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Celebrating July 4, 2012 in Old Salem, North Carolina

 On July 3, John and I visited Bethabara for the first time. We were overwhelmed with information from the different docents and given an enlightening tour of this first Moravian settlement in North Carolina. Bethabara means House of Passage, and fifteen single men arrived there in 1753. “They all had a deep passion and belief that God would guide them” from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to their new                            

                                                                    wilderness home.

 By the next spring, more than 15 acres of fields were cleared and planted. Fences and houses were standing. For protection, a palisade was built around the buildings. It took two years to build the grist mill, but only eighteen days to build the palisade. More families followed the original settlers.

 The 1788 church has been reconstructed and restored to exhibit the simple, not easy, daily lives of these settlers. Their community life blended with their religion. Whether a person was washing clothes, making shoes, or teaching children about Jesus, it was all done from the heart. The community was like a family with everyone having a job that benefited all.

 The wrist latches on the doors are made 
to be opened with an elbow if hands were full; it still works.

 This basket was in the kitchen, and during the summer it might have held potatoes from the garden or apples picked in the fall. Dirty clothes could have filled at any season,

 One of the rooms is set up as a schoolroom with one long table for the students and this plain desk for the teacher.

 You can see the quill pen and ink well on one side and the bell to bring order from possible chaos in another handy position.

 This doll on the child’s bed in the master bedroom waits patiently for its owner.

 Parts of an original cellar, where food would have been stored, gives us a different view of our pantries today. In these root cellars, they would have buried the vegetables in the dirt.

 The medicinal herb garden includes those plants that would have been used during the 18th. century; it is a living history exhibit for visitors. Dr. Hans Martin Kalberlahn was the first physician, and he originally planted the garden. Because of his expertise, this settlement became a regional medical center. These plants would be like our prescription drugs today.

 Fresh water was necessary, and some of the original wells are evident.

 There was a museum of period tools set up in a barn. This fish basket caught my eye. Putting the basket in the running water with some bait takes care of attaching a worm to the hook.

 On July 4, we spent the day in Old Salem. Salem, translated “peace,” was founded in November, 1766, and completed in 1771by the Moravians. The festivities of the celebration began with the militia marching in to post the colors. Everyone stood for the Pledge of Allegiance

Speakers celebrated the Naturalization Ceremony; there were 60 candidates from 38 different countries. Strong voices were raised as they recited the Oath of Allegiance. The applause from the spectators was deafening as new citizens waved American flags in the air. Like a college graduation ceremony, the new citizens’ names were called. They proudly walked to the podium to receive their papers. It was a moving ceremony.

Emblem of Hunt club

 The Gun Shop is the oldest, continually working gun shop in America. Today
 make about a dozen rifles a year that are used for hunting. Rifles used in the
Revolutionary War battles of Cowpens and Kings Mountain were crafted here.
The huntsman’s task in the Old Salem community to bring in fresh meat. The
rifles were made for the hunters.

Pistol made by Old Salem Gunsmiths

Members of 4th of July Band

Fire Truck

Water Buckets for Fire Truck filled by the women

On the steps of the tavern at 2:00, we assembled to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence read. As you can see, the reader was dressed in period costume. Standing in front were men, women, and children attired in modern clothing and in 18th. century clothing, and the significance of this touched my heart. We must pass on to the next generation the importance of our freedom and our gratitude to those that fought in the Revolutionary War.

Crier for Reading of News

Crier Reading the new Declaration of Independence 

Ancient Silhouette Making machine

 Four women had put needle and thread into designing this quilt. Some crafts need to be passed down.

 There was one more ceremony at the end of the day that again included reenactors and visitors to Old Salem. The first city to plan a celebration for the 4th of July was Old Salem; it was in 1783. Psalm 46 was read, and all walked around the square singing “Now Thank We All Our God” as those first families did.

 It choked me up with emotion to hear adult voices floating across that square, and it was with pleasure and joy that John and I joined them.

 The band played while we sang, and then the benediction was read from Psalm 29:11. “The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people, His people with peace.” Amen

History Lessons
Knitting Lesson

I met many new friends that day from all across America, and I enjoyed talking to them all. With a few colonial toys on display, I had the opportunity to answer questions about our ancestors.

Early Flag

 In the Miksch House, built in 1771, the docent was set up in the small kitchen cooking lunch. Dried herbs hung from the ceiling in cloth bags tied with string to keep the critters out.

Meal Preparation

 Some of the crocks had lids; others used imported cork. A housewife of the 18th. century used what was available at the time; one was sealed with a corncob as the stopper. As you can see, one of these is covered with leather and tied with string.

Food Keeping Vessels


 The room was filled with baskets, pottery, bowls, bottles, graters, pewter spoons, and wooden spoons of all sizes and shapes.

More Food Storage Vessels

Potatoes from the garden

More storage vessels

Cooking on the hearth

 This is the Miksch House from the outside. It was the first single family home built in Salem. Matthew Miksch was trained as a gardner in Europe, and he supported his family in America by growing and selling vegetables and seeds. His wife Marie baked and sold gingerbread. (Maybe she swapped recipes with Winkler’s Bakery across the street.)

I wonder what the family would think of their home today.

These three days in and around Winston Salem reminded us once again of the price of freedom. We believe the Moravian motto is worth remembering.
                     “In essentials, unity

In non essentials, liberty
In all things, Love.”

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