Cultivating a legacy: Preserving the history of agriculture in Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2018

In preparation for the Farmers Appreciation Breakfast earlier this spring, some of the Cooperative Extension Service staff and I were rummaging through their old files to include farm pictures for the upcoming program. It was amazing how many old photographs the office had accumulated; some dating back to the early 1920’s. The majority of these were black and white, documenting the early years of farming in Rowan County. Unfortunately, nobody could identify these early farmers and more importantly these important historical photos and documentations might have ended in a dumpster.

Mrs. Lizzie Glaspie, of Barber.

Although considered an urban county, agriculture generates over 70 million dollars to the county’s economy. Commercial grain production, dairy and beef production and horticultural crops have historically been major contributors to the county income.

Rowan County has a very rich agricultural history that should be preserved for future generations. There are many farms with third and fourth generation producers still going strong. Sadly, today many do not have a clue to how important farming was and still is to the county and the state.

The Rowan Public Library in Salisbury now has a pictorial exhibit on display highlighting early agriculture in Rowan County Under the direction of Gretchen Witt, the History and Genealogy Department at the library is now preserving the rich history of agriculture in Rowan County by storing and preserving photos and documents for access to the public.

Please consider donating old pictures or have them scanned to preserve the history of agriculture in Rowan County. The library will scan old photos and documents and catalog these for future reference and public access. For more information on cataloging your old photos or scanning them, contact Gretchen Witt at 704-216-8228 or email for detailed information on preserving your photos.