July 3, 2008

State Will Mark Site

By Elizabeth DeOrnellas, Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.

Jul. 3--The corner where U.S. 158 crosses Muddy Creek will soon have official recognition for its place in Clemmons history.

The village has received permission from the N.C. Department of Transportation to place a historical marker on the site, once camping grounds for Moravian surveyors who came to Northwest North Carolina to find land to settle.

"A part of my campaign platform was preserving the history and heritage of Clemmons, so we felt like probably that needed to be marked," Mayor John Bost said.

The town expects to present its new historical marker at a July council meeting.

Officials had considered trying to build a park or a Moravian-style shelter on the site, but the state has been reluctant to approve any permanent structures on the land, Bost said.

Robert Beroth, a local historian whose work led to the recognition of the site's historical value, said that the marker will commemorate an important moment in the history of the Piedmont region.

"Everyone's in agreement that it should have been done years ago," he said.

On the night of Dec. 26, 1752, a group of nine surveyors camped at the Muddy Creek site. The group had unsuccessfully sought habitable land farther up the Yadkin River, one night watching the mountain air freeze a bucket of water sitting beside the fire.

After their night of camping, the group set off to plot the nearby land, returning to the site on Jan. 13, 1753. They eventually ended up with 98,985 acres that were presented to Lord Granville as the future site of the Bethabara settlement.

One of the 11 men selected to lead that settlement was a distant relative of Beroth.

Bishop Spangenberg, who led the surveying party, was pleased to finally find good, uninhabited land suitable for settlement, writing in his diary that the land was preserved by the Lord.

The Rev. Kevin Frack of Winston-Salem is a direct descendant of one of the Bethabara settlers. His distant uncle, Hermann Loesch, was part of the surveying party that began their venture at the Muddy Creek site. Frack echoed Bishop Spangenberg's sentiments, saying that the Muddy Creek corner was a good beginning for a vision of God. He said that the designation of the site should be an example that Clemmons can expand upon.

"I hope that instead of looking back at the past to recover something that's there, that we actually build on the past," Frack said.

Elizabeth DeOrnellas can be reached at 727-7279 or at [email protected]


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