Salem Cemetery: Forsyth County: Winston-Salem, NC
According to historical records from the Moravian Archives; the cemetery was proposed during a meeting of the Salem leaders on June 29, 1854. The cemetery was proposed as an alternative burial ground for community citizens who were not Moravians, since the existing cemetery: God’s Acre was designated for those of the Moravian faith.
During this time period, Salem was the original settlement and Winston was in the early stages of planning. When Winston was laid out, a lot had been reserved for a cemetery but it was eventually sold for $150.00 and its replacement plot was described as an “old and inconveniently located field.” After lengthy deliberation, it was decided to buy an acre of land on the Bethabara Road for $50.00. This property was just north of Salem and east of Winston town limits and would eventually be expanded into the first municipal cemetery.
In 1857, a group of community leaders met to spearhead the cemetery project. It was at this point in time that the cemetery name changed from Winston to Salem and the Salem Cemetery Corporation was officially formed. Elias Alexander Vogler was the first president of the cemetery company, Henry William Fries the secretary-treasurer, and the board of managers was composed of Francis Fries, Thomas J. Wilson, Robert Gray, William Barrow, and Rufus L. Patterson.
Following is an excerpt from the deed between Emil deSchweinitz and the Salem Cemetery Corporation:
“This Indenture, made this twenty ninth day of April in the year eighteen hundred and fifty seven between Emil A deSchweinitz of the Town of Salem in the County of Forsyth and State of North Carolina of the first part, and Salem Cemetery Company in the County of Forsyth and State of North Carolina of the second part: Witnesseth that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of Fifty Dollars, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged hath given, granted, bargained, sold and conveyed and doth hereby give, grant, bargain, sell and convey to the said party of the second part, and their Assigns, all that certain Tract of Land situated within the corporate limits of the Town of Salem aforesaid and bounded as follows, to wit:
Beginning at a Stake one hundred feet East of the present Grave Yard of the Moravian Church, running North 10 [degrees] West twenty eight poles to the Street leading from Main Street between Lots No 84 and 105 on Main Street; thence along said Street North 80 [degrees] East, fifty one poles to a Stake; thence South 10 [degrees] East twenty eight poles to a Stake thence South 80 [degrees] West fifty one poles to the Beginning containing eight Acres and one hundred and forty eight poles, more or less.
To have and to hold the same with the appurtenances thereunto belonging to the said party of the second part, their successors and assigns forever. And the said party of the first part for the consideration aforesaid, doth hereby covenant and agree to Warrant and Defend the premises aforesaid, to the said party of the second part, and their Assigns against the claim of all persons whatsoever, lawfully claiming from or under him I Witness whereof the said party of the first part hath here unto set his hand and Seal on the day and year above written.”
Visitors to Winston-Salem make it a point to visit the cemetery for a quiet stroll through the beautiful and well-manicured pathways. Many of Winston-Salem’s prominent leaders and their families lie in rest at Salem Cemetery. Several of the aforementioned members of the original Salem Cemetery Corporation rest there, as well as Richard Joshua Reynolds founder of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and his descendants.