Stars and Stripes (1908)

When Abram English Brown wrote the story of the Bedford flag, which was published by the Bedford Historical Society, April 19, 1894, his statement that this flag had been the standard of the Three County Troop was founded on a suggestion made by Mr. William S. Appleton of the Massachusetts Historical Society, before that organization on January 14, 1886. [*1][*2] Mr. Appleton “thought he recognized in the photograph of the Bedford flag, the flag described in the record from the British Museum,” which is given in an account of the Three County Troop standard, printed on pages 138 and 139 of the “New England Historical and Genealogical Register” of 1871. [*3]

Mr. Appleton, thinking that the Bedford flag was the Three County Troop standard, applied what was known of the origin of the standard to the Bedford flag, and Mr. Brown quotes this application in his history of the Bedford flag; but some time ago he became convinced of the error.

Major Lemuel A. Abbott, U.S.A., in his “Descendants of George Abbott,” published in 1906, discusses these flags, and shows conclusively that the Bedford flag could not have been the standard of the Three County Troop. [*4]

Some time ago I sent inquiries about these flags to Mr. Abram English Brown and Mr. Charles W. Jenks of Bedford, and following are extracts from letters written by Mr. Jenks in January, 1908:

“I place the beginning of my doubt that the Bedford flag and the Three County Troop flag were the same, about July, 1906, and my conviction that they were not the same, about the last of October, 1907. [*5]

George R. Blinn, Esq., one of our library trustees, made a personal examination, in the summer of 1907, of the record in the British Museum, referred to, which proved that while there is some resemblance between the two flags, the Bedford flag is not the Three County Troop flag there described.

Of course, in the light of what we know now, all extracts from Mr. Brown connecting it with the Bedford flag are incorrect.

[ p 415 ]

Of the origin and former use of the Bedford flag, we as yet are positive of nothing.”

Beginning with the 19th of April, 1775, the story of the Bedford flag, as quoted in this book from Mr. Brown’s history, seems to be authenticated, as it was handed down by descendants of Nathaniel Page, Jr., who, it is asserted, carried the flag that day to Concord, and related the incident to his daughter, Mrs. Ruhamah (Page) Lane, who was thirty-one years old when her father died, and his grandson, Captain Cyrus Page, who was eighteen years old when his grandfather died in 1819. [*6][^1] It was this grandson who presented the flag to the town of Bedford, October 19, 1885.

These persons both asserted, to persons now living, that they received the statement from the flag-bearer himself, and they both told practically the same story.


SOURCE TEXT

  • Peleg D. Harrison’s The stars and stripes and other American flags (3rd edition) (1908) pp 414-415 [ no scan ]

PLACEHOLDER


EMENDATIONS

  1. Ruhamah (Page) Lane, ∨ Ruhamah-Page-Lane,

ANNOTATIONS

  1. cf. Brown’s Flag of the Minute Men (1894)
  2. cf. Appleton’s “The Bedford Flag” (January 1886)
    in Proceedings of the MHS: Volume II (SS) pp 199-200
  3. cf. Whitmore’s “The standard of the Three County Troop”
    in The New England HG register: Volume XXV (1871) pp 138-140
  4. cf. Abbott’s Descendants of George Abbott: Volume I (1906) pp 187-195
  5. cf. “Rockingham attacks the Flag” (2000) [ no scan ]
    in McDonald’s The Bedford Flag unfurled pp 77-82
  6. cf. “Pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary flags” (in this volume) pp 30-35 [ no scan ]
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