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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - August/September 2003
An Invitation to Descendants of the Early Settlers of Mecklenburg County, NC

For immediate release: Tuesday, May 20, 2003

For more information contact: Keets F. Taylor
Catawba Valley Scottish Society
Historic Rural Hill Farm
P. O. Box 1009
Huntersville, NC 28070-1009

HUNTERSVILLE, NC: An Invitation to Descendants of the Early Settlers of Mecklenburg County, NC

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, 1775.

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. 

Return to August/September 2003 Index Page


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