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Welcome to the HPG Historic Markers Project

Promoting Knowledge of  Lenoir Countyís History

Historical Preservation Groupís historical markers point out important places in Lenoir Countyís past. Some marker sites will contain tangible reminders of the past like an old house. Others will mark the location of a historical event that left no trace at all. The idea behind the marker program is to use markers to help people think about Lenoir Countyís history while visiting the actual spots where historical events have unfolded.

Historic markers are a way of remembering our past. It is different from the way we think about the past when we read a history book, listen to a lecture on the Battle of Kinston, or buy a colonial antique at an auction.
 

The Infamous
 Kinston Hangings Sign

In February 1864 in Kinston, 22 white soldiers from Lenoir, Jones and Craven Counties were hanged in three groups by Confederate authority.  The men had either served in the Home Guard or the Army and were accused of deserting the Confederate army.  The executed men had been captured while serving in the Union Army by troops under the command of general George Pickett during operations around New Bern, NC and were deemed rightly or wrongly deserters from the southern ranks.  Each soldier had his own story as to how he came to be in this predicament.  In the presents of all the Confederate troops and town's people the soldiers were hanged.  The event was the only one of its kind during the war.  The controversy was that the Confederates tried 22 soldiers as deserters and not prisoners of war.

 

Location of Hangings

The infamous Kinston Hangings took place over 150 years ago.  The exact location of the hangings remains a mystery, however clues were given in the records that a general location has been determined to have been in a field somewhere behind the Lenoir County Courthouse.  In the spring of 2003 HPG got the permission from the City of Kinston to erect a sign in the 100 block on the east side of South McLewean Street between East Caswell and East King Street.

Sign Interpretation

The sign gives a brief interpretation of the hangings.  The interpretation was written by noted Civil war author Gerard Patterson, who wrote the book Justice or Atrocity.  The art work on the front of sign was commissioned by the American Civil War magazine to illustrate a story by Gerard Patterson.  The artist is Bob Graham.  Both Mr. Graham and the American Civil War magazine gave permission for the use of the painting for the sign.