Author Topic: Flag of the Month, October 2021 - The Taunton Flag  (Read 64 times)

Offline Mrs. Smith

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Flag of the Month, October 2021 - The Taunton Flag
« on: October 03, 2021, 07:46:01 PM »
Welcome, everyone, to this month's edition of Flag of the Month. For October we're showcasing a lesser-known Revolutionary War ensign;

The Taunton Flag!

The Taunton Flag, also known as the Liberty and Union Flag, is the city flag of Taunton, Massachusetts. It consists of the Red Ensign with has the flag of Great Britain in canton, emblazoned with the words "Liberty and Union" across the lower portion.

The flag was first adopted on 21 October 1774 after the Sons of Liberty had forced out colonial Loyalists from Taunton. Reverend Caleb Barnum proposed a plan for a symbol of opposition to the Crown, and support for American independence. In commemoration, the Patriots erected a liberty pole, 112 feet high, outside of the Taunton Courthouse and the house of Tory Loyalist lawyer Daniel Leonard. On it, they raised the Red Ensign with the words "Liberty and Union" sewn onto it.

The Taunton flag was one of the first flags used within the Thirteen Colonies to express dissension against the Crown. It also initially symbolized underlying loyalty to the Crown as the Union Flag was viewed as the King's Colors. The popularity of the flag grew due to the Boston Evening-Post publishing it in a story. The wife of William McKinstry, the only Loyalist permitted to remain, expressed her disdain for the Taunton flag and in response female Patriots dragged her from her house and forced her to march in front of the liberty pole where it was flying.

On Friday, October 21, 1774, patriotic Tauntonians erected an enormous liberty pole. On Monday, October 24, the Boston Evening Post reported the story:

We have just received the following intelligence from Taunton… A liberty pole 112 feet long was raised. Attached to it was a Union flag with the words Liberty and Union sewed on. The following lines were fixed to the pole: CRESCIT AMOR PATRIAE QUE CUPIDO (The love of country and the desire for freedom)

Be it known to the present,
And to all future generations,
That the Sons of Liberty in Taunton
Fired with a zeal for the preservation of
Their rights as men, and as
American Englishmen,
And prompted by a just resentment of
The wrongs and injuries offered to the
English colonies in general, and to
This Province in particular,
Through the unjust claims of
A British Parliament and the
Machiavellian policy of a British ministry,
Have erected this monument or Liberty standard,
As a testimony of their fixed resolution
To preserve sacred and inviolate
Their birthrights and charter rights,
And to resist even unto blood
All attempts for their subversion or abridgement.
Born to be free, we spurn the knaves who dare
For us the chains of slavery to prepare;
Steadfast in freedom’s cause, we’ll live and die,
Unawed by statement; foes to tyranny,
But if oppression brings us to our graves,
And marks us dead, she ne’er shall mark us slaves.

The current flag was adopted as the city flag of Taunton by a resolution of the Taunton City Council on October 19, 1974. It is not known exactly what the original flag looked like; the current design is based on an incomplete contemporary newspaper description. The flag is flown in Taunton Green Historic District alongside the flag of the United States. It also flies in front of Taunton City Hall and other city buildings, as well as many private homes. It was also symbolically raised outside the Old Colony History Museum in Taunton on the city's 350th anniversary. Each autumn, Taunton holds a Liberty and Union Festival to commemorate the events of October 1774, and to celebrate the Taunton Flag.

In addition to being the official flag of Taunton, Massachusetts, the Taunton flag is also the official flag of Weymouth, New Jersey. Their reasoning for using the flag is that "its historical period is correct, it keeps alive an ancestor to our Stars and Stripes, and because it is always in production and therefore, cheap". Like in Taunton, it can be seen flying outside Weymouth's town hall.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2021, 11:45:53 PM by Mrs. Smith »
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