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In a message dated 4/17/2007 4:17:23 PM Pacific Daylight Time, W. J. Trinkle writes:

Excerpt from Teiser, Ruth, ed. This Sudden Empire CALIFORNIA, The Story of The Society of California Pioneers, 1850 to 1950 (San Francisco: The Society of California Pioneers 1950), pp. 31-32.

       Admission Day of 1855 was notable for the first public appearance in San Francisco of Sonoma’s famed Bear Flag.  Sam Brannan had started negotiating for it early in the summer, but not until the day before the celebration did it arrive.  With it came another flag, differing in various details; the most important was that the bear was rampant instead of passant.  It was known as “the second Bear Flag” or “the Los Angeles Bear Flag.”  In the middle 1880s, the Society undertook an investigation of the two banners to ascertain beyond doubt which was the original.  The authenticity of the flag with the passant bear was established, but neither earlier theories, those resulting from the investigation, nor later ones have finally proved the origin of the second flag.

        In his letter accompanying the flags, written in San Francisco on September 8, the same day Brannan turned them over to the Society, John B. Weller, who that spring had completed a term in Congress wrote:

        “Previous to leaving Washington City in March last I obtained from the Navy Department two flags which were used in this state at an early day by the Americans.  One is the “grizzly bear flag” which was hoisted by our countrymen at Sonoma in July 1846....  These flags although they certainly do not exhibit much artistic skill they are so connected with the early history of American affairs in California that they must be of interest to your association.  They will at least serve to keep in remembrance the names of the brave and fearless pioneers who made the first movement towards expelling Mexican power from this territory.”

       Proudly the next day the Society carried the flags through the streets of San Francisco.  To George Yount of Napa was given the honor of carrying “the original Bear Flag,” and to J. C. L. Wadsworth “the second Bear Flag.”  Following them in the procession came Judge J. S. Jenkins bearing “the Fremont Flag,” presented earlier to the Society by John Charles Fremont and until September of 1855 its proudest possession.

 


 
April 26 , 2007
 

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