Emancipation in Salem
"Henceforward Shall Be Free"
In the opening year of the Civil War, the church behind you (now St. Philips Moravian) was constructed for enslaved and free black Moravians. Its cornerstone was laid on August 24, 1861, and it was consecrated on December 15. It replaced an earlier log building in which the congregation (formed in 1822) worshiped here.
The church was the site of a joyous occasion for enslaved people near the end of the war. On May 14, 1865, the 10th Ohio Cavalry arrived to occupy Salem. The regiment's chaplain, the Rev. Seth G. Clark, addressed the congregation here on May 21. First he preached from 1 Corinthians 7:21: "Art thou called [to follow the Lord while] being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather." Then, according to church records, Clark read "two order from Gen. [John M.] Schofield, Army of the Ohio [General Order 32]: 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. … He then proceeded to give them good advice, told them that now they would have greater responsibilities, & encouraged them to industry,
Wesley Washington Fries, a lifelong member of Salem's African Moravian congregation, was only 19 years old when General Orders 32 was read in the church. He worked in the Fries Woolen Mill as a pipe fitter.
This late-19th-century photograph shows the church without the addition to the front. On May 28, 1865, the congregational diary noted that "The Sunday School was numerously attended, showing the necessity of more teachers." It continued to attract many students, and in 1890 the addition was constructed to provide extra classroom space.
The Rev. Seth G. Clark, chaplain of the 10th Ohio Cavalry, read General Orders 32 in the church on May 21, 1865. The orders were printed in Salem's People's Press on May 28, 1865.
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Churches & Religion • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 14, 1865.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Landscape South of St. Philips (here, next to this marker); The African American Graveyard (a few steps from this marker); Historic Happy Hill Path (within shouting distance of this marker); Last Burials in the Parish Graveyard (within shouting distance of this marker); Squire's Grave (within shouting distance of this marker); Happy Hill Overlook (within shouting distance of this marker); Reich-Hege House Site (1830-1922) (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lewis Hege (1840-1918) (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winston-Salem.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 28, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 26 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 28, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.