Rowan Co., NC
HistoryThe county was formed in 1753 from the northern part of Anson County. It was named for Matthew Rowan, acting governor of North Carolina from 1753 to 1754. Originally, Rowan County was a vast territory with an indefinite western boundary. Reductions in its extent began in 1770, when the eastern part of it was combined with the western part of Orange County to become Guilford County. Between 1771 and 1836, Surry, Burke, Iredell, Davidson and Davie counties were all created from Rowan.
Rowan County lay along the route of the east-west Trading Path, an ancient roadway running from Fort Henry, Virginia (near present-day Petersburg), to the Indian settlements in South Carolina and Georgia. This early channel of commerce crossed the north-south Great Wagon Road at Trading Ford, a Rowan County community lying just east of the Yadkin River. This...helped to establish it as western North Carolina’s first center of trade, transportation, and political awareness.
The village of Salisbury grew from 7 or 8 log Houses in 1755 to "at least thirty-five homes, inns, or shops" in 1762. During the latter year, according to one historian, at least fifteen of Salisbury's inhabitants were tradesmen. There was a candle-maker, a doctor, two lawyers, a potter, three hatters, an Indian trader, a weaver, a tailor, a tanner, a butcher, two merchants, and a wagonmaker. Sixteen inns were licensed in Salisbury by the end of 1762.¹
¹ Salisbury Historic District