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story.lead_photo.caption The Confederate soldier monument Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, on the Bentonville square. The lower part of the soldier's rifle is missing after the statue was vandalized. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/BEN GOFF)

BENTONVILLE -- The Confederate monument and statue will be removed from the downtown square, it was announced Monday.

The Arkansas Division United Daughters of the Confederacy has agreed to move the statue after discussion with community leaders about the future of statue on the square, according to a press release from the group.

The monument is owned by the UDC and it has stood on the square since 1908 in an agreement with Benton County.

The property where the statue sits is county owned property, and the statue is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, County Judge Barry Moehring said. The city of Bentonville maintains the beautification and maintenance of the property.

The statue depicts a bearded soldier, according to the 1996 National Register of Historical Places registration form for the monument.

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Bentonville Confederate Statue

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The Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to work with the Benton County Historical Society an other community members and decided to relocate the monument to a permanent private park named "James H. Berry Park", adjacent to the Bentonville Cemetery, where Gov. Berry is buried, pursuant to an agreement between the UDC and the Benton County Historical Society, according to the release.

The agreement will allow the UDC to continue to display and preserve the historical significance of the monument and its connection to the history of Benton County in perpetuity, according to the release.

The relocation will begin in August after the UDC submits an application under the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to maintain the monument on the National Registry of Historic Places, according to the release.. The Historical Society will own and operate the park and display the monument and the UDC will continue to own the monument, according to the release.

Sheree Miller is a member of Shame of Bentonville. The group has been protesting for more than a year for the removal of the monument. She was excited to learn about the removal of the monument.

"This is wonderful news," she said. "It means to me when my grandchildren and relatives come to Bentonville that I can take them to the Square without being ashamed."

The monument has also been the target of vandals. The statue was vandalized on Sept. 22. Two people on Feb. 14 pleaded not guilty in connection with felony criminal mischief.

"We appreciate the spirit of this decision of the UDC, and we are prepared to play an important role in preserving the monument in an appropriate way to commemorate Governor Berry as well as our State and county history," said Leah Whitehead, chairwoman of the historical society.

NW News on 06/02/2020

Print Headline: Confederate monument on Bentonville square to be moved

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