The Mecklenburg Historical Association, Charlotte, NC

A Mighty Oak Has Fallen, Again

Dear Friends of History,

It is with deep sadness that I inform you after a major stroke followed by a serious brain bleed several days ago which left him totally paralyzed and comatose, Jim Williams passed away peacefully last night.

This diligent historian, loyal Roundtable member, and our friend, Jim Williams, studied, wrote, and lived history and made us better informed and more inspired and connected as a result. The same was said of Jim’s late wife, Ann Williams, whose death we mourned in February. Their children, grandchildren, other family, and friends have lost treasured elders but not the enduring power of their love, guidance and example. Let the same be said of us.

Daughter Scotty Reiss and sons Jim and Doug Williams will have a virtual funeral handled by Hankins & Whittington on Saturday, January 2 at 2 pm.   Jim will be cremated as was his wife, Ann, and interment for both of them in Elmwood Cemetery will be scheduled at a later date.

Jim’s Obituary:

Funeral service live stream link:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim’s family in this difficult time. Jim will be sorely missed.

MHA Board

As soon as we are able, we will resume the weekly updates.  If you have computer skills and time to assist, please contact Linda Dalton.



Short History Lessons.

During the current emergency many of the history sites are closed and there are few special events.  However, we have added a short history lesson each week.  To read this click on the Upcoming Events tab or sign up on the History List under the About tab to receive these by email each Friday.


The Mecklenburg Historical Association is dedicated to preserving and publicizing the history of Mecklenburg County through regular meetings, publications, special research groups and work with various historic sites.  Founded in 1954 it is the successor to several similar organizations going back to 1875.  Today the MHA is a vibrant organization which meets four times each year to share a meal and hear an interesting speaker.  Various permanent committees meet at other times to do their work in implementing the goals of the MHA.  Read about these activities on this site and in our newsletters, sign up for The History List to receive up to date news of interest to the History Community, and come join us.

The MHA can assist  you in  your research into the history of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.  For genealogical inquiries, contact the Olde Mecklenburg Genealogical Society at

Mecklenburg County was among the first of the “back country” counties of the Colony of North Carolina.  The general area was first settled in the 1750s, and Mecklenburg County was formed out of Anson County in 1763.  The principle city of Mecklenburg County is Charlotte, founded in 1768.  Today Charlotte is the largest city in the two Carolinas, but it was a small country village up to the time of the Civil War.  The county and city were named in honor of Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the new bride of King George III of England.

Although Charlotte was not a large or important town during the early years, some interesting things happened here.  Mecklenburg was the first government body in America to declare independence from the Crown of England, on May 20, 1775.  This document was the famed Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence which you can read about on this site.  Lord Cornwallis came to Charlotte in the fall of 1780 on his way to destroy the Continental Army, but he only stayed sixteen days.  The local partisans were just too hot for him, and he later referred to Charlotte as “A Hornet’s Nest of Rebellion” giving rise to Charlotte being called the Hornet’s Nest City today.  Mecklenburg County was the center of America’s first gold rush, from 1799 to 1861.  The first US Branch Mint was built in Charlotte in 1837 and minted gold coins until the outbreak of the Civil War.  The railroads came to Charlotte in 1852, giving Charlotte connections to both north and south and making it an early transportation center.  Early in the Civil War the Confederate Naval Yard was relocated here from Norfolk, Virginia because of the railroads that ran through here.  During the First World War there was a large training camp here, Camp Greene.  During World War Two Charlotte hosted an Army Air Force training camp at Morris Field.  Today Charlotte is the second largest financial center in the US.