Charlotte’s ‘cock-fight might better have been omitted’

Harper’s Weekly sent a correspondent and an artist to cover the 1875 centennial celebration of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Although it admitted skepticism about the document’s authenticity, Harper’s devoted a full page to the ambitious program of speeches, fireworks and banquets staged by the town of perhaps 5,000.

“The people are exhibiting an enterprise that will in time make Charlotte a centre of considerable trade and manufacture,” the paper astutely predicted.

It voiced less enthusiasm, however, for “one of the side-diversions of the day… a grand cock-fight between North Carolina and South Carolina birds which might better have been omitted from the programme.”