The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

April 25, 2013

Monument erected for 19th century merchant


TARBORO — A heritage program Saturday morning in Tarboro will pay homage to local 19th century merchant Solomon Pender. The 11 a.m. gathering will take place at the monument marking Solomon Pender’s 1852 gravesite along the bank of Hendrick’s Creek, across the field from the town pool off Poplar Street.

“Solomon (Pender) was buried on his land. That’s where he used to live. He owned all the land from Trade Street back to the creek,” said Monika Fleming, historic preservation program director for Edgecombe Community College. “The Pender Family has been a part of Edgecombe County history since the 1700’s. They’ve been involved in all aspects of local and national history.”

“Many people who have made significant contributions to our county and state have been forgotten,” Fleming added. “It’s gratifying to see one being recognized.“

John H. Pender, Solomon’s great-great grandson, oversaw the project that involved clearing the area around his ancestor’s grave and erecting a new granite monument at the site. The Tarboro Town Council approved the idea to refurbish the gravesite in 2011 and the monument was put in place in December 2012.

“I think it’s a good example of what people can do to remember the past,” said Fleming. ”Heritage and heritage tourism is a part of Tarboro. People are going back to Tarboro to recognize their ancestors…Mr. Pender and his family coming (here), that’s a plus for Tarboro.”

John H. Pender orchestrated the memorial project at the urging of his brother Paul, the family historian.

“The idea is not just to recognize Solomon but to recognize all those who have helped to build the community over the years. I think generally they have not been recognized.  If he (Solomon) was alive today, we would probably call him a ‘mover and shaker’ in the community. He was very active in the community…He was an entrepreneur. He had a number of enterprises, including a farm, an inn and a mercantile in Tarboro.”

According to a biography of Solomon Pender, he made a number of contributions to the

community, including planter, landowner, tobacco inspector, ferry service planner, road overseer, Masonic lodge member and hotel operator. The Edgecombe County census of 1850 estimated the value of Solomon Pender’s land and possessions at $15,000, making him a millionaire by today’s prices for land.

Solomon Pender’s plantation home still stands today, at 904 Trade St. Brent and Jean Nash currently live in the home. At the time it was built, the home was so grand that it was often called “Solomon’s Temple.” The owner, who is remembered as a sociable and generous person, frequently entertained family and friends at his home.