Wachovia, North Carolina

Wachovia, North Carolina

Wachovia ("Pronunciation: wah-KO-vee-yah") was the area settled by Moravians in what is now Forsyth County, North Carolina, US. Of the six eighteenth century Moravian "villages of the Lord" established in Wachovia, today, the town of Bethania, North Carolina and city of Winston-Salem exist within the historic Wachovia tract. The Moravian Archives in Winston-Salem has a [http://www.moravianarchives.org/map.html "map"] of the original Wachovia tract, showing the approximate locations of the first six Moravian congregations and the approximate current boundaries of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.


Wachovia's early settlers were mostly German-speaking people who shared a common Germanic cultural background.

In 1752 Moravian Bishop August Gottlieb "Brother Joseph" Spangenberg led an expedition to locate the area where the Unitas Fratrum, or Moravian church, intended to begin the Wachovia settlements. Members of the Moravian Church in Europe purchased convert|98985|acre|km2 of land in the Backcountry (middle/western area) of North Carolina, from John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville. They named the convert|98985|acre|km2|sing=on tract of land "die Wachau", or "Wachovia," meaning "along the Wach."

[The land in North Carolina was purchased on behalf of the Moravians by John Henry (Johann Heinrich) Antes who had also served as agent on behalf of the Moravians in the purchase of the convert|500|acre|km2|sing=on tract which became the city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He also served as "Baumeister" ("Construction Manager") of the first buildings which still stand in Bethlehem's historic district.]

The name "Wachovia" is the Latin form of the German "die Wachau." "Die Wachau" was chosen as the name of the North Carolina Moravian tract, to honor Count Zinzendorf, Moravian patron and bishop whose family estate was located in the Wachau region in Europe, along the Danube River northwest of Vienna. The Moravians most likely felt that the landscape in the Backcountry of North Carolina resembled the region in central Europe, with nearby mountains, local waterways including the Dan River, the Yadkin River, Town Fork Creek and three forks of Muddy Creek and fertile land with abundant forest.

Twelve Single (unmarried) Moravian Brethren traveling from Pennsylvania, most from the Christiansbrunn farm near Nazareth, arrived in Wachovia in 1753, forming Bethabara, in Hebrew meaning "House of Passage", a transitional congregational settlement founded November 17 1753. In July 1756, during the French and Indian War (1754–1763), a wooden stockade was built around the central-most area of the Moravian settlement, and Bethabara became a place of refuge for settlers from across the region, with many refugees living near the Bethabara Mill, numbering 120 by May 1759.

The first planned Moravian settlement, and oldest incorporated municipality in Wachovia is Bethania, North Carolina formed June 12, (1759), also known historically as Bethany, meaning in the Hebrew language, "house/place of dates and figs." The Town of Bethania, North Carolina was incorporated 1995, following the reactivation of Bethania's 1838/1839 town charter, and was spared from being annexed into the city of Winston-Salem. Today, Bethania remains the only independent, continuously active Moravian town in the southern United States. In 2007, Historic Bethania, a visitor center and museum, opened in Bethania, providing information and historical interpretation in yet another Wachovia Moravian community.

Wachovia's central administrative congregational town of Salem, which can be visited presently in Old Salem Museums and Gardens. Salem was begun in 1766(formally organized in 1771), and was built by Moravians and friends from Bethabara and Bethania.

Subsequent Moravian congregational settlements to be formed include Friedberg (1769), Friedland (1772), and Hope (1775). The congregation at Hope was the first "English" Moravian church in the area.

A secular county seat was founded in 1849 in newly drawn Forsyth County, north of Salem. Winston was the given to the new county seat in 1852. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, maker of Winston, Salem and Camel cigarettes, was founded at Winston in 1875. The towns of Salem and Winston merged as Winston-Salem in 1913. "Winston" and "Salem" were once also referred to as "Salem-Winston."Fact|date=September 2008 Bethabara now lies within the city limits of Winston-Salem, and can be visited today in Historic Bethabara Park, operated by the city of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

Over time, the convert|98985|acre|km2|sing=on Wachovia Tract was redrawn into the following counties as the Backcountry of North Carolina became increasingly populated:

* 1753 Rowan County.
* 1771 Surry County.
* 1789 Stokes County.
* 1849 Forsyth County was drawn out of what had been the southern half of Stokes County.


Historic Bethabara Park, Historic Bethania, and Old Salem Museums and Gardens are museums which serve to transport visitors in time to what was once Wachovia. The museums each contribute to the story of Moravians in North Carolina, and preserve, interpret, and demonstrate life in Wachovia over time.

Wachovia corporation

The area is the namesake and birthplace of Wachovia Corporation, one of the world's largest banks. The bank was pioneered by Bethanian I.G. Loesch. Salem, then Winston-Salem was the corporate headquarters for the bank until its merger with the First Union corporation, when the headquarters was moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Linguistic note

Present day students and scholars who are not familiar with the German language frequently, albeit incorrectly, use a masculine article "der" to modify "Wachau" when the feminine article "die" should be used, as historically documented. When speaking of "Wachovia" as a place, the proper title in German is "die Wachau," or "wach" "au," translated as "along the Wach," When speaking of "Wachau" in a transitive sense, such as "in the Wachau," the article becomes dative and written as "in der Wachau." Many individuals and organizations have seen the dative phrase and have irresponsibly and unknowingly dropped the preposition, leaving "...der Wachau," which is incorrect when used as a proper noun. The feminine gender of "die Wachau" does not change, though the case might.

ee also

*Adelaide Fries- author of the 1907 "The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence As Mentioned in the Records of Wachovia".

Notes and references

External links

* [http://www.bethabarapark.org/ Historic Bethabara Park]
* [http://www.townofbethania.org/ Historic Bethania]
* [http://www.oldsalem.org/ Old Salem Museums and Gardens]
* [http://www.moravianarchives.org/ The Moravian Archives of Winston-Salem, NC, US]
* [http://www.moravianchurcharchives.org/ The Moravian Church Archives, Bethlehem, PA, US]

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