George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 31 May 1791]

Tuesday 31st. Left Salisbury about 4 Oclock; at 5 Miles crossed the Yadkin, the principal stream of the Pedee, and breakfasted on the No. Bank (while my Carriages & horses were crossing) at a Mr. Youngs; fed my horses 10 miles farther, at one Reeds; and about 3 oclock (after another halt) arrived at Salem; one of the Moraviann towns 20 miles farther—In all 35 from Salisbury.

The Road between Salisbury & Salem passes over very little good land, and much that is different; being a good deal mixed with Pine, but not Sand.

Salem is a small but neat Village; & like all the rest of the Moravian settlements, is governed by an excellent police—having within itself all kinds of artizans. The number of Souls does not exceed 200.

From Salisbury GW was escorted by the Rowan County Troop of Horse to Long’s ferry on the Yadkin River, where he crossed (State Gaz. of N.C. [Edenton], 10 June 1791). The Yadkin and the smaller Uwharrie River join in Montgomery County, N.C., to form the Pee Dee River. Young and Reed lived in the part of Rowan County that later became Davidson County. There are several listings for each name in the 1790 Rowan County census (HEADS OF FAMILIES, N.C. description begins Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: North Carolina. 1908. Reprint. Baltimore, 1966. description ends , 169, 172–76; RUMPLE description begins Jethro Rumple. A History of Rowan County, North Carolina, Containing Sketches of Prominent Families and Distinguished Men, with an Appendix. 1881. Reprint. Salisbury, N.C., [1929]. description ends , 118–22).

On the road to Salem GW was met by three Moravian ministers who had ridden out to greet him, Frederic William Marshall, John Daniel Koehler, and Christian Ludwig Banzien. As the party approached the town, “several tunes were played” by some of the community’s renowned musicians, “partly by trumpets and French horns, partly by the trombones.” At the Salem Tavern on Main Street, where GW lodged, he stepped out of his chariot and, according to the town’s official diary, “greeted those who stood around in a friendly manner, showing his good will especially to the children who were there. Then he talked on various matters with several Brethren who accompanied him to the room that had been prepared for him. At first he said that he was leaving in the morning, but when he heard that the Governor of this State had expressed a wish to wait on him the next day he decided to rest here over one day. He sent word to our musicians that he would like some music during his evening meal, and it was furnished to him” (Salem Diary, 1791, FRIES description begins Adelaide L. Fries et al., eds. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. 11 vols. Raleigh, N.C., 1922-69. description ends , 5:2324).

Salem, now part of Winston-Salem, was founded by Moravian settlers in 1776 near two other North Carolina towns previously established by them, Bethabara and Bethania.

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