Salisbury, the county seat of Rowan County, was settled by Scot-Irish and Germans and figured in both the American Revolution and the Civil War. At different times in 1781, Patriot Gen. Nathanael Greene and British Gen. Charles Cornwallis called it their headquarters. During the Civil War, the town had one of the largest prisons established by the Confederacy. Some 5,000 Union soldiers are buried in a national cemetery there. The Rowan Museum has been moved to the 1854 courthouse—a stone building that survived the 1865 burning of Salisbury during the Civil War. The museum tour also includes several homes. An 1819 town house (the Utzman-Chambers House) has period rooms furnished in Hepplewhite and Chippendale furniture, and the Old Stone House, built in 1766, has gun ports on the second floor believed to have been used for fighting Native Americans.

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