The North Carolina Room at the Forsyth County Central Library owns tens of thousands of photographs. Every one is a story, ranging from the simple…I was here…to the infinitely complex…what’s going on here?

Many of the pictures are unidentified in any way. And others come in almost weekly…most from folks who say “I found this in my great aunt’s attic…I have no idea who or what it is.” But our intrepid photo librarian, Molly Rawls, is always at work trying to identify the people, places or things portrayed in these photos.

This week, an old friend of mine brought in a couple of historic photographs. One was typical of the sort of thing that we receive…a family dressed in their Sunday best seated proudly in their brand new 1910 Ford Model T in front of their house. No other information available as to who, what, where, when or why, the five basic questions of journalists and historians.


A quick scan of the photo reveals that is was taken somewhere on Fourth Street. The terrain limits it to West Fourth, somewhere between Poplar and Broad Streets. The fact that the house is only one story, in a time when almost all houses in the area were two story, gives us an advantage. But it will still take time to narrow it down to its place.

The second picture shows a man and woman posing in a photographer’s studio. it has been damaged, but the important details are visible.


And we were delighted to note that someone had written at the bottom the names of the subjects…Nora and George Winkler. Their attire suggested a recent post-Civil War timing. And even better, it is an “original”, so we have the back as well.


Henry A. Lineback was an early local photographer, dating from around the Civil War era. His original studio was on Main Street, near Bank Street, in Salem. He later moved north to the town of Winston, locating his studio at 103 1/2 West Fourth Street, on the north side of the courthouse square.

Note that the names of the subjects are repeated on the back of the photo, along with the inscription “Born July 30th, 1848”. The usual reaction would be that such a photo is of a married couple, so why the single birth date? Is this a reflection of the typical 19th century American male-centric attitude? And if they are a married couple, why are they standing on opposite sides of a rail fence?  Or is there something else operating here?

Even so, we follow the usual path, looking for a marriage record for George or Nora Winkler. There is none. So we move to Ancestry’s vast website and try the 1860 census. And up pops a Salem listing for Amelia Winkler, a widow, whose household includes Mary Winkler (age 13), Henry Winkler (age 8) and Leonora and George Winkler (age 12).

My, my. Leonora (Nora) and George. Twins.

But in the conventional record, that is the end. Will the long running series of the records of the Moravians provide us any more information? As it happens, it will.

Here’s what happened. George Winkler grew up in Salem, attended the Salem Boy’s School and was apprenticed to the Blums, who operated a printing business and published one of the area’s most important weekly newspapers, the “People’s Press”. So he became a printer.

But at some point, he decided that he wanted to be a Moravian minister. Around 1868-69, he applied to and was accepted at the Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, joining several other local boys, including Samuel Hagen, William H. Vogler and George F. Bahnson.

In those days, college ran pretty much year round. But there was a short break in August. In August, 1870, George Winkler and his friend William Vogler came home for a brief visit with their families.

Since students at the Moravian College had a special status, William Vogler was enticed to give a “chalk talk” to the Salem Sunday school students. And George Winkler actually preached at a service at Home Moravian Church.

And while he was home, he did one other thing. He went to Henry Lineback’s photo studio and posed for a picture with his twin sister, Nora. Then he and Vogler returned to Bethlehem.

A few weeks later, on September 15, 1870, a telegram was received at the offices of the Salem “People’s Press”, Winkler’s former employers. George Winkler had died suddenly of unknown cause at age 22.

His body was returned to Salem and interred in the Salem God’s acre. On October 5, during the Wednesday prayer meeting at Home Moravian, E.A. Vogler, the father of Willaim Vogler, read extracts from George Winklers diary to the congregation.