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[excerpted from MORE LIGHT ON THE ORIGINAL BEAR FLAG OF CALIFORNIA by A. H. GREENLY, from a NAVA reprint (1988) which was then reprinted with permission from Yale University Library Gazette, Vol. XXVII, No. 4 (April 1953)]

            In 1877, John S. Hittell, the noted Californian historian, was requested by the Society of California Pioneers to prepare an account of the making of the Bear Flags preserved by the Society.  A copy signed by Hittell, and dated from San Francisco, January 7, 1878, is in the archives of the Society in San Francisco, and reads in part:

Mrs. John Sears supplied the muslin, and Wm. Todd was the artist.  He started by painting a single star, in imitation of the Lone Star of Texas, when H. L. Ford suggested a Grizzly Bear should be used as appropriate to the country.  The idea was approved by all, and the bear was painted, standing nearly upright (his position when about to close with a formidable foe), facing the star, and beneath him the words, “California Republic.”  The paint was obtained from a wheelwright’s shop, and the execution did not excel in artistic merit.  The party had entered Sonoma early on the morning of Friday, June 12th, and the flag was hoisted the same evening.  On the 15th Commander Ide issued a proclamation on behalf of the Republic of California.
January 31, 2007

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