You are invited to register
your genealogical links to the Founding Families of Mecklenburg.
This registry will honor and perpetuate the memory of the early
pioneers who were living in Mecklenburg County before May 31,
The story about the date, May
31, 1775, forms a unique chapter in the history of Mecklenburg
County. Although trouble had been brewing in the American
Colonies for some time, tempers reached a boiling point when
Britain closed the port of Boston in 1774. A cry went out from
the Massachusetts Colony for all other colonies to select
delegates to convene a new government, a Continental Congress. In
North Carolina, Governor Martin refused to convene the Assembly
which would have elected the delegates and, in frustration,
community leaders met at New Bern to form a Provincial Congress.
The Governor was so infuriated by the unauthorized meetings he
dissolved the North Carolina Assembly leaving the colony
without official rule.
Mecklenburg's leaders were
alarmed at the deteriorating state of affairs and called a
countywide meeting. Thomas Polk, as commander of the county
militia, instructed the citizens to elect two representatives from
each militia district to meet in the Charlotte Town Courthouse on
Friday, May 19, 1775. While the delegates were discussing the
need for an immediate form of local government, the meeting was
interrupted by shouts from the crowd outside. A courier brought
news about the Battle of Lexington, a month earlier in
Massachusetts, where British troops had fired on American
civilians. The crowd was inflamed by the news. If the British
had attacked one colony, clearly no colony was now under the
protection of the Crown and owed no allegiance to the King.
The defiant resolutions
adopted by the convention on May 20 declared Mecklenburgers to be
a "free and independent" people. The document became known as the
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, the Meck Dec. However,
as tempers cooled, controversy followed. Some in the county were
afraid of trying to “go it alone.” After much discussion, on May
31, 1775, the Mecklenburg Resolves were adopted. The document
contained 20 amendments outlining how the people would elect
leaders and maintain law and order until laws could be authorized
by Congress. The community raised a “voluntary subscription” to
send Capt. James Jack to deliver the documents to North Carolina
delegates, Caswell, Hewes and Hooper attending the Second
Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
Many believe the Mecklenburg
Declaration of Independence and the Resolves formed the first
official declaration of independence from Britain. Unfortunately
a fire later destroyed the Minutes of the May 19-20 Meeting. Even
though some suggest that the Meck Dec was a complete fabrication,
the Resolves were published in several newspapers in the state,
proving that on May 31, 1775, the citizens of Mecklenburg County
had a defined sense of the value of their community and were
willing to risk their lives and fortunes to secure its future.
If you can prove each
generation of your lineage back to an individual who settled in
Mecklenburg County before May 31, 1775, you will be eligible for
recognization as a member of the Founding Families of Mecklenburg.
Write to the address below to receive an application and
instructions. When your application is verified, you will receive
a specially designed lapel pin that you may wear proudly as well
as an attractive certificate suitable for framing.
Please send a long
self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to request an application
for membership in Founding Families of Mecklenburg, Historic Rural
Hill Farm, P.O. Box 1009, Huntersville, NC 28070.