Take a Liberty Walk in uptown Charlotte

05/17/2014 12:00 AM

05/18/2014 11:21 AM

In honor of Meck Dec Day, we present the Charlotte Liberty Walk – a walking tour of Revolutionary War-era markers around uptown Charlotte. People in Mecklenburg County in May 1775, legend has it, demanded freedom from England with the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence – a year before the Declaration of Independence. There’s a Meck Dec Day celebration at the Square, Trade and Tryon streets, at noon May 20.

Marker 1: Liberty Hall DAR Monument

South Tryon Street near MLK Boulevard

This granite monument is on the site of Liberty Hall, originally known as Queen’s College. It was erected in 1913 by the Daughters of the American Revolution to honor prominent early Charlotteans who were Trustees of Liberty Hall.

Marker 2: Site of Queen’s College

South Tryon near Third Street

Queen’s College was the first publicly supported college in the South, established in 1771. In 1777 the name was changed to Liberty Hall, and it was used as a hospital for soldiers on both sides during the Revolution. Queens University of Charlotte carries on the name.

Marker 3: British Encampment, 1780

South Tryon near Fourth Street

From Sept. 26 to Oct. 12, 1780, the British Army was encamped in Charlotte. The encampment made a square centered on the courthouse, at Trade and Tryon streets, about 300 yards across. This marker is in the southern part of that encampment.

Marker 4: Battle of Charlotte (N.C. Historical Marker)

South Tryon north of Fourth

On Sept. 26, 1780, the southern British army advanced on Charlotte. They expected little or no resistance, but were met with a volley of musket fire from a small force. The British retreated, charged again and were driven back. British Lord Charles Cornwallis rallied the troops, and they advanced again. The British infantry was moving up to surround the Americans, who fired a third volley and withdrew.

Marker 5: Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence

South Tryon near Trade Street

On May 20, 1775, Mecklenburg County became the first political entity in the American colonies to declare itself free from Great Britain. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was signed by elected representatives in the county courthouse. Nearby are two earlier markers to this historic event.

Marker 6: Thomas Polk Park

West Trade Street at Tryon

The park commemorates Continental Army Col. Thomas Polk: settler, surveyor, state legislator, justice of the peace, founder of Mecklenburg County and of Charlotte. His house stood diagonally across the street from this park.

Marker 7: Cook’s Inn

West Trade, west of Polk Park

While on a tour of the Southern states in 1791, President George Washington spent the night of May 28, 1791, in Charlotte. He was entertained by Col. Thomas Polk at his house and stayed at Cook’s Inn, across the street.

Marker 8: Capt. Jack Homesite

West Trade near South Church Street

Capt. James Jack lived here and ran the tavern owned by his father, Patrick Jack. When the Mecklenburg Declaration and the Mecklenburg Resolves were signed on May 20 and May 31, 1775, Capt. Jack volunteered to ride to Philadelphia and present them to the Continental Congress.

Marker 9: First Presbyterian Church

200 W. Trade St.

In 1815, Charlotte town commissioners set aside this land for a town church, whose first building was finished in 1823. The main sanctuary was dedicated in 1895, while additions from 1993 and 2001 flank either side.

Marker 10: Settlers Cemetery

Fifth and Church streets

Use the bronze map at the entrance to find the graves of: Thomas Polk and his wife, Susanna; Joel Baldwin, 1776 (the oldest grave here); a memorial to Gov. Nathaniel Alexander; and a memorial to Maj. Gen. George Graham.

Marker 11: American Retreat, Battle of Charlotte

North Tryon and West Fifth

The American militia fought a delaying action Sept. 26, 1780, along North Tryon Street against the entire Southern British Army. In the Battle of Charlotte, these two groups defended the courthouse, slowing the British advance.

Marker 12: Queen Charlotte Statue

North College and Fifth

Mecklenburg County was named in honor of Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was married to King George III shortly before the county was formed in 1763. The city of Charlotte was named in her honor when it was established in 1768.

Marker 13: Dr. Ephraim Brevard lived near here

East Trade and North College

Dr. Ephraim Brevard was a prominent patriot. He married Martha, daughter of Thomas and Susanna Polk, and had a hand in writing the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and the Mecklenburg Resolves.

Marker 14: Thomas Polk Homesite

North Tryon and East Trade

Col. Thomas Polk’s home was used by Lord Cornwallis as his headquarters when the British occupied Charlotte in 1780.

Marker 15: Nathanael Greene (N.C. Historical Marker)

North Tryon and East Trade

After the American defeat at the battle of Camden, Gen. George Washington chose Gen. Nathanael Greene as the commander in the South. Greene took command near this spot.

Source: meckdec.org

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