Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Colonial and Revolutionary Flags

Grand Union Flag used by George Washington at his Cambridge Headquarters in 1776 

Here is an interesting summary of the variety of flags in the colonies at the start of the American Revolution, as reprinted in Irish American Almanac in 1876.  The original source, according to the Almanac, was Appleton's American Cyclopaedia. 

"In the beginning of the American Revolution a variety of flags were displayed in the revolted colonies. The Union flags,  mentioned so frequently in the newspapers of 1774, were the ordinary English red ensigns, bearing the Union Jack. These generally bore some patriotic motto, such as  "Liberty," " Liberty and Property," " Liberty and Union," etc. It is uncertain what flag, if any, was used by the Americans at Bunker Hill. That displayed by Putnam on Prospect Hill, on July 18th following, was red, with Qui transtulit sustinet (He who transplanted sustains) on one side, and on the other, " An Appeal to Heaven."

"The first armed vessels commissioned by Washington sailed under the pine-tree flag, a white flag bearing a green pine-tree. The first republican flag unfurled in the Southern States, blue with a white crescent in the upper corner next to the staff, was designed by Colonel William Moultrie of Charleston, at the request of the Council of Safety, and was hoisted on the fortifications of that city in September, 1775. The flag displayed on the east bastion of Fort Sullivan, afterward called Moultrie, on June 28, 1776, was the same, with the word " Liberty " on it.

"On the west bastion waved the flag called the "Great Union," first raised by Washington at Cambridge, January 2,1776.  This consisted of the thirteen alternate red and white stripes of the present flag of the United States, with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew emblazoned on the blue canton in place of the stars.

"This flag was carried also by the fleet under command of Commodore Esek Hopkins, when it sailed from the Delaware capes, February 17, 1776. Hopkins had displayed previously a yellow ensign, bearing the device of a rattle snake in the attitude of striking, with the motto "Don't Tread on Me."

"The official origin of the "grand union" flag is involved in obscurity. At the time of its adoption at Cambridge, the colonies still acknowledged the legal rights of the mother-country, and therefore retained the blended crosses of St. George and St. Andrew, changing only the field of the old ensign for the thirteen stripes, emblematic of their union. After the Declaration of Independence, the emblems of British union became inappropriate, but they were retained in the flag until the following year.

"Congress resolved, on June 14, 1777 "that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white ; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.""

Astronaut Christa Corrigan McAuliffe: Irish Women of Massachusetts

Christa Corrigan McAuliffe
Born in Boston, Sharon Christa Corrigan was the eldest of five children of Grace and Edward Corrigan.  She grew up in Framingham, married her high school sweetheart Steve McAuliffe, and began her career teaching. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan announced the first citizen in space would be a teacher, and McAuliffe was selected out of 11,000 applicants and began rigorous training. On 1/28/1986 the Challenger launched but exploded after take-off, killing everyone on board.  Today the McAuliffe Center at Framingham State carries on the spirit of Christa by teaching students to dream big.

Christa Corrigan McAuliffe is part of BITA's 2019 Irish Women of Massachusetts series in celebration of Irish Heritage Month and Women's History Month. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy: Irish Women of Massachusetts

Rose Fitzgerald was born in Boston’s North End, the daughter of famous politician John ‘Honey Fitz’ Fitzgerald and Mary Josephine Hannon. She was raised in Dorchester and attended college in New York and The Netherlands. Considered the matriarch of America’s best-known political families, she and her husband Joseph P. Kennedy raised nine children in Brookline and Hyannis, including President John F. Kennedy, Senator and Attorney General Bobby Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy. Her daughters included Jean Kennedy Smith, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics.        

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy is part of BITA's 2019 Irish Women of Massachusetts series in celebration of Irish Heritage Month and Women's History Month. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Suffragist Margaret Foley: Irish Women of Massachusetts

Margaret Foley
Born in Dorchester to a working-class family, Margaret grew up in Roxbury and attended Girls High School.  She worked in a hat factory to pay for singing lessons and eventually began organizing women workers.  She had a ‘daring personality and a voice like a trumpet,’ and wasn’t afraid to confront male politicians in public settings, relishing her nickname, the Grand Heckler.  When the 19th Amendment passed in 1920, granting women voting rights, Foley went on the lecture circuit and later worked as Deputy Commissioner of the Child Welfare Division in Boston. 

Margaret Foley is part of BITA's 2019 Irish Women of Massachusetts series in celebration of Irish Heritage Month and Women's History Month.