Rowan was formed in 1753 from Anson. It was named in honor of Matthew Rowan who was a prominent leader before the Revolution and who for a short time after the death of Governor Gabriel Johnston was acting governor. It is in the central section of the State and is bounded by Davidson, Stanly, Cabarrus, Iredell and Davie counties. Its present land area is 511.31 square miles and the 2000 population was 130,340. The county seat was first called Rowan Court House. It has been called Salisbury since about 1755.