Salem About the Year 1840
Although not intended as a companion to Christian Daniel Welfare’s paintings, this hand-drawn plan shows the organization of the town from a different perspective. It includes features not clearly represented in Welfare’s paintings, such as the African-American log church and the strangers’ graveyard at the far end of Church Street (to the left). Note the Salem Cotton Factory on the far left with four identical houses for non-Moravian mill workers. The smaller mill just to the left of the Cotton Factory is the Fries Woolen Mill, built by early Salem industrialist Francis Fries in 1840.
In 1753 the Moravians in Great Britain had purchased nearly 100,000 acres from one of the lord proprietors of the Carolinas, Earl Granville. They named the tract ‘Wachovia’. The first small settlement was at Bethabara in 1753, settled by colonists from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Bethania followed in 1759, Hope in 1763, and then in 1766 work began on the main community at Salem, planned as the administrative center of Wachovia. The meeting house at Salem was consecrated in 1771, schools were founded, and the congregation flourished.