North Carolina - First in Independence?

I am fascinated with the odd little twists and turns of fate that can be found in history. Sometimes, it’s better than anything we fiction writers could create. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I love writing and reading historical fiction. We can borrow liberally from actual events!

As I was doing research into my current novel, Smuggler’s Paradise (working title), I discovered that a few colonies had declared independence from Great Britain, even before a THE Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress.

So far, I’ve found:

Aside: It’s actually a bit inaccurate to say “I discovered…” While my interest in this topic started with my research into Rhode Island history, has been feeding me great information ever since. I love their “This Day in History” posts.

In today’s, This Day in History post, talks about a myth so prevalent that it’s made it into actual history.

You can read their full post here, but according to their researchers, many people (North Carolinians included) believe that North Carolina declared independence in late May, 1775 – the actual day of the month varies.

But what was seen by historians as a declaration of North Carolinian independence was actually a series of resolutions written by the men from Mecklenberg and published almost forty years later by the Raleigh Register.
North Carolina State Flag
North Carolina State Flag

In what was probably an issue of state pride, somewhere along the line, North Carolina adopted – unofficially I believe – the date of the Mecklenberg Resolutions and put it on the state flag.

The Mecklenberg Resolutions are another event going into my “to be researched more” files. (That’s a very thick file, as you might imagine.) I can just imagine a bunch of local men, patriotic fervor heated to a boiling point by the battles at Lexington and Concord, taking matters into their own hands. It sounds like a plan “launched on a sea of claret.”*


*I once read the Declaration of Independence described as “a plan launched on a sea of claret” but have never been able to find the reference again. I believe it was written by a contemporary of the times. I will happily provide a copy in e-book form of either Le Chevalier or Caution to the Wind to the first person who can tell me who said that.  If you know, please provide your answer in the comments.

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