My days are spent in Winston-Salem. Nearly every day I walk through Salem.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Moravians NOT THE FIRST!
As an adult history has gained a rich interest in my life. I have come to realize that a great deal of what I thought was history apparently was what someone desired for me to believe and not reality. Maybe it was simply confusion on my part that I thought my Moravian ancestors were the first settlers in this area of the world. Imagine my amazement when I discovered that the Moravians were not first and my delight in discovering that other of my ancestors were here 10,000 years before the Moravinas. Yep, you Moravians and other Europeans showed up late, long after my ancestors wore the trails you followed here and provided the shelter you lived in on your arrival. Hey, we probably even cleared some of the fields you grew your first crops in. There is a great volume of European blood flowing through these veins but coursing right there along side is a smaller amount of Native American blood from my mothers side of the family. I never will forget the day I sat across a table, late in my mothers life, and it hit me that I was looking into the face of an American Indian. Yes, her blood and mine was tainted with white European blood but that day the Native American blood began to flow more freely through my veins.
For a great distance the Yadkin River flows northeast until it reaches the Sauratown Mountains and abruptly turns south at what is known as the Great Bend through what is now Piedmont, North Carolina. Here it flowed through a vast land where great herds of elk and and buffalo roamed (yes, you read correctly "buffalo" roamed in our Salem). There was a preponderance of forest teaming with wild life. Following the herds of Elk and Buffalo feasting off of the wild life were a people very different from the Europeans to follow. These people had no concept of land ownership. These nomadic hunters knew that all within there sight was theirs to enjoy. They simply borrowed from the land for a while and moved on. They built their villages along the rivers fertile flood plain growing crops for sustenance. They named the great river Atkin to later become Yadkin. By the time of the arrival of the first white settlers they were gone. Today we know their presence by the more than 500 sites with remnants of rock tools, broken pottery and charred animal bones. I grew up picking up their arrow heads from my families freshly plowed fields on the eastern edge of the Wachovia track. I did not have a clue, as a child, that it was my people who chipped these heads for their arrows and spears to hunt in the surrounding forests.