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The Declaration of Independence by the Citizens of Mecklenburgh County


Additional Papers. — From the RALEIGH REGISTER, FEBRUARY 18, 1820.


When this Declaration was first published in April last, some doubts were expressed in the Eastern papers as to its authenticity, (none of the Histories of the Revolution having noticed the circumstance.) Colonel William Polk, of this City, (who, though a mere youth at the time, was present at the meeting which made the Declaration, and whose father being Colonel of the County, appears to have acted a conspicuous part on the occasion,) observing this, assured us of the correctness of the facts generally), though he thought there were errours as to the name of the Secretary, &c˙, and said that he should probably be able to correct these, and throw some further light on the subject, by inquires amongst some of his old friends in Mecklenburgh County. He has accordingly made inquiries, and communicated to us the following Documents as the result, which, we presume, will do away all doubts on the subject.


STATE OF NORTH-CAROLINA, Mecklenburgh County:

At the request of Colonel William Polk, of Raleigh, made to Major General George Graham, soliciting him to procure all the information that could be obtained at this late period, of the transactions which took place in the County of Mecklenburgh, in the year 1775, as it respected the people of that County having declared Independence; of the time when the Declaration was made; who were the principal movers and leaders, and the members who composed the body of Patriots who made the Declaration, and signed the same:

We, the undersigned citizens of the said County, and of the several ages set forth opposite to each of our names, do certify, and on our honour declare, that we were present in the Town of Charlotte, in the said County of Mecklenburgh, on the 19th day of May, 1775, when two persons elected from each Captain' s Company in said County, appeared as Delegates, to take into consideration the state of the Country, and to adopt such measures as to them seemed best, to secure their lives, liberty, and property, from the storm which was gathering, and had burst upon their fellow-citizens to the Eastward, by a British Army, under the authority of the British King and Parliament.

The order for the election of Delegates was given by Colonel Thomas Polk, the commanding officer of the Militia of the County, with a request that their powers should be ample, touching any measure that should be proposed.

We do further certify and declare, that to the best of our recollection and belief, the delegation was complete from every company, and that the meeting took place in the Court-House, about 12 o' clock on the said 19th day of May, 1775, when Abraham Alexander was chosen Chairman, and Doctor Ephraim Brevard Secretary. That the Delegates continued in session until in the night of that day; that on the 20th they again met, when a Committee, under the direction of the Delegates, had formed several Resolves, which were read, and which went to declare themselves, and the people of Mecklenburgh County, free and independent of the King and Parliament of Great Britain and that, from that day thenceforth, all allegiance and political relation was absolved between the good people or Mecklenburgh, and the King of Great Britain; which Declaration was signed, by every member of the Delegation, under the shouts and huzzas of a very large assembly of the people of the County, who had come to know the issue of the meeting. We further believe, that the Declaration of Independence was drawn up by the Secretary, Doctor Ephraim Brevard, and that it was conceived and brought about through the instrumentality and popularity of Colonel Thomas Polk, Abraham Alexander, John McKnitt Alexander, Adam Alexander, Ephraim Brevard, John Phifer, and Hezekiah Alexander, with some others.

We do further certify and declare, that in a few days after the Delegates adjourned, Captain James Jack, of the Town of Charlotte, was engaged to carry the Resolves to the President of Congress, and to our Representatives — one copy for each; and that his expenses were paid by a voluntary subscription. And we do know that Captain Jack executed the trust, and returned with answers, both from the President and our Delegates in Congress, expressive of their entire approbation of the course that had been adopted, recommending a continuance in the same; and that the time would soon be, when the whole Continent would follow our example.

We further certify and declare, that the measures which were adopted at the time before mentioned, had a general influence on the people of this County to unite them in the cause of liberty and the Country, at that time; that the same unanimity and patriotism continued unimpaired to the close of the war; and that the Resolutions had considerable effect in harmonizing the people in two or three adjoining Counties.

That a Committee of Safety for the County were elected, who were clothed with civil and military power, and under their authority


several disaffected persons in Rowan and Tryon (now Lincoln County) were sent for, examined, and convoyed (after it was satisfactorily proven they were inimical) to Camden, in South Carolina, for safekeeping.

We do farther certify, that the acts passed by the Committee of Safety, were received as the civil law of the land in many cases, and that Courts of Justice for the decision of controversies between the people were held, and we have no recollection that dissatisfaction existed in any instance with regard to the judgments of said Courts.

We are not, at this late period, able to give the names of all the Delegation who formed the Declaration of Independence; but can safely" declare as to the following persons being of the number, viz ; Thomas Polk, Abraham Alexander, John M' Knitt Alexander, Adam Alexander, Ephraim Brevard, John Phifer, Hezekiah James Balsh, Benjamin Patton, Hezekiah Alexander, Richard Barry, William Graham, Matthew M' Clure, Robert Irwin, Zacheus Wilson, Neil Morrison, John Flenniken, John Queary, Ezra Alexander.

In testimony of all and every part herein set forth, we have hereunto set our hands.

GEO˙ GRAHAM, aged 61, near 62.