to our state; we have so much history to offer.”

Upon agreeing to the project, the commissioners signed a waiver, one that gives the Civil War Trail Markers organization permission to place the marker on county property.

Now that the marker is installed, Gates County becomes the 48th site in eastern North Carolina that is a part of the Civil War Trail. Others in close proximity include Edenton, Elizabeth City, Hertford, Murfreesboro, South Mills and Winton.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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