Salem Academy and College to Host Cherokee Commemorative Event

Salem Academy and College to Host Cherokee Commemorative Event

October 20, 2022
Cherokee Commemoration - Salem 250

As part of its 250th anniversary, Salem Academy and College is welcoming the community to the unveiling of a historic plaque honoring the 13 Cherokee girls who attended Salem in the 19th century.  The plaque will be dedicated in the courtyard of South Residence Hall, the original Salem girls’ Boarding School building where the Cherokee girls lived, during a public event that will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2022 at 5 p.m.

Joining Salem Academy and College’s community for the plaque dedication and unveiling ceremony will be Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin Jr., Jack Baker, President of the National Trail of Tears Association, the Rev. Dr. Neil Routh, President of the Southern Province Provincial Elders’ Conference, representatives of the Cherokee Nation and descendants of the Cherokee students who attended Salem.

The highlight of the commemoration event will be the unveiling of the plaque by Elizabeth Wheeler A’24. The event will conclude with remarks by Salem College alumna Anna McCoy C’98, who has been on a journey to discover more about Salem’s Cherokee bonds.

The commemoration day begins earlier and includes exhibits of relevant historic documents and artifacts throughout the campus of Salem Academy and College, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, the Moravian Archives and God’s Acre. Lunch will be available for purchase in the Corrin Refectory, Salem Academy and College’s dining hall. In addition, light refreshments will be available in the Single Sisters House.

Copies of Sallie Jane and the Wonderful Stories, a children’s book about a fictitious Cherokee student at Salem, will be a gift for visitors from Salem Academy and College. They will be available in the Single Sisters House. The book’s author and illustrator, John Hutton, Ph.D. will be on hand to autograph copies. Copies of the 2021 reprint of Less Time for Meddling: A History of Salem Academy and College, 1772-1866 will also be available for purchase from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Single Sisters House. The new edition includes an addendum with the history of the Cherokee students.

In addition, the following exhibits will be open for visitors on October 22:

Open 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Cherokee baskets and Vogler gun display in the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), Old Salem—Timothy Vogler, Salem’s local gunsmith, traded and sold guns to the Cherokee. He brought Araminta Ann Ross in a wagon to Salem from the Cherokee Nation to attend school.


  • The Doctor’s House in Old Salem—An exhibit of medicinal plants and how they were used in the Cherokee Nation is on display. This was attributed to Sister Ann Rosina Gambold, a teacher and Moravian missionary serving in the Cherokee Nation.


Open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Salem Academy and College South Residence Hall—South Residence Hall, built in 1805 as the original residence building for boarding students, was the dormitory where the Cherokee girls lived. The lobby will be open and will display the registration book and financial record books of the Cherokee students and the school newspapers that mention them.


  • Salem Academy and College Single Sisters House—Tours of the Single Sisters House will include the Museum and a new exhibit on the Cherokee girls as well as continuous showing of a Trail of Tears movie.


  • The Grave of Sophia Dorothea Ruede Vogler in God’s Acre—Vogler was a teacher in the Boarding school, a teacher in the Moravian missions in Spring Place, Georgia, and in Indian Territory after the Trail of Tears.


Open 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

  • The Moravian Archives—On display will be historic Cherokee maps, diaries, letters and autograph books. 


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