Thursday, February 25, 2010

Will The History Maven Please Stand Up? (OR HOW CHINA GROVE, NC GOT ITS NAME)

See that note in the sidebar? The one that suggests that you, the history maven could contribute to my blog? Sydney took me up on it.

SYDNEY: Since I know you like history, I thought I would tell you how our town got its name. Our town is called China Grove because there used to be a grove of Chinaberry trees near the old train depot. You would not believe how many times my parents have been asked if there are a lot of Chinese people that live in our town!

I had never seen a Chinaberry tree before so I looked them up on the internet. The grove that our town is named for died out a long time before I moved here. They’re interesting to look at.

JOYCE: I have Chinaberry trees in my backyard. The berries create a nice bright spot on a winter day.)

SYDNEY: My Grandpa told me yesterday that he had a Chinaberry tree in his yard when he was a little boy. He and his brother used the green berries in their homemade slingshots. He said that the yellow berries felt nasty when they stepped on them with bare feet.

JOYCE: True. And "the nasty" gets under my fingernails when I pull weeds. (gloves, please!) All those berries drop into my flower beds and sprout more trees. It wouldn't take long to have a grove. The leaves and berries are pretty but they're also messy so I'm not surprised that China Grove removed them. Too bad they can't have one token tree. Ha!

Thank-you, Sydney for sharing this bit of history with us. I've always loved the name of your town but until now it was just a fascinating name. Some day I hope to visit. Your Farmer's Day Celebration on the 3rd Saturday in July looks like a blast!

MORE HISTORY TRIVIA: I did vist China Grove's website, and discovered that before it was called China Grove it had two other town names. I bet the students in Sydney's AIG class at Bostian Elementary School, know what they are.

Hi to everyone in Ms. Rymer's class. Do me a favor - click on the comment link below (with Ms. Rymer's permission) and tell me the two names that China Grove used to be called. And, if your class can tell me how it got those 2 names, I'll send signed bookmarks for each of you.

A Little More History I lifted from the town's website:
China Grove had its beginnings prior to the American Revolution. The town served as an early stagecoach stop. One claim to fame is that the first Rural Free Delivery Mail was made in North Carolina at the China Grove Post Office on October 23, 1896. It was only the second RFD made in the United States.


  1. loved this blog and that someone actually took you up on your "history maven" challenge. And someone young and pretty too :)

  2. Carol, she is pretty isnt she. And smart, obviously.

    I'm eager to hear more history on the town's names.

  3. I love this! I'm on a few miles from China Grove, NC. It's great to know the history of the place. It's a sweet town with obviously VERY smart students! :)


  4. Thanks Donna, I was so excited when Sydney sent me this info.

    And how cool to know you live nearby!

  5. My Fifth Grade AIG class took you up on your challenge, Mrs. Hostetter. Here is what we came up with.

    Here is some history of Rowan County that we discovered:

    First of all, Rowan County was named for the British Governor Matthew Rowan. Rowan County maintained some of the best historical records because it had one of the only courthouses that never burned down. Rowan County fed all the way to the Mississippii River. Many other counties were carved out of Rowan County because it was so big.

    A) What two other names were China Grove called and why?
    SAVITS MILL - The area near China Grove was settled by a man named George Savits. He owned a lot of the land and other landowners were connected. The settlement was called Savits Mill because some men married the daughters of Mr. Savits. We believe there was a stage coach stop there as well. The early church there was called Savits Meeting House. This church was likely built by the Savits family and used by the German Reformed as well as the Lutheran congregation. The people met at this church which later became Lutheran Chapel and Mt. Zion (currently still in action).
    LUTHERVILLE - Lutherville was the postal designation for the China Grove area from 1846-1849. The name of the town was Lutherville for that period, but was changed back to China Grove. We believe the people were of German origin and followed Martin Luther.

    B) How did Old Beatty Ford Road get it's name?
    Many of the roads that are called "Ford" are named this because they lead to a river and in the old days when there were no bridges, and one had to cross the river at a ford or on a ferry. Fords/Ferry's were often named after the family whose land it was on or the family who operated the ferry. Beatty's Ford is on the land previously owned by John Beatty, who owned land in the area as early as 1749. A post office named Beatie's Ford existed in this area as early as 1822 until 1882. A part of the British army crossed there in pursuit of Gen. Nathaneal Greene. It is now under the waters of Lake Norman. Old Beatty Ford also functioned as a major trading route.

  6. Wow! Ms. Rymer and class - Excellent work. That is a whole blog post in itself. Next week I'll turn it into a post.

    Thanks so much! I got an education out of that.

  7. Who is the founder of Salisbury and China Grove?

  8. How did Enochville get its name?