Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence

On the tour route of Charlotte’s Longest-Running Daily City Tour by Queen City Tours(sm) and Travel, you will come across the Old Old County Courthouse off East Trade Street in Uptown Charlotte right next to the county jail. The obelisk/monument just off East Trade and outside the main entrance of the courthouse has been there since the late 1800’s and it commemorates the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (Meck Deck).

That document was signed in the center of Charlotte on May 20, 1775. It was on that date that the folks of Mecklenburg County officially declared independence from King George III of England – Charlotte’s husband. The signing of that document preceded the signing of the Declaration of Independence by one year and nearly two months. Unfortunately, the United States Government does not recognize the signing of the Meck Deck today mainly because they can not locate the original. The original document was somehow misplaced between Charlotte, NC and Philadelphia, PA – site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

As such, that story today is more of a local and statewide historic tidbit however you will still find that date – May 20, 1775 – on the North Carolina State Flag as well as on the Mecklenburg County Seal created by local artist Harvey H. Boyd of Matthews, NC. From 1882 to 1982 former Presidents Taft, Wilson, Eisenhower, and Ford all participated in celebrations of the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and there is a regurgitated version of that document inside the Old Old County Courthouse on East Trade Street in Uptown Charlotte as well as at the Charlotte Museum of History in East Charlotte; and we have a copy of it on our web site at www.queencitytours.com. If you get a chance to check it out on our web site you will see that some of the wording is similar.

There is still an annual celebration at the Square – Corner of Trade and Tryon Streets – however it is usually attended only by the Mayor of Charlotte, a few historians and guests, and by folks in passing who have no earthly idea of what is happening.

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