Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our Country's First Declaration of Independence

Almost a year before the Continental Congress declared independence from the King of England, leaders from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina wrote the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence on May 20, 1775. The Declaration was an immediate response to the Battle of Lexington-Concord fought in Massachusetts on April 19, 1775.

The 27 signers were leading citizens of Mecklenburg, Rowan and Cabarrus Counties and it was read before the people in front of the courthouse. Captain James Jack carried a report of the Declaration to the Second Continental Congress where it had assembled in Philadelhia.

Apparently, Mecklenburg's courier stopped in Wachovia (Salem), which is now Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on his way home from Philadelphia. A transcript is recorded in the Records of the Moravians of North Carolina, stating that Congress thought the Mecklenburg Declaration premature. Almost a year later, the Continental Congress wrote the Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776.

Since many local records were destroyed when Mecklenburg Secretary, John McKnitt Alexander's home was burned in 1800, the events were recorded from witnesses who were still living from the Revolutionary War. However, the Moravian records in Old Salem give credit to the claims. Charlotte began celebrating the Mecklenburg Declaration with 60 Revolutionary Veterans participating in the 1825 celebration.

For further reading, visit the following links:


  1. Very interesting. I did not know this.

  2. I don't think I've ever heard of this. Very interesting, Jenn! Thanks for sharing.

    I hope you all have a great 4th!

  3. I've had the blessing to hear many of our countries origin stories via special speakers and homeschool history books. It's amazing reading. Thank you for the great reminder and for adding to the much needed records of our history!
    Angela Breidenbach

  4. I thought that I knew quite a bit about American History, but I had never heard this story. Thanks for sharing a great 4th of July tidbit.

    An Arkies Musings

  5. Jenn,
    This is interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I think the Mecklenburg Declaration is interesting, although some historians deny it. I feel like the Moravian records do validate it. General Cornwallis did say that Charlotte was worse than a hornet's nest, so then he took his troops to what is now Greensboro and there was the huge battle of Guilford Courthouse against General Green, of which my family was personally involved and the city of Greensboro is named!

    Happy July 4th!