Winston-Salem in Forsyth County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
First Official 4th of July Celebration in the United States
The First Official
4th of July Celebration
In the United States
At Salem, North Carolina, 1783
* * *
This Plaque Unveiled In The
200th Anniversary Year
July 4, 1966
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Patriots & Patriotism. A significant historical year for this entry is 1783.
Location. 36° 5.23′ N, 80° 14.49′ W. Marker is in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in Forsyth County. Marker is on Main Street. Marker located in courtyard in front of Salem College in Old Salem, between Church and Main Streets. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Winston Salem NC 27101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Salem Historic District (within shouting distance of this marker); Salem Square (within shouting distance of this marker); The Salem Campus (within shouting distance of this marker); Street Grade (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Single Brothers' Diaconie Commemorating the Original Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop (about 300 feet away); Garden on the Triebel Lot (about 400 feet away); Rt. Rev. Edw. Rondthaler, D.D. (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winston-Salem.
In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
In 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina, held a celebration of July 4 with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was titled "The Psalm of Joy".
Taken alone, the Wikipedia snippets corroborate the marker's claim. However, another site
states that in 1781 "The first official state celebration as recognized under resolve of a legislature occurs in Massachusetts", but no specifics are given about the celebration itself.
Questions that come to mind:
1. There were official declarations made about the 4th "as a celebration", but were there any official *celebrations*? (i.e. Who
2. There appear to have been celebrations before 1783, but were these celebrations *official*?
In lieu of specific evidence of a *celebration* that was *official* occurring prior to the celebration in Salem in 1783, it seems the claim of marker stands. I will add any new evidence I find, and invite others to do the same. Evidence Wins.
Full Disclosure: I'm a long-time Winston-Salem resident, but have also lived in Massachusetts (Belchertown & Amherst).
— Submitted April 10, 2012, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 9, 2012, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,168 times since then and 223 times this year. Last updated on April 15, 2012, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 9, 2012, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.