The Town of Salem has a rich and deep history, with the restoration supported by many different sources of historical documentation and research. Core material is the primary source information published in the Records of the Moravians in North Carolina based on records held by the Moravian Archives, Southern Province in Winston-Salem. In addition, documentation such as private papers, historic photographs, and artistic renderings, as well as ongoing research of buildings, objects, and archaeological resources, have been critical to understanding the Town’s history.
Between 1820 and 1850, the number of Danes entering the United States averaged only about 60 each year. But soon this trickle became a steady stream. From 1820 to 1990, more than 375,000 Danes came to the United States, the vast majority arriving between 1860 and 1930. The peak year was 1882, when 11,618 Danes entered the country. Converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) represent the first significant wave of Danish immigrants to America. Mormon missionaries from Utah arrived in Denmark in 1850, only months after the Constitution of 1849 granted the Danish people religious freedom. Between 1849 and 1904, when Mormons stopped recruiting immigrants, some 17,000 Danish converts and their children made the hazardous journey to the Mormon Zion in Utah, making Danes second only to British in number of foreigners recruited by the church to the state. Many of these Danes settled in the small farming communities of Sanpete and Sevier counties, south of Salt Lake City; today these counties rank second and fifth respectively among all the counties in the United States in terms of percent of Danish ancestry in their population.