• A Little History of Salem, WV

    Salem was settled in the summer of 1790 — as "New Salem" — by forty Seventh Day Baptist families from Shrewsbury, NJ. Notable settler family names included Lippincott, Maxson, Babcock, Plumer, Davis, and Fitz-Randolph. New Salem was formally chartered and made a town by legislative enactment of the Virginia Assembly on December 19, 1794, on land owned by Samuel Fitz Randolph. John Patterson, John Davis, Samuel Lippincott, James Davis, Zebulon Maxon, Benjamin Thorp, Thomas Clayton, William Davis, Jacob Davis, George Jackson and John Haymond were appointed its first trustees.

    By the 1870s, the town was more frequently being called "Salem" than "New Salem", as the separation of West Virginia from Virginia in 1863 had diminished the need to distinguish it from the town named Salem, near Roanoke. The United States Postal Service made the change official in March 1884. Salem was incorporated by the state of West Virginia on 25 February 1905.

    As late as 1870, Charles A. Burdick came to town as a Seventh Day Baptist missionary, feeling the need for an educational institution in the area, opened a school, though it operated for only two semesters. In 1888, the Eastern Seventh Day Baptist Association provided for the construction of the Salem Academy, which later became a college in 1890, existing to this day.