Old Salem Blog

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    “Of this month it may be noted that our doctor trepanned the skull of a German man, named Swing, about fifty years old, of Guilford County, who for a number of years had suffered extra-ordinary pain and has had a constant hammering and humming in his ears. This was probably the result of a blow with an axe and great fright, and sometimes he could get no rest day or night, and feared that he would lose his mind. He felt some relief from the operation, and we wish earnestly that it may serve for his entire recovery.” - Salem Diary, 1806

    This image is from the new Moravian Way of Health and Healing exhibit in the Doctor’s House. 


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    “It is well known that white lead and varnish is not a durable paint, and we wish we had something better for our new church. It was proposed to paint the well-house in the Square this year with a paint proposed in last year’s Almanac, which is not expensive and may last longer. The receipt calls for three parts of unslaked lime, two parts of ashes, one part of fine sand, mixed with linseed oil as for other paints.”

    - Salem Board Minutes, April 17, 1798


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    On this day in 1815:

    “This day was noteworthy because of the solemn celebration which the President of the United State (James Madison) recommended as a festival of thanks and joy for the priceless mercy of the much desired restoration of peace in our beloved fatherland.” - Salem Diary, April 13, 1815

    Source:  Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Volume VII: 1809-1822.

    🎨:  Salem in Nord Carolina von der Süd West-Seite, circa 1819, Published by W.T. Neuhäuser, Niesky, Germany


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    “Men were in the potter’s shop like a swarm of bees, coming, buying, and leaving. Many could get nothing, as the first to come bought it all.”
    - Salem Diary, April 11, 1777


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    Did you know?

    Salem was the first town in North Carolina to have trained midwives. In the late 18th/early 19th centuries, midwives delivered babies, with doctors only stepping in if there were serious problems. Dr. Jacob Bonn, Salem’s first doctor, came to America from Germany where midwives were licensed. He knew the value of proper training for midwives and made sure it was part of the tradition of the town of Salem. The first trained midwife in Salem was Dr. Bonn’s wife, Anna Maria Bonn. Dr. Vierling carried on the tradition and trained several midwives during his tenure as Salem’s doctor.

    Tomorrow (Saturday, April 8) join us for the Doctor’s House Grand Opening featuring the brand-new exhibition “The Moravian Way of Health and Healing.”


  • A Moravian Easter

    A 2010 segment from NPR touches on one of Salem’s many long-standing Easter traditions. 


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    Main Street in Salem, NC cir 1890-1900.


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    On this day: March 21, 1791

    “Our little school girls had a lovefeast with their two teachers, whose birthdays follow each other closely.” - Salem Diary, March 21, 1791.

    Source: Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Volume V: 1784-1792


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    March 16, 1817:

    The house-fathers met in the little Saal, and a number of points were discussed relative to better precautions against fire.

    - Salem Board Minutes, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina

    (Pictured: fire buckets in the Single Brothers’ House)


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    March 13, 1794:

    “We wish that more politeness and willing service might be shown to  visitors, especially in the Tavern where the service should be of the best; the Tavern servant should always be at hand, when visitors of distinction arrive, to take their horses, unsaddle them, and carry to their rooms the saddlebags, portmanteau, or what ever they bring with them.”

    - Salem Board Minutes, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina Vol. VI: 1798-1808


First Forester in America: Moravian Surveyor Philip Christian Gottlieb Reuter:

"I, for my person, consider it a great mistake and the ruin of the forest, if the young undergrowth is cut or burnt in areas where nobody intends to build a house or settle and clear the land in the future."

Moravians were great planners and developed detailed information about their land in order to make responsible decisions. Prussian-trained surveyor Reuter was sent from Europe specifically to survey and inventory the Wachovia Tract. He produced beautiful maps of Wachovia and also inventoried the flora & fauna. With forestry experience in Europe, he was made forester of Wachovia in 1759 (the first forester in America) and then forester of Salem in 1771. Wood products were ubiquitous in Moravian life, from wagon wheels to house framing to fuel, and forest management was essential. Reuter lived with his wife Anna Catharina in Salem until his death in 1777.

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Need a pick me up this afternoon? Here's a wooden coffee mill made by Timothy Vogler here in Salem (around 1830-1840) from the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts' collection.


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Friday is baking day at the Miksch House ...

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Happy #NationalBigWordDay!
One of our favorite big words to use is "Fremdendiener," who was the visitor's guide to "strangers" in Salem and helped welcome and accommodate visitors.

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Come sit a spell in Salem Square ...

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The Town of Salem

Experience early American history in the unique Moravian settlement of Salem. Original structures, gardens, tours, artifacts, hands-on workshops, fun family events and shopping.


Stroll through award-winning restorations that create a landscape reminiscent of early Salem where utility, practicality and beauty united. Tours, workshops and plants for your garden.


View history through objects and material culture. Tour a wide range of early southern artistry, craftsmanship and stories found in the world class collection of decorative arts from the early American South, 1660-1860.

Old Salem Museums and Gardens, 600 S. Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 Phone: 336-721-7300 | visitwinstonsalem.com