“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bethania in Forsyth County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)


Established 1759

Bethania Marker (panel 1) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
1. Bethania Marker (panel 1)
The Moravian Church is a Protestant denomination tracing its roots to the followers of Jan Hus. A Czech priest and reformer, Hus was martyred for his faith in 1415. The Moravians founded a church body dedicated to a simple and devout life. For more than 250 years, the church was persecuted, but survived. In 1722, members of the Moravian Church found refuge on the estate of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. There, they renewed their church.

29 November: While meeting in London, leaders Of the Moravian Church accept an offer by John Carteret, Lord of Granville, to purchase 100,000 acres from his vast Carolina holdings.

25 August: Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg leads a party of Moravians from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to North Carolina in search of suitable land. Their exploration of the colony will take them as far west as the future Boone area.

27 December: Surveying begins on land along the "three forks of Muddy Creek," which Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg writes "seems to me to have been reserved by the Lord for the Brethren." Spangenberg named this tract der
Bethania Marker (panel 2) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
2. Bethania Marker (panel 2)
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wachau (Wachovia) after an ancestral estate of Count Zinzendorf.

8 October: Twelve single brethren set out from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to begin a settlement in Wachovia. They journey south on the Great Wagon Road through the Shenandoah Valley, arriving at the location that becomes Bethabara on 17 November.

French and Indian War starts which brings refugees to Bethabara. lhe Moravians determine to stay and Bethabara becomes one of the farthest outposts west on the North Carolina frontier.

12 June: Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg and other church leaders lay out Wachovia's first planned community three miles to the northwest of Bethabara, in an area called Black Walnut Bottom. A plan for the new village is chosen. Cartographer and surveyor Christian Gottlieb Reuter is selected to stake out the site. Spangenberg brought the name for this first of the "villages of the Lord" from Pennsylvania: Bethania.

22 April: The first death occurs in Bethania with the passing of Maria, daughter of Br. and Sr. George Hauser. Maria's burial is the first in Bethania's God's Acre.

21 June: Johannes, son of Johann Heinrich and Barbara Schor, is the first baby born in Bethania.

With the French and Indian War nearing an
Bethania Marker (panel 3) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
3. Bethania Marker (panel 3)
end, tourists begin visiting Wachovia. They refer to Bethabara as "Old Town" and Bethania as "new."

6 January: Twelve Brethren, some from Bethabara, some from Bethania, go to the new town site and cut down the trees where the first house will be built. They also cut timbers for the cabin that will shelter the builders [?]s new town, Salem, will serve as the administrative center of Wachovia.

18 September: Royal Governor William Tryon, his wife, and their attendants, pay a visit to Wachovia. Over the next three days they are entertained and given thorough tours of the three villages of Bethabara, Bethania, and Salem.

Surry County is formed out of Rowan, and Wachovia is cut in half east to west. It isn't until 1773 that the county line is moved south to place all Wachovia together.

23 June: Bethania's second Gemein Haus is consecrated.

25 October: Bethania agrees to purchase its 2,000-acre "town lot" plus an additional 500 acres from the Moravian Church.

15 February: The Patriots' Committee of Safety sends a delegation to inquire how Wachovia stands in the Revolutionary War. Representatives from Bethabara, Bethania, and Salem sign a document declaring the Moravians to be "quiet people" who will "cheerfully" pay their taxes and will not meddle
Bethania Marker (panel 4) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
4. Bethania Marker (panel 4)
in politics nor "do anything that shall be detrimental to the good Province we inhabit."

9-10 February: The British army marches through Wachovia chasing American forces under General Nathanael Greene. Lord Cornwallis spends the night in Bethania.

15 March: The British and American armies meet at Guilford Courthouse in the last major battle before Yorktown. The Moravians of Wachovia tend the wounded of both armies.

19 April: The Moravian settlements in Wachovia learn that a peace treaty has been concluded between Great Britain and the United States. It is eight years to the day since the battle at Lexington and Concord.

4 July: In accordance with a proclamation by Governor Alexander Martin, all the Moravian settlements in Wachovia observe a "Day of Solemn %anksgiving to Almighty God" for the restoration of peace. It is the first official observance of the Fourth of July following the American Revolution.

20 August: A mill above Bethania is completed and grain is ground for the first time. The mill has been almost two years in the building.

Surry County is divided with Wachovia in the new Stokes County. The new county seat is Germanton.

Congressional meeting in Philadelphia passes legislation
Bethania Marker (panel 5) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
5. Bethania Marker (panel 5)
establishing a post offce in Bethania. George Washington starts his second term as President of the United States.

3 February: The Bethania Committee decides to layout a stranger's graveyard at the Bethania mill. The first recorded burial is Ann Margaret Wright, who died 2 April 1800 and was buried the next day. The graveyard's last burial of record will be in 1824.

First service for Bethania's African American community is held on 12 September.

15 August: A church-owned community store opens in Bethania.

19 March: Bethania's third place of worship, a fine brick church, is consecrated. The exterior brick walls survive into the 21st century.

June: The Moravian Church sells to Christian Loesch the church-owned businesses in Bethania: farm, tannery, distillery, and store. Br. Loesch also buys the land, the first sale of land by the Moravian Church within the Bethania town lot.

14 December: The Moravian Church begins selling the remaining land in the Bethania town lot, but only to individuals and only with approval of the Bethania Church committee.

January: A new North Carolina law eliminates the Moravians' exemption from military service. Rather than protest, Moravians flock to enlist in local
Bethania Marker (panel 6) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
6. Bethania Marker (panel 6)
militias. By February a militia will form in the Bethania area.

3 January: State of North Carolina incorporates the Town of Bethania.

Bethania Negro congregation is formed as a society of the Bethania Moravian congregation when enslaved African Americans begin to hold worship outdoors. On 6 January 1847 Milley dies and is buried in a new graveyard, laid out specifically for this congregation. Years later the congregation takes the name Bethania AME Zion Church.

The state legislature divides the county in which Wachovia is located, carving Forsyth out of the southern half of Stokes County.

Bethania Moravian Reverend Francis Hagen oversees construction and dedication of the first house of worship built for use by the African American congregation in the community, the "Little Log Church." The church is situated beside the African American burial ground.

The 129 mile Fayetteville and Western Plank Road opens, delivering increased numbers of travelers to Bethania and bolstering trades commerce.

20 May: A convention in Raleigh declares North Carolina seceded from the Union.

10 April: General Stoneman and Union troops sweep through the Moravian communities in Wachovia. Little is
Bethania Marker (panel 7) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
7. Bethania Marker (panel 7)
damaged, though horses are commandeered. Services are cancelled in Bethania for the remainder of Holy Week.

The independent movement to enable African Americans to re-organize their congregation apart from the Moravian church results in the formation of the Bethania African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, led by African American Reverend A.T. Goslin.

Bethania Moravian Church deeds land to Bethania A.M.E. Zion Church.

Enlarged house ofworship is constructed for the Bethania A.M.E. Zion congregation.

Alpha Chapel is opened north of Bethania.

Mizpah is organized and its church is consecrated. Contemporary inhabitants of the Wolff-Moser house, Thomas and Frances Stauber Moser give the land and a "very neat" church is built.

Lehman-Butner Roller Mill is constructed. Mill served the community under different names until it closed in 2007. Renovated into Bethania Mill & Village Shoppes.

A high school serving rural Forsyth County residents is established in Bethania. African American students attend the Cedar Grove School.

Alpha Chapel, north of Bethania, closes. In 1932 Alpha's building is moved to Mizpah for further use. Bethania A.M.E. Zion builds
Bethania Marker (panel 8) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
8. Bethania Marker (panel 8)
a new church following wind damage sustained to the 1893 building.

A devastating fire guts the Bethania Moravian Church building destroying its contents, including the c. 1773 Bullitscheck Organ. Only the brick walls remain from the 1809 structure.

Outdoor drama entitled Long Road Home is staged to celebrate the communitys bicentennial.

Bethania Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1990, the district is enlarged to 500 acres, and encompasses 180 structures.

North Carolina General Assembly passes legislation reviving the charter for the Town of Bethania.

Bethania Historic District is designated a National Historic Landmark.

Alpha Chapel moved and restored to its current location where it finds further service as the Bethania Town Hall.

Bethania Visitor Center opens for visitors with a relocated and renovated Wolff-Moser House. Black Walnut Bottom Trail welcomes visitors to the preserved landscape of Bethania.

Bethania celebrates its 250th anniversary.

Erected by Town of Bethania.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists:
Bethania Marker (panel 9) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
9. Bethania Marker (panel 9)
Churches & ReligionSettlements & SettlersWar, US CivilWar, US Revolutionary. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Church series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1751.
Location. 36° 10.717′ N, 80° 20.332′ W. Marker is in Bethania, North Carolina, in Forsyth County. Marker can be reached from Bethania Road. Located at the Bethania Visitor Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5393 Ham Horton Ln, Bethania NC 27010, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wolff-Moser House (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Bethania (a few steps from this marker); Alpha Chapel (a few steps from this marker); Lord Cornwallis (within shouting distance of this marker); Stoneman's Raid (within shouting distance of this marker); Plank Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Great Wagon Road (approx. 0.3 miles away); Cedar Grove School (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bethania.
Bethania Marker (panel 10) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
10. Bethania Marker (panel 10)
Bethania Marker (panel 11) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
11. Bethania Marker (panel 11)
Bethania Marker (panel 12) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
12. Bethania Marker (panel 12)
Bethania Marker locale image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
13. Bethania Marker locale
Bethania Visitor Center entrance image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael C. Wilcox, July 18, 2019
14. Bethania Visitor Center entrance
Credits. This page was last revised on September 26, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 26, 2019, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 219 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on September 26, 2019, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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Jun. 30, 2022