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Celebrating the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence: Celebration Timeline
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Presidential visits, parades, patriotic speeches, dances and reenactments of Captain Jack's famous horse ride have all been part of celebrations in Mecklenburg County. Celebrations often lasted several days! See how Mecklenburg citizens and others from around the country have celebrated "Meck Dec Day."

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1902: The People’s Paper 5/21

The People’s Paper
5/21/1902, p. 2

SHIP[P] MONUMENT UNVEILED.

Impressive Ceremonies-A Large Crowd Present. Charlotte, Special. -The unveiling of the monument to Lieutenant W. E. Shipp was made notable the 20th of May, 1902.

The exercises were impressive, yet simple. At the last Masters W. E. Shipp and Fabius B. Shipp, the sons of the dead soldier, came to the centre of the hollow square that had been formed by the military. There was silence for a moment. Two long cords were pulled taut, and the white covering fell gently to the ground. Soldiers presented arms; the band played "America," the vast audience cheered.

There stood revealed a straight, cool shaft of granite, and there was written thereon:
"Amongst a Grove the Very Straightest Plant."
William Ewen Shipp.
Tenth Cavalry
U. S. Army.
Born August 23, 1861.
Killed at San Juan
Battle of Santiago,
July 1, 1898. SHIPP."

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The weather, though warm, was kindly and brought the local world and its guests out of doors. Charlotte appeared in holiday manner; county people were present in strong force; and thousands of visitors were to be seen on the streets. Long before the exercises began the thoroughfares were crowded for several blocks in every direction from the square with a good natured multitude that patiently waited for the line of march to appear. Seldom has the city contained a larger gala day throng; though the place was devoid of decoration or other insignia of celebration. The odd tone of the surging assembly was quietude; this being, in some way, appropriate to the character of the memorial on which all attention was fastened.

First to meet at the county court house were the cadets of the Carolina Military Institute. At 10 o’clock the military, preceded by the Mt. Holly band, swung into line and marched down to the place of assembly; and were followed shortly by the guests of honor. Under the direction of Major T. R. Robertson, who commanded the military, and Col. A. L. Smith, the chief marshal, the line of march was formed and proceeded, up South Tryon street and across the square, direct to the post office.

THE LINE OF MARCH.

The band led the parade and was followed by the military, consisting of the Blue Ridge Rifles, from Asheville; company M, from King’s Mountain; the Overman Guards, from Salisbury’ the Fayetteville Light Infantry, and the Hornets’ Nest Riflemen and the Artillery company, of Charlotte.

Following were the guests of honor, in carriages. These were: Mrs. W. E. Shipp, Masters W. E. Shipp and Fabius B. Shipp, Mrs. Anna McBee, Miss Kate Shipp, Mrs. Judge Shipp, Miss Mary Shipp, F. H. Busbee, Esq., Capt. W. F. Forsythe, U. S. A.; Miss Eliza Bushee, Mr. Richard S. Busbee, Col. J. P. Thomas, Rev. E. A. Osborne, Mrs. Adelaide Worth Bagley, Mr. Earl Sloan, General Julian S. Carr, Judge Armistead Burwell, Mrs. Stonewall Jackson, Miss Julia Jackson Christian, Mrs. Armistead Burwell, Capt. W. H. Day, J. C> Buxton, Esq., Mayor P. M. Brown; Col. J. F. Armfield, Major W. A. Guthrie, Clement Manly, Esq., Mr. C. S. Wooten, of La Grange; Mrs. Walter Brem, Mrs. J. Hirshinger, Mrs. A. L. smith, Miss Lottie Caldwell, Mr. B. F. Withers, Mr. W. J. Chambers and Mr. George Stephens. The crowd between the square and the post office was so great that the procession moved slowly and was forced to pause twice. Around the monument, which is located on the green sward in front of the post office building, an immense concourse had gathered, while vast numbers of spectators blocked the road for a long distance, filled the premises of nearby houses and stood close together in the balconies of the post office and in the large area on the first floor of the building. The crowd, all told, must have numbered four or five thousand people, and ceased to be a crowd only at the point where good view or hearing was not obtainable.

The sea of faces was representative of the best in this county, and comprised prominent folk from all parts of South Carolina. Their presence, along, was seemly tribute to the occasion. There was mute idea that the white-clothed granite told valor that stood for pride universal.

Col. E. A. Osborne made the opening prayer. The address was delivered by Col. J. P. Thomas, of Columbia, S. C., and was attentively listed to. The exercises were impressive and well received by a large audience.

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