Part IV: Celebrating the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence!

Celebrating the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence!

NOTE: This is the final installment in a four-part series that explores the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Click accordingly to read parts one, two and three

“The City of Charlotte has documented many celebrations of Meck Dec Day, with the first known celebration occurring in 1825. The Charlotte Observer frequently covered the events of Meck Dec Day in the daily paper….” Newspaper excerpt:

The Fireworks Tonight 5/20/1891 p.1 The expert sent here to superintend the fireworks display tonight has been hard at work all day, and has everything arranged for a great display. The display will be given at the graded school grounds, at 8 o’clock, and will be the most elaborate ever given in the State. Some of the bombs will go half a mile high, and that part of the show can be enjoyed by our neighbors for 20 miles around. The display last year was a magnificent one, but the display to be made tonight will be a still better one. The set pieces and the figures in the air will be worth seeing. Every visitor who sees the fireworks display will feel repaid by that show alone for the trip to Charlotte. Take THE NEWS’ word for that.

During the celebration, three balloons were released. One of the balloons had a deed to a lot in Dilworth:

BROWN GETS THE DEED. 5/21/1891 p.1 The Balloon is Found by the Side of the Beattie’s Ford Road Six Miles From Town, by J. E. Brown, Who Gets a Lot in Dilworth. One of the original features of the fireworks display last night, was the sending up of a balloon, to which was attached a tin box, bearing a certificate that the finder would be entitled to a deed for a lot in Dilworth. Three balloons were sent up. The certificate was carried by the second balloon. All three balloons sailed high over the city in a northwesterly direction. The first balloon landed at Biddleville. The second sailed out of sight; the third was burned by fireworks at a great height. This morning, as Mr. J. E. Brown, who lives near the Capp’s Hill Mine, was coming to town, his attention was attracted by a balloon lying in a field by the Beattie’s Ford Road six miles from town. He picked up the balloon and saw the tin box attached. He broke open the box and found the certificate entitling him to a lot in Dilworth. The certificate was signed by E. D. Latta, president and J. L. Chambers, secretary, and called for a deed to lot No. 2, in block 69. That block is located in the southern portion of Dilworth, and the lot fronts on Springville Avenue. It is one of the prettiest lots in Dilworth.

As you’ve likely been able to infer, Meck Dec Day is a huge deal for Charlotteans. So much so, that the city asked and successfully hosted four United States presidents: William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gerald Ford.

President TaftPresident Wilson

President EisenhowerPresident Ford

In 1995, the Meck Dec Day celebration was re-established to take place annually at Independence Square on the crossing of Trade and Tryon Streets in Uptown Charlotte. Independence Square has four statues, each in one corner of the square to represent Transportation, The Future, Commerce and Industry.

The 244th Meck Dec Day celebration will be held on May 20, 2019 in Uptown. The celebration is quite robust with plenty of camaraderie to go around. Parades, colonial interpreters, horses, music and cannons are only a few exciting things eventgoers will experience!

Come join your fellow Charlotteans and celebrate the document that may or may not have been written on this day, 244 years ago.

Happy Meck Dec Day!

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REFERENCES

Inscoe, Corey. 5 Things you Probably Didn’t Know about Meck Dec Day—and How To Celebrate this Weekend. Charlotte Five. Accessed May 2019. https://www.charlottefive.com/meck-dec-day-2017/

Kent, Tricia. Five Facts to Know About Meck Dec Day. UNC-Charlotte. Accessed May 2019. https://inside.uncc.edu/news-features/2018-05-18/five-facts-know-about-meck-dec-day

Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room. 1891 Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence Celebrations. CMStory. Accessed May 2019. https://www.cmstory.org/exhibits/mecklenburg-declaration-independence-celebration-timeline/1891-mecklenburg-declaration

Williams, Jim. The Mecklenburg Declaration: The Celebrations. Mecklenburg Historical Association. Accessed May 2019. https://www.meckdec.org/declaration/the-celebrations

IMAGES

Captain Jack Statue. Image. Accessed May 2019.  https://www.mecknc.gov/ParkandRec/TrailOfHistory/Pages/CaptainJack.aspx

Mecklenburg Declaration Sidewalk Plaque. Image. Accessed May 2019.  https://www.cmstory.org/exhibits/robinson-spangler-north-carolina-room-image-collection-hornets-nest/mecklenburg-declaration

Mecklenburg Resolves. Image. Accessed May 2019.  https://archive.org/stream/documentsillustr00libr#page/6/mode/2up

North Carolina State Flag. Image. Accessed May 2019. https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/north-carolina/state-flag/flag-north-carolina