Last modified: 2016-01-06 by rick wyatt
Keywords: massachusetts |
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image by Jorge Candeias, 14 June 2007
In 1636 a famous sermon was preached in Salem, Massachusetts by Roger Williams (who was later banished and became the founder of Rhode Island) which stated the cross was a symbol of popery and was therefore the symbol of the antichrist. The Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Endicott, fearful for his soul, subsequently ordered the cross removed from the flags used in Massachusetts. He was stopped, however, by the Great and General Court (the local legislature) who examined the circumstances of the incident and decided Endicott had "exceeded the lymits of his calling" and stripped him of office and forbade him from holding any public office for one full year. Thereupon the Court stated the standard bearers of the colony could adopt any flag they should choose and, without exception, they removed the cross from their flags, leaving the defacto Massachusetts flag red with a white canton. There are a number of references to this flag over the next 50 years.
Dave Martucci, 27 April 1998
This flag is the subject of Nathaniel Hawthorne's story 'Endicott and the Red Cross', one of his 'Twice Told Tales' (published 1837, second expanded edition 1842).
On-line at: www.eldritchpress.org/nh/erc.html
Jan Mertens, 14 June 2007
located by Bill Garrison, 22 June 2008
[click on image for larger version] Source: eBay sale
Described on eBay as:
"Civil War Era Headquarters Flag of Battery "A" 1st Massachusetts Light Artillery. Amongst the rarest of all Civil War flags are the silk painted company level standards. The 1st Mass Light had a superb record, being engaged in all the major combat actions of the Army of the Potomac, beginning with the Peninsula Campaign, till their muster out on October 19, 1864, including, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Originally equipped with four 10 lb. Parrots and two 12 lb. howitzers, the battery subsequently was issued six 12 lb. Napoleons after the Peninsula Campaign. The flag is of all silk construction, 30" on the hoist and 38" on the fly. Both sides beautifully hand painted with the Massachusetts state seal, with crossed cannons, all inside a wreath of acanthus leaves and berries, surrounded by five pointed stars. The riband on the front bears the legend "Battery A 1st Batt. Light Artillery M. V. M." and the one on the reverse the state motto. The narrow foldovers on the edges are all neatly hand stitched. Overall quite sound, a few cracks and a few areas of loss on the painted portion as can be seen in the photographs. Generally, however, far superior to the condition normally encountered on these rare flags. Doubtless a candidate for professional mounting and restoration, the paint is bright and beautifully executed and completely untouched. Assuming the circle of stars (37) is of specific, rather than generic, significance, it is probable that this flag was produced at the very end of the war, doubtless to replace the tattered standard carried by the unit through four years of combat. Still, an extremely rare and important Civil War associated flag."
Bill Garrison, 22 June 2008