Hezekiah James Balch - Signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration

Hezekiah James Balch (1746-1776) son of James and Anne (Goodwyn) Balch was born in Deer Creek, Hartford County, Maryland. Hezekiah is a descendant of the John Balch who settled in Maryland in 1658. Little is known about Hezekiah's early years but in 1766 he graduated from Princeton College(later to be Princeton University). While at Princeton Hezekiah was one of the founders of the Cliosophic Society a literary and debating club.

After leaving Princeton Hezekiah would go on to study to become a minister in the Presbyterian church. In 1767 the Presbytery of Donegal licensed him to preach the gospel and two years later, in 1769, he took charge of two congregations (Rocky River & Poplar Tent) in North Carolina.

Hezekiah may have also participated in a highly debated part of history. Hezekiah is said to be among the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. This declaration is said to have been issued on May 20, 1775. There is some debate as to whether this declaration is in fact a legitimate part of history. It is said that the residents of Mecklenburg County (North Carolina), upon hearing news of the Battle of Lexington(April 19, 1775) immediately formed a committee to consider what sort of response they should have. On May 20, 1775, some historical accounts claim, they declared independence from Great Britain. If these events really took place then this would make the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence more than a year older than the national declaration that occurred on July 4, 1776.

The reason the debate continues, over the validity of the Mecklenburg declaration, is that no original document exists from May of 1775. In addition to no original document being in existence there are no historical accounts of the declaration appearing in 1775. The first mention and first text of the declaration, appears in 1819 and is in fact a reproduction. Undermining the Mecklenburg Declaration further is the claim that this reproduction was recreated from someone's memory of the original document(the original being destroyed by fire). To this day the state of North Carolina apparently regards the Mecklenburg Declaration as legitimate. The date of the documents signing is on the state flag and residents of North Carolina sometimes celebrate "Meck Dec Day" on May 20.

Genealogy of Hezekiah:

Father: James Balch
Mother: Ann Goodwin (Goodwyn)

Wife: Unknown
Married: Unknown


1. Unknown

Primary Sources/Links:

Genealogy of the Balch Families in America - By: Galusha Balch[1]

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