George Holder

Born: January 27, 1729
Died: January 15, 1804
Residences: Oley, PA; Bethabara, NC; Salem, NC

George Holder was born January 27th, 1729 in Oley, Pennsylvania. He spent his formative years in Pennsylvania learning the carpenter’s trade. He arrived to Bethabara on the 26th of October 1754.     George Holder arrived in Bethabara on the 13th of February 1766. One week later he moved to the site to be Salem along with Nils Petersen, Jens Schmidt, Gottfried Praetzel, John Birkhead, Jacob Steiner, Melchior Rasp, and Michael Ziegler. Their directive was to “remain there for the time, in order to make a real beginning of building.”
Their first building was the Builder’s House. Construction began on January 6th 1766. Together with Br. Christian Triebel, they laid most of the beams for the house. This building was a simple log cabin style home that served as the builder’s shelter through the end of the winter and into the summer. The brothers were in favor of building a real house, not a temporary structure. The house was built 26’x22’ with a tile roof, and made weather tight. This home remained standing until around 1910.
Holder also had a hand in felling the trees and preparing the lumber for the Outsider’s Cabin on the same Salem Lot. This house was to be occupied by all the hired workmen who did not belong to the community.
He also aided in the completion of the First House in which he and his brothers occupied a room. He then served as bush-ranger in order to find roads and paths that led to Salem from other locations and mapped them to aid in expediting travel between the settlements in the Wachovia Tract.
Near the end of 1766 he also made the clapboards for the stables in Salem for the housing of the horses. He, along with master carpenter Christian Triebel was the first Moravian carpenters in Salem proper.
In 1768, after being appointed overseer of roads, he was hired to chop out the roads to Town Fork and Belews Creek. These roads are documented as being supposed to be good enough for riding.
After serving in this capacity, Holder was granted a tract of land by the town council to have a farm. He finished his days as a farmer. Practicing joinery here and there, and was responsible for the completion of many of the buildings on his land. He passed away on January 15th 1804 in Bethabara. Without George Holder, or the original builders of Salem the town would look much different than it does today.