Carteret County commissioners, others show support for Confederate monument

Demonstrators gather at the Confederate soldiers’ monument on the grounds of the county courthouse complex in Beaufort Monday evening to show their support for keeping the statue. (Contributed photo)

BEAUFORT — County commissioners and members of the public came out strongly in support of preserving the Confederate soldiers’ monument sitting on the grounds of the county courthouse complex in Beaufort.

A group of demonstrators gathered near the statue around 6 p.m. Monday, many sporting Confederate flags and Trump 2020 campaign paraphernalia. Concurrently, a number of residents spoke in support of the monument during the public comment portion of the Carteret County Board of Commissioners’ meeting taking place nearby in the administration complex.

“Everybody who fought and died in the Civil War, whether for the Union or the Confederacy, was a hero,” said resident Jennifer Hudson of Newport, drawing applause from an overflow audience. “…This monument serves as a reminder of that brutal, bloody, brother-against-brother Civil War that literally tore this nation apart.”

An online Change.org petition circulating that asks the local board to remove the Confederate monument from the courthouse grounds has nearly 2,300 signatures as of Monday evening. It was created in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality and calls to remove Confederate statues from public grounds after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis, Minn., at the hands of police.

Several county commissioners said they’d received numerous calls and emails from residents on both sides of the issue leading up the meeting Monday evening, but only those in support of keeping the monument spoke during public comments.

“I was real proud and happy about the way that the people who came to the podium tonight to speak about the statute handled themselves,” Commissioner Ed Wheatly said. “As Commissioner (Robin) Comer was saying, I also received a whole lot of emails, a whole lot of Facebook messages and a lot of telephone calls, and I really did not know what to expect. I was expecting a little bit different from how this actually went on tonight.”

Commissioner Comer clarified that a vote on removing the Confederate statue was not included on the commissioners’ agenda and he doesn’t expect it to come up for a vote.

“It was mentioned tonight about taking a vote up here, if I had my way it’ll never be placed up here for a vote, because in my opinion … it was placed there, it was placed there for the right reasons by the right people and you won’t see Robin Comer’s name in favor of taking down a monument to the dead.”

Other commissioners also spoke in strong support of keeping the statue, saying they wouldn’t support any measure to remove it. Mr. Wheatly suggested investing in a granite wall and permanent fence around the monument to protect the structure.

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

(26) comments

Sleepwalker

Oh lord...the comments by our commissioners and local leaders make perfect sense to any reasonable human. BUT that may not be clear to the liberal minority that is trying to tear down ANYTHING that doesn’t fit into their very narrow view/understanding of this country’s history.

Benelli

The historical irony of why a confederate monument was placed at county courthouses, rather than a cemetery where it could clearly honor the dead, is lost on the news times and the commissioners. For those that would espouse that this monument is “history” how about a little history from the news times? Where is the monument to the union soldiers who were born and bred in Carteret County?

How about a memorial to the eastern NC unionists hung by Pickett in Kinston?

It’s not about history. It’s a monument placed to show people “who’s in charge” at a place that should ensure equal treatment to all people under the law, regardless of the color of their skin.

saltydog

Good for them. Just because others across the country fold and cater to the activists doesn't mean we need to.

David Collins

So nobody spoke up against the monument . No offended snowflakes whimpering with tears streaming down their faces . Better watch out , someone will show up in the dead of night to do damage .

Sleepwalker

Bennelli... You just proved my point.

David Collins

Beaufort is located “below the line”. Laws have changed over the years .

mpjeep

My hats off to the support of county commissioners and others that support keeping our monument at the Beaufort county courthouse.

In 2015, the NC state legislature, along with Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, passed and signed into law preventing the removal, relocation or altering monuments and memorials that are on public property.

Gov. Cooper has violated this law by relocating confederate statues in Raleigh, but said he was doing it for public safety. Right! If not for this 2015 law, Cooper would have removed these statues altogether.

Pat McCrory said "our monuments remind us of NCs complete story". McCrory wanted to protect our heritage.

The great state of NC should not hide it's history. Remembering helps us focus to become wiser. We should Never Forget our history, just like we should never forget 9-11.

Removal of confederate statues violates our first amendment rights that we, as Americans, are founded upon.

Free thought, free expression and the freedom to speak our minds, without harassment, is being taken away from us rather quickly.

I truly hope the good folks of Beaufort are able to stand and hold their ground.

ClayManBob

The statues were placed by racist organizations long after the Civil War ended. They were erected decades later in order to support continued repression of black people, not to glorify the soldiers or the war. They do not belong on public property, but in private museums or in memorial cemeteries at best. Please remember, the South LOST. We shouldn't support LOSERS. Succession was TREASON. Deny all you want, but the Civil War was about SLAVERY. The soldiers and people who supported the Confederacy were TRAITORS. Those who continue to wave the Confederate Battle Flag are WHITE SUPREMACISTS and RACISTS whether they can or will ever admit it or not. Now is hundreds of years too later and finally the time for everyone to finally get over it and begin to treat EVERYONE equally and without hatred regardless of skin color, race, nationality, religious beliefs, gender, etc.

Sleepwalker

Clayman,

Your comments offended me. Go punish yourself.

I’ve been to the courthouse several dozen times over my lifetime...never paid that statue no mind. I was too busy trying to get a dog gone parking spot. Now I guess it’s a think like the syrup and rice... never paid the picture on the product one “ioda”. My lineage goes back to a great whatever grandfather that fought for the south and never thought anything either way. It’s HISTORY you blooming fools...HISTORY. We have many roads named after Dr MLK. no biggy... remembering HISTORY.

mpjeep

Wow, no racism, bitterness or anger in your words, ClayMan.

SandFiddler

A great big thank you and kudos to our County Commissioners. To the men in the picture for displaying their support and beautiful flags, I thank you and urge you to continue with what you're doing. We should continue to protect our history.

thetramp

WELL ClayManBob losers you call us? ..... I’m am proud of my heritage and being from the south. That alone does not make me racist and the statues honoring our ancestors does not either. Please answer me this. If these statues were, and have been so offensive why did president Obama NOT do something to remove them in 8 years he was in office?? I will defend my life, property, and harm to others regardless of what color you are and if you think that makes me racist and makes you feel better to call me that then by all means I hope you sleep well tonight.

(Edited by staff.)

John

CLAYMANBOB Here is some history for you being you are short on it. Do you know why there are so many statues and monument here in the south?? No you have no clue ! The real reason is most of the Confederate solders that where killed in the civil was where buried in mass graves in the areas where they where killed. So the families had statues and monuments in memory of them. But i am sure you knew this. It was not about race like you snowflakes keep yelling. But it was about honer at least they stood for something unlike some who are like a spineless jelly fish that just goes with the flow of the strongest currant at the time. I guess that's why they end up on shore sometime, for fallowing the flow. Keep riding the waves dude. and don't learn history. this world needs more idiots who fallows the ones who cry the loudest. And i know you will say i am wrong and it is all wrong. But it is what happened. But you think what you are told!!

mpjeep

Seems you are in the minority here, ClayMan.

dc

Exactly right John. Those wanting to destroy our history & monuments should read much more about Civil War history & become more familiar with their own history versus destroying it. They might learn a lot they didn't know. There is so much to learn & we can never learn too much about our past. Reading about places like the Confederate Prison at Elmira, NY & its cemetery & monuments to the Confederate dead buried there could be as informative as Andersonville National Cemetery. Visiting Somerset Plantation in Tyrrell/Washington counties owned by Gen. Pettigrew's family & reading about Pettigrew himself is a learning experience. Read about entrepreneur Warren Clay Coleman whose father was Concord, NC lawyer & Confederate Gen. Barringer. Coleman son of Barringer & a mixed race black slave mother was once the wealthiest black in NC if not the U.S. His white father backed him in becoming so successful. This county & region has a rich Civi War history for those interested. Union forces at Newport Barracks & those camped/stationed there might be of interest. An ancestor by marriage who initially served in the Confederate Army but later joined the NCUV served under a Union commanding officer who wasn't exactly an officer & a gentleman. Probably before, during & after the war my mother's family were Ds. We know D Party history when talking slavery. We also know it was about economics of the time & many believe state rights. Could it be the Cotton Gin was the underlying cause of the war? My father's family were mostly Rs but I remember him speaking of a Confederate soldier uncle who had a minie ball wound to a shoulder. His great aunt's husband served under that New Yorker & Union captain in a mounted cavalry unit out of Newport Barracks. Let's keep & protect our monuments & history while letting our war dead & monuments rest in peace.

Jon Simmons

We should do what we always do when we defeat an enemy. We take their flag. We try their leaders as war criminals. That’s what the confederate army is!

Sleepwalker

Y’all please read my first comment at the top. Save your breath...you’re trying to make sense to fools.

Simmons...you’re speaking in absolutes, that is a big red flag for ignorance. “Always”...really? You are in dire need of countless hours of history lessons. I would suggest doing some comprehensive research. The leftist narrative is ingrained with falsehoods. Actually that goes for anyone trying to tear down our historical monuments.

llac

My wife attended that commisioners meeting because they were to discuss matters concerning a board she chairs. She was put in danger of the virus. No social distancing, no masks. I watched the meeting online. Lots of glorifying Trump and spouting the Republican party line. This is not what we have a county government for. Please confine yourselves to local issues.

Osprey

Robert E Lee was defending Virginia from the Union the same as George Washington was defending the Colonies from Britain. 1861 was a different time-Its all about perspective. History is our most effective teacher.

mpjeep

It was the War of Northern Aggression. Please keep our statues and monuments!

Sleepwalker

Osprey called it. What was normal for the times thru out history may seem weird/wrong/puzzling to us now. Wonder what we’re doing now that will be “right” or “wrong” 200 years from now. Lead paint and asbestos wasn’t all that long ago.

CARTERETISCORRUPT

We have been under the boot of the North for far too long. Time for another adjustment. The south had it right; Lincoln should have let us form our own more perfect union.

SEABASS

I see more jelly fish washing up John. It is almost 100 Degrees but there are snowflakes every where these days!

Sheepshead

Robert E Lee surrendered for two reasons. If you will go back and read about the real history not the new made up and doctored history. You will find he surrendered because he was tired of all the death and the damage it was doing to this great country. And if you do read you will learn after the war was over even some of the Union Generals and military leaders stated that. ( They where afraid all they have done was destroyed a country, No one won the civil war! We All will lose in the end. These where quotes made by some of the union leader. They knew the war would not prove anything. The government would destroy this country in the end. And it is doing a great job now.

Gravesfamily256

Beautiful Photo ! God bless you for continuing to represent our ancestors. Much love to you all.

SandFiddler

Ditto Gravesfamily!

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