Sunday, August 3, 2008

Don't forget the Lost Colony and Virginia Dare...

We saw this flag several times last week while we were away on vacation. It is the flag of the state of North Carolina. Because I am of above-average intelligence [he said modestly] and very swift on the uptake, I knew even without being told that the letters “N” and “C” on the left side of the flag mean North Carolina. But did you see the two dates on the flag? The date May 20, 1775, appears on one gold banner and another date, April 12, 1776, appears on a second gold banner. Why are the dates there? What happened on those dates? I didn’t have a clue.

So I did a little research and here’s what I learned. On May 20, 1775, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was supposedly signed in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. But whether such a document ever existed is disputed. No original document exists and there were no newspaper accounts of it at the time. The first printed copy didn’t appear for many years, but it is said to have been the first declaration of independence in the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution. And on April 12, 1776, the 83 delegates present at the Fourth Provincial Contgess in Halifax, North Carolina, adopted the Halifax Resolves, which authorized North Carolina’s delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to vote for independence. This was the first official action by a colony calling for independence.

If you want to know more about these documents, click on the links in the previous paragraph to see the full texts and discover what else Wikipedia has to say. Or you could even ignore Wikipedia and set out on your own search.

My wife’s family moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina when she was a child, and because she was required to take North Carolina History in school, she knew about both of these documents. In Texas, we learned instead about Texas Independence Day on March 2, 1836, and the Battle of the Alamo, and the defeat of Mexican General Santa Anna (or Ana) at the Battle of San Jacinto, and the fact that Texas is the only state that can divide itself into as many as five states if it wishes. I can tell you about Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston and Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, but until now I couldn’t have told you one thing about the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence or the Halifax Resolves. My education has been sorely lacking.

Is there something in your state’s history that everyone in your state knows but few people elsewhere may have heard of?


  1. Good idea Bob. Why don't you start a meme? Send the challenge to another person to give 10 facts about their state of origin they think might be new to everyone, and then pass it on. One at a time, should keep it from being a heavy duty on anybody. I hate the "give it to 7 others." LOL. Too much work. I like it! Interesting post about NC. I surely didn't know about it.

  2. You can even make NC history interesting!! I had never heard of any of this, of course. The place names "Mecklenburg" and "Halifax" don't sound at all like they belong to something connected with North Carolina. Thank you for the enlightenation....(I don't think that's a word, but it came to mind.)

  3. Thanks you, afeatheradrift, for stopping by! I was hoping that people would reveal their state's info in comments to this post. I'm not big on memes.

    And thank you, Jeannelle, as well. Mecklenburg is the name of the county where Charlotte is the county seat. I still don't know where Halifax is except the one in Nova Scotia. Sorry I can't enlightenate you more.