A Student of History

May 24, 2007

Still a Hoax after all these Years

Filed under: NC History — John Maass @ 6:40 am

In the Charlotte Observer from 5/20, there is an article on the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration, which purportedly declared the county independent over a year before the Continental Congress did on July 2, 1776. 

The problem is that there is no contemporary evidence of the Meck-Dec at all, just confused memories from the early 19th century.  A society now in existence claims the evcent happened like this:

On May 20, 1775, a group of Mecklenburg leaders met at the county courthouse at the crossroads of Trade and Tryon. They declared themselves independent from Britain in several documents, the foremost of which is a document known today as the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (or “MecDec”). It was a reaction to the news that colonists had been massacred by the British at Lexington. On May 31, they drafted a second document—a set of resolves further outlining their independence and organizing their new governance.

A young tavern owner, Captain James Jack, volunteered to carry the documents 600 miles to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. It was a courageous act. He knew that if he were caught in possession of such seditious documents, he would be hanged. On horseback, Captain Jack slipped past British regulars and Tory spies. When he arrived in Philadelphia, he demanded that the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence be read into the record at the Continental Congress.

May 20th became a monumental date—it is displayed prominently on the North Carolina state flag and has been celebrated with great fanfare since the early 1820s. While the authenticity of the MecDec is questioned by some, the Spirit of MecDec is beyond doubt.

Either way, the article is an interesting read.


  1. There is documentary evidence that does support the evidence without a doubt. Here is a letter in the NC archives that mentions the resolves and the declaration.


    Did Jefferson utilize this document? That is the real question for historians. The feeling by many is that the declaration in Mecklenburg was a local event and the declaration in Philadelphia was a Continental event.

    Comment by Jim — May 27, 2009 @ 10:59 am | Reply

  2. You link to a document (on pg 48) written June 30th, that mentions only the resolves. It does not mention the “Mecklenburg Declaration,” or anything of that description. In fact, the letter is rather vague as to what the newspapers reported. Is that what you deem support “without a doubt” or is there some other part of the document I have missed?

    Comment by John Maass — May 27, 2009 @ 11:24 am | Reply

  3. I guess without a doubt is too strong. I see your point.

    What really got my attention is that the copy is being sent by “express” and to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia vs. the state government New Bern etc.
    A copy of these Resolves I am informed were sent off by express to the Congress at Philadelphia as soon as they were passed in the Committee. ” This wasn’t just any document.

    This isn’t the usual patriot propaganda, he says this”The Resolves of the Committee of Mecklenburgh, which your Lordship will find in the enclosed Newspaper, surpass all the horrid and treasonable publications that the inflammatory spirits of this Continent have yet produced,”

    “A copy of these Resolves I am informed were sent off by express to the Congress at Philadelphia as soon as they were passed in the Committee. ” What was passed???

    This is so close to the date of May 20th as well.

    I think that there is more to this…

    Comment by Jim — October 23, 2009 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  4. The validity of the existence of the Mecklenburg Declaration is beyond doubt as its history was commented on numerous times during their lifetimes by its authors, some of the most honorable men in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County at that time. To doubt its existence is to cast disgrace and dishonor on its authors, men who proved over the course of their lives that they were men of integrity who risked everything they owned by supporting the Revolutionary forces.
    Lynn McIver, III lmciver3@att.net

    Comment by Lynn McIver — April 21, 2014 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

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