County Officials Celebrate Barnstable County Independence Day

BARNSTABLE – In a tribute to colonial Barnstable, town officials honored an act of protest against the British in 1774 as tensions began to reach a boiling point between colonists and the crown.

Barnstable County Commissioners began their regularly scheduled meeting inside the Olde Courthouse on Thursday afternoon, honoring the original house of county business.

County Commissioner Leo Cakounes officially called the meeting to order in the fashion it was called in 1774.

“This is the original County Courthouse and in this building there was a bell that hung in this building. The bell was officially rung at the beginning of every session of the court, and it was basically used to call the session to order,” Cakounes explained to those attending.

“The bell is actually located today in the Town of Sandwich and displayed at the First Unitarian Church in Sandwich.”

Those who occupied the Olde Courthouse for the same meetings in the 18th century would traditionally signify the start of the meeting by ringing the bell, which Cakounes also says his its own historical significance. County officials decided against moving the bell for the celebration due to its size and bulk.

On September 27, 1774 roughly 1,500 ordinary citizens gathered at the Olde Colonial Courthouse to protest the Intolerable Acts imposed on the colonies by the British following the Boston Tea Party. The protest took place nearly two years before America officially declared Independence from Great Britain.

At exactly 4:00 p.m., Cakounes called the meeting to order while Sandwich Representative to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates Jim Killion rang the bell symbolically as it was done on September 27, 1774.  

“Right now the bell is being rung in the Town of Sandwich as it was done back in 1774, and I am going to call the meeting officially to order. We are the Regional County Government. We are the Regional Board of County Commissioners. Today’s date is September 27, 2018. It is exactly 4:00 in the afternoon. We are located at the Olde County Courthouse at 3046 Main Street in the Town of Barnstable Mass. Once again, I officially call the meeting to order,” stated Cakounes.

Following about 15 minutes of typical county business, the meeting concluded with words from local historians and direct descendants of the 1774 signers before county officials and those in attendance signed a reconstructed document bearing the original signatories.  

By TIM DUNN, News center 

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