History of Soil Conservation
Davidson County was created from a part of Rowan County in 1822. The county was named for General William Lee Davidson, a brave young Revolutionary War leader who was killed at the battle of Cowans Ford.
This area was first explored by European explorers in the early 1700s and was described by the English adventurer John Lawson as being "a delicious country (none that I ever saw exceeds it); as rich a soil to the eye of a knowing person with us as any this western world can afford." The first settlers were immigrants from the British Isles who came to the Yadkin Valley via New Jersey in the 1720s to claim more adequate land holdings. They settled in what is now the Linwood area, and called it "Jersey Settlement," remembering the crowded New Jersey they had left behind.
Wildlife & Crop Production
The fertile river valley supported many types of wildlife, including elk, buffalo, bear, deer, swan, geese, turkey, beaver, and otter. In 1755 Arthur Dobbs, the Provincial Governor of North Carolina, in a letter to the Lords of the Board of Trade described this land as being "rich, level ground, free from rocks and gravels, but all a rich, dark red and some inclining to yellow, of the richest loams." Daniel Boone also made Davidson County his home in the 1750s.
In the 1800s the local economy was mainly agricultural, with corn, wheat, cotton, and tobacco the main crops. Wheat from the Jersey farms won first prize at the Chicago Worlds fair in 1893, and high production was then 40 to 50 bushels per acre. Tobacco from Davidson County during this same time period won first prize at the Vienna (Austria) Exposition.
In the first half of the 20th century agriculture intensified its production efforts to support the war effort. With mechanization and new varieties of seed available, crop production substantially increased from the 1950s up through the present.
Soil Conservation Districts Formed
As the need for better management of natural resources became apparent, area landowners formed the Middle Yadkin Soil Conservation District in 1939. This district consisted of Davidson, Cabarrus, Davie, Iredell, and Rowan counties. In 1963 Davidson County separated from the Middle Yadkin District to form the Davidson Soil and Water Conservation District.