Williamson County Confederate monument relocation debate could shift with new courthouse plans

A group of Williamson County residents gathered for a rally at the county courthouse on July 4th to call for a Confederate monument to be relocated off county property.

The monument, which is dedicated to county residents who fought against the United States during the Civil War, was erected in 1916 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

A coalition of church and community advocates has spent the last several years trying to convince county leaders the monument should be relocated.


"People are coming to understand that it just does not belong in this location," said Ron Swain, one of the rally organizers.

Other counties have relocated or removed their own monuments. In 2021, a Confederate memorial at the Caldwell County Courthouse was removed. In 2020, a relocation vote for a similar monument in Bastrop County was also approved

At the rally in Georgetown, Bryan Register suggested time was running out for their effort because of the upcoming presidential election.

"We only have six months of freedom left, and this might be the last election of our lives. So, if anyone feels the need not to celebrate but to mourn it," warned Register.

Change is happening, although not as extreme as what Register was claiming. There are plans to build a new Williamson County Courthouse off the town square. If the old courthouse essentially becomes a museum, that could shift the discussion to the idea of keeping the monument there.

"If this becomes a museum, then the statue should go inside the museum and not on the grounds on such a high perch. When I come downtown and see that statue perched so high, 20ft, however tall it is, you know it is oppressive," said Swain.


Having a plaque near the monument to provide historical context has been pitched as a possible compromise. But rally organizer Jason Norwood isn’t ready for that kind of compromise.

"When government subsidizes the upkeep of monuments to an organization that killed more Americans than any other enemy, that is inherently a problem. We are supporting a traitorous event. And that is why we don't think a plaque is appropriate. Move it to a cemetery, put it with the Confederate dead, and then at least you have some semblance of association," said Norwood.

Compromise doesn’t seem to be a consideration for members of a group called the Williamson County Grays. They stood by the monument during the rally. One of the leaders, Shelby Little, declined to explain why the monument should stay, or why they kept their hats on as the National Anthem was sung during the rally. Little did claim his group was winning the debate. 

Jason Norwood disagreed with Little’s assessment.

"I don't think we're losing. I think the fact that people keep coming out, particularly of different ages and social standings, we are making inroads into areas that I didn't think we would," said Norwood.

Organizers of the rally say the next step is to go before the county commission and ask commissioners to put money into the new budget to relocate the monument.