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History of Davidson County

Davidson County was formed in 1822 from the portion of Old Rowan County east of the Yadkin River, and was named in honor of General William Davidson, a Revolutionary War general who was killed at Cowans Ford on the Catawba River.

Rowan County continues to border Davidson on the southwest side.  Guilford and Randolph counties border Davidson to the east.  Davie County, to the northwest, was formed in 1836 from part of Old Rowan County.  Montgomery County forms the southern boundary. Stanly County was created in 1841 out of the western section of Montgomery County, and now the NE corner of Stanly touches the SW corner of Davidson at the Yadkin River. Stokes County was the northern boundary at the time Davidson County was created. Forsyth was created in 1849 from the southern part of Stokes County, and then it became the new northern neighbor for Davidson.  For further information on these counties and their records, please see the “Neighbor Counties” in the right-hand column.

Davidson County did not give birth to any other counties once it was created, so that makes following records into the present an easier business than with some other counties.  It is also a blessing that Davidson came from just one parent county and not sections of two, three, or four older counties, as is often the case in North Carolina county formation.  You may find this PDF file of NC County Formation helpful to have available for your research. The code numbers are for the North Carolina State Archives catalog system.

The area out of which Davidson County was formed was not heavily populated at the time. There were only two villages: Lexington and Clemmonsville.

Before 1775 a small settlement had been built on the road leading from Salisbury to Greensboro at the site of present-day Lexington. On April 19, 1775, one of the first skirmishes of the Revolutionary War took place in Lexington, Massachusetts, in which seven patriots lost their lives. After hearing of the skirmish, the small settlement chose Lexington as its name in honor of its New England counterpart.

Thanks to former host, Trent Briles, for his past service to Davidson NCGenWeb.