|I-40 Business Through Winston-Salem|
|Dividing Line Monument 1st Street West of Main|
You may have driven or walked by, without noticing as I have many times, the monument west of the intersection of Main and First Street commenorating our former dividing line shown in the photo to the left.
On January 1, 1849, the State Legislature divided Stokes County and created a new county named in honor of Col. Benjamin Forsyth, a native of the older county, who was killed in Canada in 1814. Some of the conservatives in the town of Salem wanted the county seat of Forsyth to be as far from Salem as was geographically possible, but there was also a younger group of Moravians who favored building the new town directly north of Salem.
On May 12, 1849, the Commissioners purchased thirty-one acres of land from the Moravian Church, later increased to fifty-one and one-fourth acres, at a price of $5 per acre, totaling $256.25. This property was bounded on the south by what is now First Street; on the west about 230 feet west of present Liberty Street; on the east about 230 feet east of what is now Main Street; the north line being at present Seventh Street.
This tract of land provided a choice site for the new court house on top of a hill, at an elevation about 180 feet above Salem Creek at the end of Main Street. There was no suitable site, in the Church’s perspective, for the Court House in Salem, nor did the Moravians want the county seat in their town. The Moravians did not want Court days notorious for drinking and rowdiness in their town. Some did see the advantage of having the county seat of government nearby and no doubt this influenced their action in making the site available for the new county court house.
The County Commissioners immediately divided the property into seventy-one lots, reserving one 200 ft. x 198 ft. block for the court house site. These lots were sold at public auction for $8,833.50, which represented quite a profitable return on property for which they had paid only $256.25.
Prior to the building of the Court House, the Courts of Forsyth County were held in the Concert Hall, Main Street, Salem, on property which was later occupied by the home of Dr. J. F. Shaffner. The stipulation was made that the whipping-post should not be within the limits of the Town of Salem. Whipping was a common punishment handed out by the Courts mainly for those who could not pay fines.
|First Forsyth County Court House|
|Major Joseph Winston|