Carolina Curious: Where did Union Cross community get its name?

Carolina Curious: Where did Union Cross community get its name?

6:00am May 31, 2022
PAUL GARBER/WFDD

There are three Union Cross communities in the Triad area, one each in Forsyth, Yadkin and Surry counties. Listener Robert Myers of Kernersville had a question for Carolina Curious about the origins of the one in southeastern Forsyth County: 

I have lived near Union Cross for many years, and I always wondered, where did the community get its name? I’ve asked many people in the community, but no one seems to know the answer.

The North Carolina Gazetteer — an index of the state’s geographic features — has a history for the name of only one of those three communities. Yadkin County’s Union Cross was apparently named for a Quaker Friends Meeting back in the 1880s.

So could Forsyth’s name also come from a Friends Meeting place?

Not likely, according to Quaker history authorities. The Friends didn’t start using the term Union Cross until the time the Yadkin community was named, decades after Forsyth’s community was founded. 

Michelle DeLapp is chairwoman of the board for the Wachovia Historical Society. Using Moravian archives, she found references to Union Cross in records dating to the early 1860s, well before the Quakers used the term. The timing would also seem to rule out any connection to the Union Army in the Civil War.

Forsyth County’s Union Cross appears to date back to the days of a plank road in the mid-1800s that ran from Fayetteville, through High Point, and up to the Moravian community of Bethania.

DeLapp says the name may simply be a reference to an important convergence of roads during the middle of the 19th Century.  

“I believe it had something to do with the location of the road,” she says. “It was an intersection between High Point Road and what is known as Union Cross Road now — it was kind of an intersection.  And it was kind of a main road.” 

Today, Union Cross is the site of an elementary school and a county park.

Union Cross wasn’t the only prominent use of the term “Union” in Forsyth County.

The Union Republican newspaper used it during its run from the 1870s to the 1940s, and Winston-Salem’s train stop was called Union Station when it was built almost 100 years ago.

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