image of barnstable county courthouse

Barnstable County Independence Day

September 27 – Barnstable County Independence Day was first commemorated on September 27, 2018, when County Commissioners convened for their regular weekly meeting at the Olde Colonial Courthouse at 3046 Main Street in Barnstable Village. On that day, the Commissioners reaffirmed an act of protest taken by ordinary citizens of Barnstable County on September 27, 1774, by signing a reconstructed document destroyed by fire in the early 1800s.

Tales of Cape Cod, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and disseminating Cape Cod’s history, initially proposed recognition of Barnstable County Independence Day.

Gene Guill, President of Tales of Cape Cod, said, “The protest that occurred at the Olde Colonial Courthouse on September 27, 1774, should be commemorated as symbolizing the spirit of democracy that created this great country.”

“Remembering Barnstable County Independence Day is an opportunity to honor the history of our region,” said Barnstable County Chairman Ronald Bergstrom. “It’s also another great reason to be proud of this special place.”


Learn more about this event and the Old Colonial Courthouse in this video by Tales of Cape Cod.

[su_youtube url=”” width=”400″ height=”400″ title=”Watch the Barnstable County Dredge Program in Action”]

Tales of Cape Cod estimates as many as 1,500 ordinary citizens from across Cape Cod gathered in front of Barnstable’s Olde Colonial Courthouse on September 27, 1774 – nearly two years earlier than when America declared independence from Great Britain – to protest the Intolerable Acts decreed by the British to punish Colonists for the Boston Tea Party. Until then, the Province of Massachusetts enjoyed nearly complete local autonomy under its 1691 royal charter. The Intolerable Acts changed this by taking away the colonists’ rights to elect their government officials, choose jurors locally, and hold town meetings.

Counties across Massachusetts moved to shut down their courthouses before the new Crown-controlled courts could sit for the fall session in 1774. In Barnstable County, protesters demanded that the County desist from all government business until “the mind of the continental, or a provincial, Congress shall be obtained” and ended with County officials signing a document that conceded to the cancellation of the court’s fall session.

By the end of that week in September, Cape Cod was in every respect rid of British control, and by the end of that year, British control had ended in all of Massachusetts except Boston. In response, the next April, British dispatched troops to Concord to secure munitions stored there — and with the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the Revolutionary War began.