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Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence May 20, 1775

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  • Richard Barry, Captain (1726 - 1801)
    A Patriot of the American Revolution for NORTH CAROLINA with the rank of PRIVATE. DAR Ancestor #: A006844 Signer or the Mecklenburg Declarartion. _______

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is claimed by some to be the first declaration of independence made in the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution. It was supposedly signed on May 20, 1775, at Charlotte, North Carolina, by a committee of citizens of Mecklenburg County, who declared independence from Great Britain after hearing of the battle of Lexington. If the story is true, the Mecklenburg Declaration preceded the United States Declaration of Independence by more than a year. The authenticity of the Mecklenburg Declaration has been disputed since it was first published in 1819, forty-four years after it was reputedly written. There is no conclusive evidence to confirm the original document's existence, and no reference to it has been found in extant newspapers from 1775.

Many professional historians have maintained that the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is an inaccurate rendering of an authentic document known as the Mecklenburg Resolves. The Mecklenburg Resolves were a set of radical resolutions passed on May 31, 1775, that fell short of an actual declaration of independence. Although published in newspapers in 1775, the text of the Mecklenburg Resolves was lost after the American Revolution and not rediscovered until 1838. Historians believe that the Mecklenburg Declaration was written in 1800 in an attempt to recreate the Mecklenburg Resolves from memory. According to this theory, the author of the Mecklenburg Declaration mistakenly believed that the Resolves had been a declaration of independence, and so he recreated the Resolves with language borrowed from the United States Declaration of Independence. Defenders of the Mecklenburg Declaration have argued that both the Mecklenburg Declaration and the Mecklenburg Resolves are authentic. The early government of North Carolina, convinced that the Mecklenburg Declaration was genuine, maintained that North Carolinians were the first Americans to declare independence from Great Britain. As a result, both the seal and the flag of North Carolina bear the date of the declaration. A holiday commemorating the Mecklenburg Declaration, "Meck Dec Day", is celebrated on May 20 in North Carolina, although it is no longer an official holiday and does not attract the attention that it once did.

  • 1. Abraham Alexander
  • 2. Adam Alexander
  • 3. Charles Alexander
  • 4. Ezra Alexander
  • 5. Hezekiah Alexander
  • 6. John McKnitt Alexander
  • 7. Waightstill Avery
  • 8. Rev. Hezekiah J. Balch
  • 9. Richard Barry
  • 10. Dr. Ephraim Brevard
  • 11. Maj. John Davidson
  • 12. Henry Downs
  • 13. John Flenneken
  • 14. John Foard
  • 15. William Graham
  • 16. James Harris
  • 17. Richard (or Robert) Harris
  • 18. Robert Irwin
  • 19. William Kennon
  • 20. Matthew McClure
  • 21. Neil Morrison
  • 22. Duncan Ochiltree
  • 23. Benjamin Patton
  • 24. John Phifer
  • 25. Col. Thomas Polk
  • 26. John Queary
  • 27. David Reese
  • 28. Zacheus Wilson, Sr.