Local News

Women recreate historic 500-mile walk taken by Moravians who founded 250-year-old NC college

Posted October 24, 2021 10:34 a.m. EDT
Updated October 25, 2021 11:26 a.m. EDT

— Around 250 years ago, a group of Moravian women, including 12 young girls aged 13 to 17, bravely faced the treacherous journey from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. After completing the remarkable journey, two women became the first new teachers in a girl's school created in 1772, now known as Salem Academy and College.

In the spirit of those ancestors, and in honor of the college's anniversary, a group of women are re-creating that 500-mile journey on foot.

Two of the women, Lucy Rose and Frances Cronlund, who lives in Raleigh, spoke with WRAL News about their adventure.

The journey began on September 28 and will conclude at the college in Winston-Salem on October 26.

They've covered the 500 miles over 29 days, following the route outlined in the 1766 journal of Salome Meurer, one of the first teachers in the school, along with Elisabeth Oesterlein.

The Journey follows the colonial migration trail, which passes through Maryland, continues east of the mountains in Virginia, and turns west in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Walkers will arrive to a celebratory Homecoming, open to all, on Salem Square in Old Salem on the afternoon of October 26.

In 1772, when the college was founded, it was based on a revolutionary idea that girls and women deserved a rigorous education to prepare them to lead the way for a better world.

"Over the last 250 years, Salem has built upon this foundation and pushed boundaries for women, empowering them to be leaders by preparing girls and women from all around the world to effect change, shatter expectations, and lead through the challenges and triumphs of their times," said school officials in a statement.

The women taking the journey have created a daily blog, where they share updates from their incredible adventure.


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