End of Civil War

1865

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Emancipation in Salem

“Henceforward Shall Be Free”

During the first months of the Civil War construction began on a new church for the African American Congregation (now St. Philips Moravian). On August 24, 1861 a cornerstone was laid, and on December 15, 1861 the brick church was consecrated.

During the last months of the war, the African American church was the site of a joyous occasion for enslaved people in Salem. On May 14, 1865 the Tenth Ohio Cavalry arrived in Salem to occupy the town with several hundred men. The Chaplain of the Tenth Ohio, Reverend S.G. Clark addressed the African American Congregation on May 21. Rev. Clark preached from 1 Corinthians 7:21, then, according to the Colored Congregation Diary, he read “two orders from Gen. Schofield, Army of the Ohio: ‘In the first it was made known that according to the proclamation of the President of the United States, the slave population of this State is now free. 2nd’. . . . He then proceeded to give them good advice, told them that now they would have greater responsibilities, & encouraged them to industry, honesty, & piety. . . . May this great change turn out to the eventual well-being of these people, & the furtherance of the kingdom of God among them.” (May 21, 1865, Colored Congregation Diary).

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