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Edward E. Dunbar’s 1867  The Romance of the Age; or, the Discovery of Gold in California (1867, D. Appleton and Company, New York) [excerpts related to the Bear Flag].

A few days after, on Sunday, June 14th, 1846, a party of fourteen Americans, under no apparent command, appeared in Sonoma, captured the place, raised the Bear flag, proclaimed the independence of California, and carried off to Fremont’s quarters as prisoners four prominent citizens, namely, the two Vallejos, J. P. Leese, and Colonel Prudhon.  On the consummation of these achievements, one Merritt was elected captain.

            This was a rough party of revolutionists, and the manner in which they improvised the famous Bear flag, shows upon what slender means nations and kingdoms are sometimes started.  From an estimable old lady they obtained a fragmentary portion of her white skirt, on which they painted what was intended to represent a grizzly bear, but not being artistic in their work, it was difficult to determine what kind of an animal they had selected as the emblem of the new nationality; so the Mexicans, with their usual happy faculty on such occasions, called it the “Bandera Colchis,” or Hog Flag.”  This flag now ornaments the rooms of the Pioneer Society in San Francisco.



April 4, 2007        


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