Rowan Public Library’s Edith M. Clark History Room concentrates primarily on Western North Carolina genealogy and history including all areas of old Rowan County. Our holdings include over 19,000 books, 5,700 microforms, 268 manuscript collections, dozens of genealogical journals as well as a solid collection of civil war and civil war prison materials. Genealogy materials include abstracts, indices, and guides to the primary source material used by genealogists as well as popular online databases - Ancestry.com, Fold3, and African American Heritage. Local and regional oral histories, films, and maps also supplement the collection. Three of our larger manuscript collections are kept primarily as surname vertical files and an index for these is available.
The History Room staff is able to investigate specific research requests but is limited as to the amount of time spent on each request. We are unable to do extensive or intensive research. Please email or call us with your question and we will be happy to explain what information we might have within our collection.
The Salisbury Confederate prison came into being in 1861, and following the first battle of Bull Run at Manassas, Union prisoners of war (POWs) streamed into Salisbury. Joining the POWs were Southern political prisoners and conscientious objectors, as well as Confederate and Federal deserters. Originally a cotton mill and, for a short time, a boys academy, the prison grounds had held a meatpacking plant for the Confederate Army. It was also the site of the general muster ground, where local boys joined the Southern Army.