Golden Nuggets from U. S. History
The Blue Quill Series
The Mecklenburg Resolves
[NOTE: Spelling in quoted material retained from original.]
North Carolinians did not wait for the Declaration of Independence. As the population advanced inland, settlers of the Piedmont felt a greater need for freedom from tyranny.
A document signed by committee clerk EPH. BREVARD, on May 31, 1775, of MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA said;
"This Day the Committee met, and passed the following."
Thus began the "Mecklenburg Resolves," commonly referred to as the "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence." The document continues:
"Charlotte Town, Mecklenburg County, May 31 [1775.]
With that opening salvo and a wave of the gauntlet, citizens of Mecklenburg County daringly swiped King George's cheek.
The "Resolves" contain no ambiguities. The long list of declarative statements clearly say that the people will no longer submit to the King nor Britain. The first point says it well:
They were making a statement for America. To be certain that the King understood, the second "Resolve" says it another way:
Unlike the period following the passage of "The North Carolina Biennal Act" sixty years earlier, the citizens of Mecklenburg had no intentions of waiting to see the reactions from England. With the third point, they got down to business:
The list of "Resolves" which followed provided rules for elections, assemblies, appointments, handling of criminal matters, civil disputes, and public security. The commission indemnified public acts:
That was a much better deal than the signers of the Declaration of Independence received for their heroic acts thirteen months later (see "signers and their fates".)
The people of Mecklenburg had no lofty illusions as to the consequences of their action. In the last two points, they laid the groundwork for the inevitable results:
Colonel Thomas Polk was the brother of Ezekiel Polk, and Ezekiel was the grandfather of James K. Polk, a native of nearby Pineville who became the 11th President.
There are at least two towns in North Carolina named for members of the Polk family. Polkton in Anson County on U.S. Highway 74 between Monroe and Wadesboro and Polkville in Cleveland County, just north of Shelby at the intersection of N.C. Highways 10 and 226.
Polk County, west of Shelby at the intersection of U.S. Highway 74 and I-26, was formed in 1855 from parts of Rutherford and Henderson Counties and although it was founded 6 years after the Presidency and death of James K. Polk the County is named for Colonel Thomas Polk.
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