Friday, December 31, 2010

What Did They Find Here?

When those Scots Irish and Germans got here "the country of the upper Yadkin teemed with game. Bears were so numerous it was said that a hunter could lay by two or three thousand pounds of bear grease in a season. The tale was told in the forks that nearby Bear Creek took its name from the season Daniel Boone killed 99 bears along its waters. The deer were so plentiful that an ordinary hunter could kill four or five a day; the deerskin trade was an important part of the regional economy. In 1753 more than 30,000 skins were exported from North Carolina, and thousands were used within the colony for the manufacture of leggings, breeches and moccasins." In 1755, NC Gov. Arthur Dobbs wrote to England that the "Yadkin is a large beautiful river. Where there is a ferry it is nearly 300 yards over it, [which] was at this time fordable, scarce coming to the horse's bellies." At six miles distant, he said, "I arrived at Salisbury the county seat of Rowan.
Danial Boone about 1760
The town is just laid out, the courthouse built, and 7 or 8 log houses built." Most of Salisbury's householders ran public houses, letting travelers sup at their table and drink too. In 1762, there were 16 public houses. There was also a shoe factory, a prison, a hospital and armory all here before the Revolution. Even so, it was still only an outpost in the wilderness. Salisbury was for twenty-three years the farthest west county seat in the colonies. And through this outpost the wagon road ran, and on that road the immigrants continued to travel even after the area was settled. Governor Tryon wrote to England that more than a thousand wagons passed through Salisbury in the Fall and Winter of 1765. That works out to about six immigrant wagons per day. This river area now is part of High Rock Lake.

Modified from the article: The Scots-Irish From Ulster and The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road
Information provided by Brenda E.McPherson Compton

Winter In Salem

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Who Traveled South on the Wagon Road?

For 118 years, the English and Dutch settled the New World, lining the harbors and pointing their cities, their eyes, their hearts to the east, across the Atlantic. They were on the fringes of a vast continent but, for the most part, they forever more turned away from it and toward home. They were certainly colonists, even those stern faced few who came to these shores for religious reasons. Most of the other settlers had come to expand the business opportunities of home establishments. Their ties to those establishments were strong.

Chasing The Frontier: Scots-Irish in Early AmericaIt took a different kind of settler, someone who had cut his ties altogether, someone who didn't really have all that much to lose, to look west at a wilderness and there see something more than raw materials ready for exploitation. It took folks like the Germans and the Scots Irish to put their backs to the ocean and see home in front of them. Escaping devastating wars, religious persecution, economic disasters, and all of those other things that still cause people to come to these shores, the Scots Irish and the Germans had no intention of returning to their native lands. They were here to stay. They didn't look east but to the south and west toward land. They didn't see wolves and Indians. They saw opportunities. And as different as the Germans and the Scots Irish were, they had what it took to flourish in the back country. Not possessions that could be lost in the fording of a river, not personal contacts and the sponsorship of powerful men, but rough and tumble ability and a heavy streak of stubbornness. They knew slash and agriculture, they knew pigs, they could hunt and forage, they knew hard work. They built their cabins the exact same way. And eventually, they traveled together in that same heavy stream southward along The Great Pennsylvania Wagon Road.

The Great Wagon Road: From Philadelphia to the SouthIn 1749, 12,000 Germans reached Pennsylvania. By 1775, there were 110,000 people of German birth in that colony, one-third of the population. When Philadelphia was a cluster of Inns and Ordinaries: the Blue Anchor, Pewter Platter, Penny Pot, Seven Stars, Cross Keys, Hornet and Peacock. Benjamin Franklin, one of that era's most open-minded men asked, "Why should the Palatinate Boors be suffered to swan-n into our settlement and by herding together establish their language and manners to the exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us, instead of our Anglicizing them and will never adopt our language or customs any more than they can acquire our complexion."  But the Germans kept coming, thinking like their Scots Irish compatriots who are recorded as noting that!, "It was against the law of God and nature that so much land should be idle while so many Christians wanted it to labor on and raise their bread."   In short, Pennsylvania was flooded.

Modified from the article: The Scots-Irish From Ulster and The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road
Information provided by Brenda E.McPherson Compton

Winter In Salem

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why Did They Travel South?

There is probably no more beautiful land anywhere than that part of Pennsylvania now known as the "Amish Country." It must have appeared to those people fresh off of the boat, truly a land flowing with milk and honey. But it filled rapidly. Land became expensive. The most important reason why the Germans and Scots-Irish put what little they owned on their backs and took the southbound road was the cost of land in Pennsylvania. A fifty acre farm in Lancaster County, PA would have cost 7 pounds 10 shillings in 1750. In the Granville District of North Carolina, which comprised the upper half of the state, five shillings would buy 100 acres.  The crossing of an ocean was move enough for most of the early immigrants. The generation, which could still feel the waves beneath their feet when elderly, often stayed in Pennsylvania, but their children repeated their parent's adventure. Often, they cast off their lines, raised whatever anchors they had, and "sailed" south right after their patriarchs had gone to their reward.

The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian WarAs North Carolina's Secretary of State, William L. Saunders wrote in 1886,   "Immigration, in the early days, divested of its glamor and brought down to solid fact, is the history of a continuous search for good bottom land."  In their search for bottom land, English colonists encroached onto territories claimed by France. This pressure became one of the reasons the French and Indians went to war against England and her colonists. The Germans and Scots bore the brunt of the war, a cabin burning, wife-kidnapping, farm ambushing, bloody, and horrible guerrilla war. For eleven years mayhem reigned on the frontier. In 1756, three years after the war started, George Washington wrote that the Appalachian frontiersmen were "in a general motion towards the southern colonies" and that Virginia's westernmost counties would soon be emptied. Western North Carolina seemed to those escaping the war to be safer because the Cherokee were on the British side-at least at the beginning. To western North Carolina they came.  This French and Indian War, which started the year Rowan County was created, joined the quest for more and better land as a major factor in sending those Germans and Scots-Irish down the Wagon Road to safer territory. Not only that but, the peace treaty that ended the war stated that no English settlers would go over the Appalachians. Thus, the best unclaimed land in all of the colonies lay along the Yadkin, Catawba and Savannah Rivers between the years 1763 and 1768.  When the war ended in 1764, the western settlements of Pennsylvania had suffered a loss of population. Virginia and North Carolina had grown.

Modified from the article: The Scots-Irish From Ulster and The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road
Information provided by Brenda E.McPherson Compton

Winter In Salem

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road

October 1753, fifteen Moravians are traveling to North Carolina to begin a new settlement. The route they follow from Pennsylvania does not yet have its famous name: The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road. The brothers often were required to cut down trees, improve and widen the road in order to pass.

During the early years, travelers walked, leading five or six pack animals laden with supplies: tools, seed, and fabric. In places, the famous path they trod was only three or four feet wide. The wilderness literally crept right up to their feet and brushed their faces as they walked. In later years they marched alongside oxen as these over sized beast pulled two-wheeled carts heaped to overflowing, crossing rivers that licked high about their animals flanks and often soaked every single individual piece of their worldly possessions. Finally, when the path had been worn clear by thousands and thousands of previous travelers, they rode in wagons as the path was widened into an honest to goodness road. These Pennsylvania German built wagons at their largest would be twenty-six feet long, eleven feet high and some could bear loads up to ten tons. It took five or six pairs of horses to pull them.

No matter if they walked or rode, in the mid afternoon, they stopped to take care of the animals, prepare food, and put up the defense for the night. The cries of wolves in the distance and the pop of twigs just outside of the firelight sounded danger. Bands of Indians in the early days, bands of thieves later, chased away deep sleep, no matter how tiring the day, how bone weary the traveler. The fastest loaded wagon could go about five miles a day. The trip took a minimum of two months. Wagons broke down, rivers flooded, supplies gave out, and there was sickness but no doctors. Wagons were repaired, floods ceded, the wilderness supplied their need, and the sick were buried or stumbled on.

Only a few trails cut through the vast forests, which covered the continent between the northernmost colonies and Georgia, the southern tip. The settlers, as they moved inland, usually followed the paths over which the Indians had hunted and traded. The Indians, in turn, had followed the prehistorical traces of animals. Who knows why the animals wandered where they did, but some of those early travelers on that road, the Scots-Irish Presbyterians, would have assured us it was certainly predetermined. Even so, few paths crossed the Appalachians, which formed a barrier between the Atlantic plateau and the unknown interior. Through this unknown, even then, there was a road. The Iroquois tribesmen of the North had long used the great warriors path to come south and trade or make war in Virginia and the Carolinas. This vital link between the native peoples led from the Iroquois Confederacy around the Great Lakes through what later became Lancaster and Bethlehem, Pa. through York to Gettysburg and into Western Maryland around what is now Hagerstown. It crossed the Potomac River at Evan Watkins Ferry, followed the narrow path across the back country to Winchester, through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to Harrisonburg, Staunton, Lexington, and Roanoke. On it went into Salem, NC, and on to Salisbury, where it was joined by the east-west Catawba and Cherokee Indian Trading Path at the Trading Ford across the Yadkin River. On to Charlotte and Rock Hill, SC where it branched to take two routes, one to Augusta and another to Savannah, Georgia. It was just a narrow line through the continuous forest.

Virginia's Gov. Col. Alexander Spotswood first discovered this Great Road in 1716 when his "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe," crossed the mountains, drank a toast to King George's health and buried a bottle claiming the vast valley for the King of England. In 1744, a treaty between the English colonists and the Indians gave the white men control of the road for the first time. By 1765 the Great Wagon Road was cleared enough to hold horse drawn vehicles and by 1775, the road stretched 700 miles. Boys and dogs, smelling like barnyards, drove tens of thousands of pigs to market along this road, which grew gradually worse the farther South you went. Inns and ordinaries, which spotted the road undoubtedly taught more than a few of them the ways of the world. But that was all later.

The majority of the folks who by the thousands would walk over Spotswood's buried bottle would have probably thought his whole 1716 ceremony a little preposterous and quite a bit pretentious. You see, they were plain folk trying to get away from Latin, from mottoes, and from knights with horseshoes no matter their element of manufacture, steel or gold. They were as different from Spotswood's cavaliers as a golden horseshoe is from an ox's hoof.

In the last sixteen years of the colonial era," wrote historian Carl Bridenbaugh, "Southbound traffic along The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road was numbered in tens of thousands. It was the most heavily traveled road in all America and must have had more vehicles jolting along its rough and tortuous way than all the other main roads put together."

When the British captured Philadelphia, the Continental Congress escaped down The Pennsylvania Wagon Road. Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett traveled it. George Washington knew it as an Indian fighter. John Chisholm knew it as an Indian trader. Countless soldiers, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Pickens, Andrew Lewis, Francis Marion, Lighthorse Harry Lee, Daniel Morgan, and George Rogers Clark, among them, fought over it. Both the North and South would use it during the Civil War.

The Great Wagon Road: From Philadelphia to the SouthAnd down this road, this glorified overgrown footpath through the middle of nowhere leading to even greater depths of nowhere, came those people looking for a better life for themselves and their children, down it came those settlers, those hardworking stubborn Scots Irish and Germans: the preachers, the blacksmiths, and farmers.

Modified from the article: The Scots-Irish From Ulster and The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road
Information provided by Brenda E.McPherson Compton

First Map of the Wagon Road:

1751 Map by by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson
 The 1751 map by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson's father) is in the collection of the Moravian Archives and is one of the many early treasures housed in Salem.This blogger is privileged to have a copy made directly from this map in his collection.

The map above, drawn by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson’s father) in 1751, was the first to show “The Great Road from the Yadkin River thru Virginia to Philadelphia distant 455 Miles” — what would come to be known as The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road or just the Great Wagon Road. Fry and Jefferson based their map on firsthand surveys not, as was common at the time, on the word of other people who had traveled through the land. On their map, the road ends at Wachovia (Wachaw), the Moravian settlement. Later, it would be extended further south and west. Also marked is the “Trading Path leading to the Catawba & Cherokee Indian Nations,” the Indian trading path that predated European settlement.

Fry and Jefferson were commissioned to draw an accurate map of the most-inhabited (by whites, that is) parts of Virginia, and that was the only land they surveyed. As a result, they drew the border between Virginia and North Carolina only as far west as the Allegheny Mountains, although in theory that border still ran to the Pacific Ocean. Note that the western border of Pennsylvania is clearly drawn on the map; Virginia also claimed all the land that is now Ohio. Note also that the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania isn’t drawn! That boundary was in dispute at the time. Not until 1763 would Mason and Dixon set out from Philadelphia to survey the boundary between the two colonies and draw the line that would bear their names.

Winter In Salem

Monday, December 27, 2010

Something missing from Old Salem?

Ginny Hens Running Loose in Old Salem
My spouse was fascinated at the first sighting of Ginny Hens running free in Old Salem. I believe that this is the only part of town where this is allowed by special decree! Are they an indication of something missing from Old Salem?

Spending a little time in public records you will discover that much is missing from the historically accurate presentation of Salem in the intended time frame. As I walk through the streets of Salem I have been attempting to garner a better understanding of what this place was really like prior to the Civil War. I find this very difficult. The first problem is that much of what was present then is gone. The details are mind boggling! Many buildings, especially farm type buildings, and the surrounding forest are no longer here. The streets are now all paved; there are no more cobblestone, brick, wood, dirt or mud streets. The grade of the streets has also drastically changed over the years to better accommodate travel, drainage and street cars. There are no people in the distance working in their fields. There is no sound of the turning potters wheel or the banging of hammer to anvil. There is no clip, clop, clip, clop of horses hoofs or turning of wood wheels rolling down the streets. What of the swish of long skirts and petticoats or the sound of clean wash blowing in the wind. The smell of straw, hay and manure are gone not to mention the smell of the many privies (a posting coming about that later!). You can walk safely through the streets and yards with no thought for what you might step in next. You can take a deep breath without fear of what you might smell. Do you begin to get the feeling that the historically adequate presentation of Salem based on the era prior to the Civil Was has some serious flaws?

In an attempt to understand and imagine life in pre Civil War Salem I have been conducting a little research and think I may have stumbled on a major missing ingredient to historical accuracy we fail to consider in today's sterile society. Share in my delight following with me studying these public record entries and see if you get the picture.

Care to meet this in the street or your yard?
A book could be written about the trials and tribulations of the Town Commissioners of both Salem and Winston relative to the problem of hogs, cows and other animals running at large within both towns. It is hard to conceive that during these early years, hogs roamed freely over the town streets. This is a public issue beginning in 1772 when Salem is barely starting out and it will remain an issue into the 1900’s.

June 12, 1772 - "There is complaint from the Brethren and Sisters in the town that so many cattle roam the streets that it is dangerous for the children. Answer was made that each should fence in his own yard, and keep the children there or in the house, and not let them run about on the streets."

Are you paying attention? Fence in the yard to keep the children safe from animals freely roaming throughout the town! Don't be concerned about the farm animals, don't let the children run about in the street. How long could this possibly continue? Watch your step or you may be cleaning your shoes!

April 8, 1816 -"For some time it has been customary to let cows that belong in town stand in front of the houses instead of being let immediately into the barnyards. This is disorderly, and bad for the streets, and should be remedied as soon as possible. It would be avoided if the cows were let into the barnyard or stable as soon as they come home."

Did you get it, “come home”, where had they been all day? Where is the historical depiction of the "barnyard or stable" at the homes of Old Salem?

April 22, 1838 -"Complaints were reported about the hogs rambling through the community, about the nightly noise of too many dogs, the bulls and cows in the streets and the great number of doves causing damage in gardens. We wish that all this which harms the love and harmony in the community could be removed."

In the 1850’s Mrs. Webb’s short-tailed cow is reported as a nuisance. The Mayor was directed to inform Mrs. Webb that unless she put up her cow it would be dealt with according to the Ordinance.”

May 26, 1858 The Mayor was requested to notify Mr. Linebach that his cow, because of its vicious habits, not be allowed to run at large.

August 20, 1859- “Ebert was allowed to turn his cow out again-provided he can secure her in such a manner as to prevent her from doing any mischief.” 

June 30, 1873- A petition was received from 53 citizens requested that an ordinance be enacted prohibiting hogs from running at large”…as we are satisfied they are a nuisance to our citizens.” The petition was referred to a committee. By 1874 ordinances were in place to “arrest” hogs running at large. The laws were repealed on January 15, 1875. At the January 25th meeting, a new hog law was enacted.

June 19, 1874- Mayor Vogler suggested to the Board the necessity of building a pound (fenced lot) for hogs and cattle. The Board resolved to build a pound ten feet square and six feet high. It appears that this Pound was used mainly for impounding hogs running at large within the town limits. The charge against the impounded hog was 40 cents for picking up by the Town Constable, and 10 cents per day for feeding each hog weighing over 100 pounds and 5 cents for pigs under 100 pounds. The owner could redeem his property by paying the costs. If not redeemed, these animals were sold at public auction, after notices posted at designated places for ten days.

You would think after the Civil War they might have these issues under control. NOT!


At the November 1, 1895 meeting an ordinance was passed on the keeping of hogs. It stated “No owner or occupant of any Lot within the Town of Salem, with a frontage of not more than 50 feet on any street, shall keep more than two Hogs; with more than 50 feet and less than 100 feet frontage more than four Hogs; and with more frontage than 100 feet more than 6 hogs, and in all cases where it is desired to keep Hogs on lots having no street frontage or on lots have no house thereon, no Hogs shall be kept. In all cases, the Hog pens shall be kept clean and shall be constructed with floors not less than 10 inches above the surface of the ground.”

Multiply these allowed hogs by the number of homes and what is the potential for hogs in town? 


After several unsuccessful attempts at banning hog lots from Salem, a petition was presented by property owners on Cherry Street calling for an ordinance prohibiting the keeping of hogs in a district bounded by West, First, New Shallowford and Elm St. This was immediately followed by a petition by another group of citizens asking that the law not be changed in that area. At the November 6, 1903 meeting an ordinance was passed favoring the banning of hog keeping in the area. On November 10, two petitions from another section of Salem regarding hog keeping, one for, one against were presented. The Sanitary Committee noted that the majority of property owners in the area actually favored keeping hogs and in this section would not recommend the banning of hog pens.


As Salem became more urban, the issue of animals in the back yard became more of a problem. By 1911, hog pens were still allowed in the south east section of the town. There was no general ordinance regarding the keeping of cows or chickens.

June 2, 1911-A petition was received requesting that Mr. Jones cow lot on Poplar St. be declared a nuisance. This was referred to the Sanitary Committee. The Board of Health took up the issue on July 24 with Mr. Jones and his attorney. The questioning takes up two pages of Minutes Books. The lot was 200 ft square and contained 35 or 40 head of cattle. The Board of Health recommended that Jones have until April 1912 to move the lot. April 5, 1912- An Ordinance was approved prohibiting the keeping of more than 4 cows within the corporate limits and making it illegal to operate a dairy within the corporate limits.


One of the first taxes imposed by the Commissioners of Salem in 1857 was a tax on hogs. These animals had to be provided with a collar and tag or some other means of identification to show that the owner had paid this tax.

The minutes of the Salem Board of Commissioners are replete with recordings of complaints and requests made to the Board about the problems created by hogs running at large. There were instances where one group of citizens would present a petition asking that the Board pass an ordinance prohibiting this freedom of the hogs. However, before the Board took action on such a petition, another group of citizens would submit a petition opposing any restrictions on the hogs. In one case, at the request of citizens concerned, the Board prohibited the keeping of hogs within the designated area. However, this was not very effective since the hogs running at large in adjoining territory did not observe this imaginary restricting boundary line.
Hogs ranging in their natural habitat are not necessarily unclean animals, and they become offensive only when confined in close quarters and are forced to wallow in their own filth. They instinctively wallow in mud to get relief from insects, and perhaps they consider this a kind of beauty treatment.

These animals eat most anything with impunity, and are subject to few diseases. When ranging at large they devour almost everything in reach above ground and when this source of food supply is exhausted they root down into the ground in search of further nourishment. These activities can soon devastate the landscape.
The citizens apparently placed a high value on their hogs and they were not very receptive to restrictive town ordinances. The minutes of the Board of Commissioners of Winston, dated August 7, 1868, record: "On motion Section Nineteen of the former ordinance in relation to the taxation of hogs is hereby repealed and the following Ordinance is adopted and ordered to be posted up.

A note follows "See ordinance placed on next page marked Exhibit A." The next page of the minutes indicates that the attached ordinance had been removed. Perhaps this ordinance was later rescinded. The Board minutes of June 21, 1873 records: "On motion the Mayor was directed to confer with the Salem authorities as to the property of a Hog Law, and arranged to act consistently."

It is obvious that as the town expanded and the population density increased, it would be necessary for the town authorities to adopt ordinances and regulations to control the hog problem, just as it became necessary to collect and dispose of night soil from surface privies (another story to tell?) and ultimately to install a sanitary sewerage system.

On June 10, 1876, the Board of Commissioners of Winston adopted this ordinance:
  1. That if any hog or hogs belonging to a citizen of Winston shall be found at large upon the streets of Winston, it shall be the duty of the town officer to have the same taken up and impounded, and after advertising the same for three days at the Court house door, if the owner thereof fail within that time to redeem them by paying a fine of fifty cents for each hog, unless there be more than two hogs belonging to the same owner, and in that case ten cents each over the excess of two, and twenty cents per day for feeding each hog, to sell the same to the highest bidder, and out of the proceeds arising from such sale to pay off all forfeitures, costs and expenses, and pay the overplus to owner on demand; and in case no owner shall redeem within the time specified, nor make application for the said overplus within thirty days after sale, the same shall be forfeited to the use of the corporation.

  2. That each and every hog found rooting up any street or sidewalk of the Town, or otherwise injuring the same, or breaking into any garden or other enclosure, or which shall, in anyway, become troublesome or mischievous, every such hog is hereby declared to be a nuisance, and the owner of every such hog, on notice thereof by the Town Constable, shall immediately remove said hog beyond the Corporate limits of the town, and keep same out of said town, and on the failure thereof shall forfeit and pay one dollar for each day that such person shall suffer said hog to run at large in the town after such notice.

June 21,1875-"A certain Spotted Sow, four Shoats and four Pigs, said to be the property of Mrs. Fishel, was declared to be a public nuisance, said hogs having been habitually on the public streets and sidewalks of Winston; running at large, rooting and damaging same for more than twenty days. The Town Officer was ordered to notify the said owner that from and after three days the same would be abated.” This was the only business conducted at this meeting.


July, 1876-"It is ordered that any person who shall put a hitching rack or other place for hitching stock, every such person shall so provide said rack or hitching place as to prevent any horse or other stock so hitched from getting upon the sidewalk. And no person shall put up any trough upon the street for feeding stock, and each and every person who has heretofore erected any such trough upon the street shall remove the same on five days notice from the Mayor, and no person shall erect any such rack or hitching place on the side of the streets next to and around the Court House Square, and each and every person who shall violate any of the provisions of this ordinance shall for each offense forfeit and pay Twenty Five Dollars."


June 20, 1879-“On motion it was ordered that owners of hogs be allowed to turn them out from this date till the first day of October 1879.”


March 6, 1914-“A petition was presented to the board asking that the citizens of the Salem Ward be allowed to keep and raise hogs. The petitioners were informed that the Board had decided not to allow any hogs to be raised in any section of the city.”

On Feb 5, 1915, a similar request was presented “ colored citizens asking that they be allowed to raise hogs on Columbian Heights. The Board took no action on the petition.”

Do you smell it yet? Lets add some fragrance, fence in Old Salem, leave the cars out and turn the animals loose in the streets and yards! Now, that would be historical accuracy, don't you think?

Winter In Salem

Sunday, December 26, 2010

History and Faith of the Moravians – The Faith Reborn at Herrnhut

Excerpt from "Old Salem - The Official Guidebook" by Penelope Niven and Cornelia Wright (click on the link to purchase your copy). Visit the official website of Old Salem Museums and Gardens
"The history of the Moravians comes to life at Old Salem. A unique religious group, the Moravians made the town of Salem an oasis of beauty and order in the Carolina back-country. Today in the workshops, homes, and gardens of Old Salem, men and women carry on the daily tasks of living just as they were done in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - crafting beautiful objects, running households and businesses, and  engaging in artistic and musical pursuits. This guide will help you make the most of your visit to Old Salem, one of the most authentic living-history museums in the United States."

The Faith Reborn at Herrnhut

For decades the church survived in small, hidden enclaves in Bohemia, Moravia, and Poland. In 1772 in Dresden, Christian David, a carpenter and a member of the Unity of the Brethren, met Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. During their conversations about religion, David told the count about how its members yearned to practice their faith in the light of day. Zinzendorf offered to let a few families settle near his estate at Berthelsdorf, in the German state of Saxony.

Led by Christian David, a small company of Brethren slipped out of Moravia in May 1722. They traveled through Bohemia to Saxony to take sanctuary near Zinzendorf’s vast estate. In this refuge, the Moravians gathered strength and built a carefully organized communal town called Herrnhut, a word with two meanings: “under the Lord’s watch” and “on watch for the Lord.”

Zinzendorf preaching to people from many nations
A few at a time, other Moravian men, women and children made their way to Herrnhut, evading their enemies, often crossing unfriendly borders by night. By May 1725 there were ninety Moravians in the Herrnhut community. Other religious refugees also found safety there – Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, Separatists, and former Catholics. Gradually Count Zinzendorf assumed the role of minister, counselor, and sometimes mediator in this ecumenical flock.

With the Herrnhutter’s varied backgrounds and ideas about how their community should be run, dissension was inevitable. To quell the arguments that were splitting the community, Zinzendorf devised a plan to foster harmony, outlining it in the carefully crafted Brotherly Agreement of the Brethren from Bohemia and Moravia and Others, Binding Them to Walk According to the Apostolic Rule. This document, which contains many principles of the old Unitas Fratrum, became the foundation for all future Moravian congregation towns, including Salem. It reflected Zinzendorf’s long-held belief in being kind to all people, being true to Christ, and carrying the gospel to nonbelievers or the “heathen,” as Zinzendorf put it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the staff of Walking Through Salem

 Think about this book for your coffee table next Christmas!

Moravian Christmas in the South
Click on Photo!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Old Salem Christmas - 1840

An Old Salem Christmas, 1840

"Deftly written by Karen Cecil Smith and appropriately illustrated by Bebe Phipps, "An Old Salem Christmas, 1840" is the story of a young girl who attends a Moravian Lovefeast in celebration of Christmas back in 1840. As part of the celebration she joins a candlelight service of sacred music and texts and afterwards savors a sweet bun and a cup of milky coffee. A Protestant Christian sect, the Moravians had their own distinctive traditions which author Karen Smith has faithfully portrayed in "An Old Salem Christmas, 1840", making it a highly recommended picture book for young readers and a welcome addition to school and community library collections"

From the Thomasville Times:
Something about the Moravian culture spoke to Karen Cecil Smith, something about the simple faith with a grand dream — and a tasty Christmas tradition — embedded in modern-day Winston-Salem and encased within Old Salem Museum and Gardens that drew her closer.

A sect of Protestantism that originated in what is now the Czech Republic, the Moravian Church migrated from its first permanent North American settlement in Bethlehem, Penn., to found the city of Salem, N.C., in 1766. The restored Salem village, reviving some of that culture of old, is part of Old Salem Museums and Gardens and borders Salem College, which Smith attended.

The memories of the Moravian influence clung with Smith throughout her life, so much so that when she decided to pen her first children’s book, she molded a member of the faith as her heroine.

“I’ve always loved Old Salem, and I love the Moravian traditions,” said Smith, who now lives in High Point. “It’s just part of the whole Winston-Salem culture. I wanted to write a children’s picture book about Christmas that reflected the true meaning of Christmas while throwing in some historical information about the Moravians.”

The book, titled “An Old Salem Christmas, 1840,” depicts the faith’s Christmas traditions from a child’s perspective. From decorating cookies to attending the famous Moravian Christmas Eve Lovefeast celebration, the little girl walks through her community’s celebration of the holiday while exploring the season’s true meaning.

“Christmas has become so commercialized,” Smith said. “I think a lot of people have lost sight of what it really means, the birth of Jesus, and it’s not just Santa Claus and food and that sort of thing. I did include those things in the book — presents and what children look forward to at Christmas — but I wanted it to have a message.”

Released in December 2008, the book was illustrated by Bebe Phipps and received the North Carolina Historical Society’s Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award. Smith worked hard to keep the story light enough for her 4-year-old to 8-year-old audience while still working in historical details such as the Moravian candle-lit vigil and traditional snacks of sweet buns and coffee served at the Lovefeast.

“I just had to really think about it,” Smith said of keeping her tone childlike. “I didn’t have a child to ask, so it took some time.”

But it was worth the effort. Smith says she has always dreamed of writing a book for younger readers, and that goal finally came to fruition.

“I’ve always been interested in writing and all genres, really,” she said. “I had played around with writing children’s books for a long time, since I was a kid. I love children’s books now, too.”

Smith first became a novelist in 1996 when research she was doing for a newspaper article on the famous midwife Orlean Puckett led to a wealth of first-hand accounts. A happen-stance meeting with one of Puckett’s relatives resulted in introductions with the woman’s many friends and neighbors.

“I started getting so much material that I knew I had enough for a book,” Smith said. “That’s what prompted the first book.”

Smith’s first published work, “Orlean Puckett: The Life of a Mountain Midwife,” was strictly a biography, following her pattern of passion for the past. The author is currently working on three other books, all with a historical tie.

“I love historical fiction and biographies, true stories,” Smith said. “Even if they’re fiction, I try to make sure all the historical facts are accurate.”

Christmas in Salem

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shell Shaped Gas Station

1111 Sprague Street
Original Construction - 1930
Located at 1111 Sprague Street this shell shaped service station is the last of its kind. Eight were originally built in the late 1930s by the local Quality Oil Company in the shape of a giant scallop shell to attract customers. They are all gone! This station, modeled on the brand logo of Royal Dutch-Shell Oil, was constructed of concrete stucco over a bent wood and wire framework. This building survived through the 1970s and '80s as a lawn mower repair place. It slid into disrepair towards the end of the 20th century.

The building is an example of representational or novelty architecture and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 13 May 1976.

Preservation North Carolina, an organization dedicated to the preservation of historic sites, spent one year and $50,000 to bring the landmark station back to its original condition. Workers removed layers of faded yellow paint to reveal the Shell's original yellow-orange color. The original front door was repaired and a crack fixed that had been previously sealed with nothing more than black tar. The wooden, trellised shelter that housed the car wash and allowed cars to be washed and/or serviced in the shade was reconstructed as well. The oil company donated restored gas pumps and replica lamp posts to help finish off the restoration. The landmark now serves as a satellite office for Preservation North Carolina. If you have never seen this, it is well worth the trip!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Funny Prayer about Getting Old at the Caregiver of the Year Dinner

If you are dealing with aging parents or aging yourself, you will love this! Hey, not dealing with either, your time is coming so enjoy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tanks and Gatling Guns Defending Salem - 1918

The New York Times - 1918

Southern Race Riot Costs Five Lives: Army Tank Corps Called to Quell a Lynching Mob in Winston-Salem, N.C. Battle with Home Guards, Jail-Storming Crowd Overcomes Them, as Well as Police and Fire Companies

Winston-Salem, N.C., Nov. 17. – The death toll in the riot here tonight which followed efforts of a mob to storm the jail and lynch a negro prisoner had been increased to five—a woman spectator, a city fireman, and three Negroes. The police believe that a detailed search tomorrow will show that at least seven persons were killed.
Racial tensions were high in America following World War I. In 1919 alone, 25 race riots, mostly by whites, rocked the nation’s cities. More than 70 blacks are known to have been lynched following the war. Resentment came to a head when whites returning from the war found blacks holding jobs normally reserved for whites. The growing black population in Winston-Salem heightened tensions in the city. The Ku Klux Klan, which enjoyed resurgence after the war, marched through local neighborhoods.

This building tension came to a head on Saturday November 16, 1918, as white couple Jim and Cora Childress strolled toward Pulliam’s store about one half mile from there home. As she and her husband reached the Southern Railroad trestle, over what is now Inverness Street, they were accosted by a black man who hit Jim over the head with a pistol, robbed Cora of $2.25, dragged her down into a ravine and allegedly raped her.

There are many confusing variations to what occurred next. The sheriff was summoned to the scene and deputies began looking for a man fitting a somewhat vague description offered by Cora who claimed that she could identify him. They observed a man generally fitting the description and a pursuit began. The Sheriff joined in and the man turned and fired, hitting the Sheriff in the hand. The posse lost the assailant and the Sheriff ordered a roundup of suspects. A number of people were initially arrested but released. Police stopped Russell High on Sunday afternoon on the corner of Fourth and Depot streets for carrying a concealed weapon. High, a black man recently moved here from Durham was reported by the Sheriff as having “borne a good reputation, had been industrious, and had spent the greater part of the time in his room…” The police were convinced that he had nothing to do with the attack. Rumor abounded that the police had arrested the man and charged him with rape.

On Sunday afternoon, November 17, a large group of whites gathered on Courthouse Square and rumors of lynching began. By evening, the crowd had grown estimated to be between 2,000 and 3,000. There was a lot of drinking and some of the crowd began to break into hardware stores and steal firearms to force a jailbreak. The Mayor, other civic leaders and even Cora Childers appeared and tried to reason with the no avail. The crowd was chanting “We want that nigger! We want to lynch him.”

Forsyth County Court House
Mayor Ralph W. Gorrell called in the Home Guard, (the Forsyth Riflemen having been activated for service in World War One and were in Europe). The Home Guard was made of mostly old men and young boys; certainly not the disciplined paramilitary unit that made up the Forsyth Rifles. The Home Guard surrounded the jail and called for the fire department with the idea they could disperse the crowd using fire hoses. The hoses were aimed at the crowd and water turned on. Gunfire erupted from the direction of the crowd. Police, Sheriff's deputies and the home guard returned the fire. Several people were hit including Rachel Levi a 13 year old girl, killed by a stray bullet while watching from a second story window; a citizen who was part of the mob; a home guardsman; and Bob Young. Young had been a member of the Winston-Salem Police in 1913. Later, he was a city fireman. At the time of the riot, he was a shoe salesman. When the fire department was called to disperse the crowd, he helped man the hose...and died in the gunfire. Police Sgt. Cofer was wounded in the hand. Officer Robert Bryan was also injured and absent from duty for three weeks. At some point during the foray the mob broke through and rushed into the lobby and down to the cell block. Shots rang out. The bullets, presumably meant for High, hit one of the mob instead. Police and the Home Guard pushed them out of the building.

The crowd broke and ran down 4th Street into the black residential section. Gunfire was heard throughout the night until about 3:00 AM Monday morning. Several black residents were killed for whom death certificates exist. Eyewitnesses say that many other blacks were killed as well, but their bodies were stuffed into culverts or thrown onto railroad boxcars and sent out of town.

The Mayor summoned National Guard troops from Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh who patrolled the streets. A tank was set up on the square. By daylight on Monday, while the night of gunfire and violence had ended, gatling machine guns were set up on Fourth Street aimed toward the black residential area in anticipation of a counterattack that never came.

Russell High was taken by authorities to Raleigh early Monday morning for his protection. He served time for his weapons violation and was never seen in Winston-Salem again.

In the following days, a number of people were charged with inciting a riot and attempting to break into a public jail, which was then a capital offense. Sixteen white men were convicted and given sentences ranging from 6 to 14 months on the county road gang. One black man was convicted of the murder of a Southern Utilities Company worker and executed in Raleigh.

Strange thing about the World War I era South, thousands of whites riot, a few whites are killed, most probably from bullets from guns fired by whites, a number of blacks die, no one knows how many, tanks and gatling guns are deployed to defend against blacks who haven't done anything, and only one black man is convicted and executed for murder of one white man. And we wonder why we have racial tension.