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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Salem Female Academy: God's Acre

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. Rev. 14:13.

I heard a story on the radio this morning about God's Acre, the Moravian cemetery in Salem, NC, and I was reminded of the short life of Martha Ross King, who is buried there.

Martha R. King.
born Jan: 9. 1821
Knox County
Tennessee,
depd Dec: 28. 1835
.

In 2008, Janet and I spent a week at Old Salem's Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in 2008, researching Tennessee girls who attended school at Salem Female Academy from 1804-1908. Four hundred and eighty-two girls made the arduous journey from Tennessee to North Carolina in pursuit of an education. Martha Ross King and her younger sister Sarah Caroline King, of Campbell's Station, Knox County, arrived in Salem on June 19, 1835. The two girls were enrolling in their mother's alma mater. Isabella Sarah McNeil [King Wright] of Knoxville, Knox Co., had spent the years from 1815 to 1818 as a student at Salem Female Academy.

Six months later after the girls' arrival, Martha died in a cholera epidemic. Sarah remained a school for another year, departing on Nov. 25, 1836.

South Hall, the dormitory where Martha, Sarah, and Isabella resided

Martha was buried with other unmarried girls and women according to Moravian tradition, though she was not Moravian. The school archives contain a letter from the headmaster to her family in East Tennessee informing them of the circumstances of her death. The headmaster assured her step-father, Dr. William Wright, that Martha was provided with the best possible care and surrounded by people who loved her as she weakened.

Martha's grave is the eighth from the bottom on the left

2 comments:

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

I always love reading your posts and especially one about a gal from East TN. My heart is there and my body will be one day, too (when we retire).

Denise said...

I really enjoyed reading about
'God's Acre' and the Moravians, as I am from Murray Co., GA. Moravian
missionaries arrived here in 1801 to be missionaries to the Cherokee Indians. We also have a 'God's Acre' - it is located just up the road from the Chief Vann House, former home of the Cherokee Vanns and now a state museum. Look here:
http://www.gastateparks.org/ChiefVann, or Google for more information.
Best wishes....