The 243rd anniversary celebration of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is swiftly approaching with Meck Dec Day falling on Sunday, May 20.
We’ve previously mentioned that this special day is pretty much the most Charlotte holiday ever. If you don’t recall, this Declaration of Independence was supposedly signed and read on the courthouse steps in Charlotte May 20, 1775 — a good year before the more popular Declaration of Independence.
As the story goes, a rider came into town May 19 telling of the battles of Concord and Lexington, which led to a meeting of prominent Charlotteans that lasted through the night and supposedly produced the document.
The Meck Dec, which you can read here, basically declared independence from Great Britain — the first time this happened in the colonies. After it was read and signed, militia Captain James Jack is said to have carried it on horseback to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
Don’t believe it? You can even see references to the Meck Dec all over Charlotte: Independence Boulevard, Captain Jack Pilsner, Charlotte Independence, the Captain James Jack statue at 4th and Kings, etc.
If you’re skeptical, you wouldn’t be the only non-believer. Many historians doubt the Meck Dec ever existed. Former Charlotte Museum of History President and CEO Kay Peninger told us that doubters think people referencing the Meck Dec actually meant the Mecklenburg Resolves, which passed 11 days later, May 31, 1775.
Regardless, there are plenty of Meck Dec Day celebrations that unfold each year, and 2018 is no exception. The May 20th Society and The Charlotte Museum of History, with support from The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, are rolling out events this weekend to celebrate Charlotte’s history.
Annual Meck Dec Noon Commemoration
Friday, May 18 at Noon
Independence Square, corner of Trade and Tryon streets
The May 20th Society’s annual commemoration of the Meck Dec signing is free for the public to attend. The festivities feature military and Colonial re-enactors, historical readings and cannon firing.
Meck Dec Day Celebration
Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Dr., Charlotte
Celebrate with tours of Mecklenburg County’s oldest home site, listen to readings of the Meck Dec as well as a reenactment of the signing, practice quill pen-and-ink writing, catch cooking demos focused on 18th century tavern foods, and more. This celebration is $10 for adults, $8 for kids and free for museum members. Register at charlottemuseum.org/events.
Meck Dec Day at OMB
Sunday, May 20 from 11 a.m. to closing
The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, 4150 Yancey Road, Charlotte
Sip a pint of Captain Jack pilsner while enjoying a movie about the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. There will be merchandise available from the Charlotte Independence soccer club and a chance to take a picture with Captain Jack (maybe one more pilsner before that).
Captain Jack Historical Bike Ride
Sunday, May 20 at 2 p.m.
Starts at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, 4150 Yancey Road, Charlotte
This bike ride is free and honors Captain James Jack’s 450-mile ride to deliver the Meck Dec to Congress in 1775. Not that you’ll ride that far — the bike route will take you to historical locations around Charlotte with relevance to Captain Jack.
Photos: Charlotte Observer files.