Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Sydney sent me the history behind China Grove's name.

But China Grove hasn't always been called China Grove. For awhile it was called Savits Mill. And later Lutherville. So I issued a research challenge to Mrs. Rymer's class - to search out how the town got those names.

And wow! Those students are on the money! Within days they'd sent me the following response.

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.

I love that Ms. Rymer's class volunteered Rowan County info! I'm learning things here. I'm curious too - I assume the reason so many courthouses burned down was because of Sherman's March or Stoneman's Raid during the Civil War. But I'm not sure. More research for me!

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.

Oh, and look here - the class threw in some bonus info - these kids are motivated!

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.

Great work, guys! As promised I'm putting autographed bookmarks in the mail for all of you!


  1. I love that you're getting these kids curious about somewhere they've always lived--how fun for them to dig into this history.

  2. Thanks, Becky. I love that they took it to the next level. I have an idea there are some researchers/writers in this group.