A brief History of the Moravians
The town of Moravian Falls is located in the heart of Wilkes County, North Carolina, and sits at an elevation of 1,192 feet. Deriving its name from its 35 foot waterfall and the Moravian brothers who settled here in 1753, Moravian Falls is the perfect setting for your mountain vacation.
These pilgrims originally came from Bohemia and Moravia, neighboring provinces in what is now the Czech Republic. Half a century ahead of Martin Luther's Reformation movement, the Moravians were branded as heretics. Yet they grew; by the time of Luther, in 1517, there were 400 Moravian congregations scattered through Moravia, Bohemia, and Saxony. Persecution continued, however, until early in the 17th century, many Moravians left Bohemia; they were forced underground and many of their former buildings and homes were burned and destroyed.
Finally, in the 1700s, a home was found when Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf offered a settlement on his estate near Berthelsdorf, in the German state of Saxony. Soon, a town called Herrnhut grew, and became a refuge for the Moravian faith.
From this base, the Moravians continued with a focus on missionary work to many places in the world. The location of these early missions led to the church today having a worldwide membership made up largely of people of African descent.
The first attempt to settle in America, in the colony of Georgia, was short-lived. The Moravians moved north from Georgia to eastern Pennsylvania in 1740 and founded the town of Bethlehem. From this base in Pennsylvania, they later moved south to North Carolina.
In 1752, in the backwoods of North Carolina the Moravians purchased a tract of almost 100,000 acres . The name of the tract became known as Wachovia. In 1766, they establish the town of Salem (meaning "peace") in N.C., which is often confused with Salem, Mass.
The Moravians established a rooted community with strong values and stable trade. They continued a legacy of 24 hour prayer and worship centers that were started in Eastern Europe by their ancestors. Their prayer and missionary spirit still have effect in the foothills of North Carolina where today many ministries have established their home bases.