Miss Simons, July 4, 1798, Norfolk, Virginia
Zilpah Wadsworth, July 4, 1799, Portland, Maine
Eunice Quinby, July 4, 1805, Kennebunk, Maine
Miss Archer, July 4, 1807, Salem, Massachusetts
Mrs. Deborah Turner, 1807, Turner, Maine
Francis Warren Fraser, July 4, 1814, New York City
Nancy Prescott, July 4, 1815, New Sharon, Maine
Jane Wade, July 5, 1819, Belleville, New Jersey
Jane E. Holmes, July 4, 1821, New York City
Eletia Hubball, July 4, 1821, Alexandria, Virginia
Miss Sheppard, July 4, 1821, Baltimore
Sylvia Borden, July 4, 1822, Fall River, Massachusetts
Susan Huse, July 4, 1825, Methuen, Massachusetts
Betsey Morse, July 4, 1825, Dover, New Hampshire
Mary Felt, July 4, 1826, New Ipswich, New Hampshire
Caroline Whitney, July 4, 1826, Quincy, Massachusetts
Jane Hobbs, July 4, 1827, Pelham, New Hampshire
Anstiss W. Bradford, July 4, 1830, New Boston, New Hampshire
Cecilia F. Poor, July 4, 1832, Methuen, Massachusetts
Mary Lucretia Jolliff, July 4, 1833, Norfolk, Virginia
Mrs. Elijah Boyden, July 4, 1839, Marlborough, New Hampshire
Miss P. Morse, July 4, 1843, Nashua, New Hampshire
Catharine Sinclair, July 4, 1853, California
Although women often received training in elocution in their formative years, speaking in a public forum was generally left to men. Occasionally, women found opportunities to speak. Presentations of flags and banners to soldiers by females gave them a chance to express their ideas regarding important issues. When women assembled on the Fourth, they celebrated the day with revelry. For example, in New York on July 4, 1800, a group of ladies met "to celebrate, in [their] own way, the glorious and ever memorable day" and drank to their "fathers, husbands, and brothers" (American Citizen and General Advertiser, July 10, 1800). On July 4, 1819, at Mossy Spring, near Frankfort, Kentucky, "a large party of ladies met" and "seated themselves on the grass." An oration was presented by Mrs. Mead, who commented "our sex are constrained to forbear from a participation in political life . . . . We cannot be indifferent to whatever may be connected with the prosperity of our country." (Commentator [Frankfort, Ky.], 30 July 1819, 1-2).
In one rare instance, a woman (unnamed) was actually designated "orator of the day." The occasion was July 4, 1822, "at Marlborough, in Windham, in the state of Vermont." In addition to the oration, the audience also heard the Declaration of Independence read by "a number of young ladies, 'representing the confederated States of the Union'" (National Intelligencer, 23 July 1822, 3). Another newspaper reported that "we should think this almost equivalent to a declaration on the part of these ladies, that they were determined to live hereafter independent of mankind, or, in other words, to die old maids" (Baltimore Morning Chronicle as published in Newport Mercury, 3 August 1822, 3).
Presenting flags and banners to their local militia was a popular form of expression of patriotism by women in America and provided them the opportunity to express their sentiments regarding the importance of liberty and freedom. In an article titled “Spirit of the Ladies!” published by the editor of the Gazette in Portland, Maine, on 16 July 1798, 1, the role of women as an inspiration to the men serving their country was aptly expressed:
The American Fair, add much to the spirit of the times. In different parts of the Union they have presented the American standard to the Volunteer corps. This must have a charming influence to animate the breasts of our young soldiers. The idea of acting under the standard of our country, thus presented, with a reliance on our bravery, will excite the utmost vigor of our nerves, and inspire us with an honorable pride, that will never suffer them to be torn from our hands. Yes, ye fair! these sacred pledges of your patriotism must be maintained; and the sons of Columbia will no longer merit your favors, than they are ready and able to defend and protect you, and their country.
Standard and address presented by Sally Duane to Macpherson’s Blues on July 4, 1798, in Philadelphia.
To General Macpherson: Impelled by far more laudable considerations than a desire to distinguish myself, permit me, through you, to present to the corps, under your command, a standard, which I hope they will deem worthy their acceptance, from the motives inducing the tender, however imperfect may be the execution of the work. Although ardently attached to the state in which I was born, from habits of early affection, yet patriotism extends my best wishes to all the meritorious citizens of our nation. Thos composing your corps are among the first who, by their exemplary virtue, have entitled themselves to the gratitude of every heart warmed with the love of our common country; and from whom should they receive more sincere testimonies of our approbation than from those of our sex? On the bravery of yours, we depend for protection. We can only oppose with our prayers, or indignantly, though fruitlessly, bewail with our tears, national insults or misfortunes. By your spirit and prowess, under the protection of Heaven, you can avert or avenge them. The art in which I am receiving instruction for amusement, cannot be employed to better purpose than in endeavours to decorate the ensigns devoted to merit and to patriotism. Happy shall we all be, if the art you are now learning be acquired merely as a necessary part of the education of free citizens, determined to defend their liberties and their laws. I fervently pray the Benign Disposer of the fate of nations to avert the hard necessity of its being brought into practice. Should he permit the angel of destruction to fill up the measure of their iniquities by guiding to our peaceful shores the enemies of our happiness, and of the peace and tranquility of the world, I shall tremblingly deprecate the occasion; but I confidently anticipate a consolation under so cruel a calamity, in the glory you and the rest of my fellow citizens will achieve, when before the foes of our beloved country, this banner shall be unfurled. General Macpherson, commanding Macpherson Blues. Belmont, July 3d, 1798.
“The General’s Answer.”
Madam, The standard presented by you on the 4th of July to the corps I have the honor to command, was received by them with the strongest marks of enthusiastic sensibility. The honor you do us by considering us as among the meritorious citizens of the Union, and the reliance you are pleased to place on our firmness, demand our most grateful acknowledgements –for what can be sweeter to the heart of a soldier than the approbation of the amiable and enlightened of your sex!—and we trust that (under the protection of the God of nations) whenever the Banner, wrought by your fair hands, shall be unfurled before the enemies of the happiness here and hereafter—and believe me to be with the purist sentiments of respect and esteem, your most obedient, and humble servant, W[illiam] Macpherson. July 5th, 1798. Miss Duane.
“Offering to Patriotism,” Claypoole’s Daily American Advertiser, 10 July 1798, 2; New York Gazette,12 July 1798, 3; Spectator, 14 July 1798, 4; Salem Gazette, 17 July 1798, 3; Newburyport Herald, 24 July 1798, 208; Connecticut Gazette, 8 August 1798, 1.
"The military arrangements being formed by Major Marsh, as officer of the day. The following parade took place; a detachment was directed from Captain Reynold's Grenadiers, under the command of Lieutenant Ducan, to receive the standard of the 54th Regiment, from the hands of Miss Simons, who on presenting it, delivered the following address:"
Sir, having the honor of delivering to your hands this standard to-day, I am encouraged to hope and believe, that it will always be supported and protected in the sacred cause of freedom, by the patriotism and gallantry of the officer to whose charge it is assigned; and although the needle work will, in time, lose its brilliancy and fade, I cannot harbour the most distant thought, that this banner of 54th regiment of the Norfolk borough militia, will ever be tarnished in its military glory, or unfurl'd in any cause save that of the constituted liberties of the free Citizens of the United States of America.
"Fourth of July," The Companion; and Commercial Gazette [Newport, RI], 11 August 1798, 3.
Standard presented by the women of Portland to the Portland Federal Volunteers, Capt. Joseph C. Boyd, commander, "who made their first public appearance in a very rich uniform."
The following is the address of Zilpah Wadsworth, who was the mother of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and who presented the standard:
In the name of the young ladies of Portland, I have the honor to present this standard, to the first company of Federal Volunteers. Receive it as a testimony of the approbation with which we have beheld the patriotic spirit which has determined you to "Defend the laws, of your country." We cheerfully confide to your care this emblem of our independence. Let it ever recal[l] to your minds the assurance that our best wishes are for your success. Long may you unfurl it; long may this towering eagle fly triumphant!.
To which Ensign Richard C. Wiggins made the following answer.
Daughters of Columbia, in behalf of the first Company of Federal Volunteers, permit me to assure you, that we are happy in meriting this valuable present which I have the honour of receiving from your fair hands. Nothing could inspire us with more ambition to "defend the laws" of our country, than this act of patriotic heroism; therefore, we shall ever consider it as the greatest emblem of our independence, and of female patriotism--the rememberance of which will not suffer us to part with it, unless with our lives, nor suffer a single plume to be plucked from the wings of the eagle, by any foreign or domestic power, unless with the blood of our hearts--that its independent flight may declare to proud and haughty Europe, [?], while we are blessed with such politicians, as a Adams in the cabinet, and such warriors as a Washington to lead in the field.
"Late Omissions," Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser,8 July 1799, 4. See Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, "'From the Fair to the Brave': Spheres of Womanhood in Federal Maine," in Agreeable Situations: Society, Commerce, and Art in Southern Maine, 1780-1830. Laura Fecych Sprague, ed. (Kennebunk, ME: Brick Store Museum, 1987), 222-225.
Standand presented to the Stoudwater Light-Infantry Company, Kennebunk, Maine, July 4, 1805. After a parade by the Stoudwater Light-Infantry Company, they were joined by the Falmouth Cavalry, Capt. William Brackett, and all marched to Capt. John Quinby’s “where were assembled the ladies of the village and its vicinity, who displayed their patriotism by presenting the Light-Infantry with an elegant standard, accompanied by the following address by Miss Eunice Quinby:”
The martial ardor which actuates the Stroudwater Light Infantry, affords a pleasing satisfaction, while the celerity, with which, from a state of ignorance, it has obtained an extensive knowledge of military discipline, is matter of surprise to every beholder. You have begun the career of glory; and we trust that that honor which is the Soldiers sole reward, will amply compensate you, in whose breasts are implanted the love of liberty, of virtue and of your country, for all the toil, anxiety, and danger, to which you are liable. Ours is the land of Liberty, and of happiness; we peculiarly enjoy the blessings of peace and prosperity; but these advantages are to be preserved only by the smiles of an over ruling Providence, and the virtue and watchfulness of our citizens. On those of the military capacity we depend for protection from foreign invasion and domestic usurpation; to effect which, unremitted vigilance, patience of discipline and scorn of danger, are absolutely necessary. Being sensible that you are deeply impressed with the truth of this observation, I have the honor, in the name of the Ladies of Falmouth, to offer this standard to your protection; let it ever by the signal of Liberty; May that which is now intrusted to your heroism and magnanimity, never be deserted; may the motto which is inscribed thereon, be indelibly imprinted on all your hearts; and may that spark of ambition, which at first warmed your breasts, and which is now kindled into a flame, never, never, by extinguished.
The standard was received by Mr. Enoch Richards, who made the following reply:
With the warmest emotions of gratitude do we receive from the firtuous fair of this town, an emblem of their devotion to the cause of Libert and Independence; May this standard never be unfurled but in defence of its lovely patroness, Woman, whose external grace and infernal virtues, inspire the noblest attachment to Freedom. Without her smiles, Victory would lose its exultation—without her presence domestic retirement would have no power to charm. But excited by her zeal, fighting her cause, under her banner; what heart but must beat with the most ardent hatred of her foes? We acknowledge this present on this day, and at this time, far beyond our power to reward, or ability to express. Accept our sincere thanks, our open, unequivocal declaration, that when the good of our country shall require if, we will on the erection of this signal assemble ourselves, and there patriotically sacrifice our lives to the cause of our country and its patriotic Fair.
“Party at Maj. Webster’s,” Kennebunk Gazette, 17 July 1805, 2.
On July 4, 1807, in Salem, Massachusetts, "The Mechanic Light Infantry, a new Company commanded by Capt. Perley Putnam, made their first appearance in uniform on this day, and received an elegant Standard in the morning from Col. Archer, which was delivered into the hands of Ensign Roberts by the Colonel's daughter, of eleven years of age, with the following pertinent Address: To the Mechanic Light Infantry"
Gentlemen, I am directed by my father, who has the honour of commanding the Salem regiment, to request the Mechanic Light Infantry Company to accept this Standard, with his most sincere wishes, for their prosperity and honour. It will be easily conceive[d], with what pleasure I obey the command, when the respectable and martial appearance of the corps is a satisfactory pledge that it will not dishonour the gift. My parent views with pleasure the ardour and emulation which inspire the citizen soldiers who compose this regiment, and feels the greatest confidence they will never forfeit that proud title by the violation of the laws of honour, of humanity, of their country, and their God. The elegant and valuable corps which is now united to this regiment, affords a lively satisfaction and well grounded hope, that the spirit, harmony, discipline, and love of order, by which it has hitherto distinquished itself, will still continue to assign it a high rank in the militia of this Commonwealth. The Mechanic Light Infantry may rest assured, that the alacrity, with which they have organized and equipped themselves, and the perseverance by which they have attained to the honourable state of proficiency which we now view, has not passed unnoticed by the commander of the regiment, nor by their fellow citizens in general. It is a maxim of our father Washington (heaven be praised that his memory, is still dear to us!) that to preserve peace, we must be prepared for war. Peace is our aim, and preparation is our security. This glorious anniversary can testify, that a nation of freemen, possessing the hearts, can never want the means, of defending their country. The American Eagle shall never wing his way to spoil the peace of other nations; but, hovering over our heads, he will animate us to victory, in defence of our wives, our children, and our firesides. Gentlemen of the Mechanic Light Infantry Company! I need not remind you of the protection which my sex, and tender years like mine, claim from the soldier. Accept this Standard, with our entire confidence in your worthyness, your patriotism, your valour and conduct; and in the name of Washington, and our common country, accept our warmest wishes for your happiness and glory.
"To which the Ensign made the following reply:"
Amiable Miss, I receive this Standard, in behalf of the Mechanic Light Infantry Company, and request you to inform your Father, that we entertain an animating sense of the honor done us, by the commander of the Salem regiment, in presenting us with this elegant Standard, and assure him that it shall never be disgraced while life-blood warms our hearts--that we are extremely happy that our endeavours to uniform and equip ourselves has met with his approbation--and that we trust that our orderly and soldierlike conduct in future, under his command, will in some measure compensate for the honourable notice he has taken of us on our first appearance. We duly appreciate the maxim of our departed Washington--that in peace he would have us prepared for war. The devastations of war we wish to shun; but when it becomes necessary for us to take up arms, we will stand forth in defence of our liberties. On this auspicious anniversary of our national independence, we sincerely join with the millions of our fellow citizens, and pledge our lives, fortunes, and sacred honour, for the support of the laws, government and independence of our country. And to you, Miss, as the representative of the fair sex, we promise our protection and esteem.
Salem Register, 9 July 1807, 3.
In New York, to New York Independent Veteran Corps of Artillery, under command of Capt. Chapman. "At the quarters of their Captain,” Mrs. Fraser gave the following address:
Gentlemen, I congratulate you on the 38th Anniversary of American Independence—a blessing which cost you the privation, toils, and perils of a seven years arduous contest. With heartfelt pleasure do I view the warworn Veteran, claiming no exemption for age or infirmity, again draw his sword in his country’s cause. As a feeble testimony of my respect, permit me to present your honourable corps a Standard, consisting of Thirteen Stripes, the number of our Revolutionary States; Blue, predominating, is emblematic of the fidelity of our immortal Washington, and his brave comrades of the revolution; Red, indicative of that precious blood shed in obtaining our Independence; and White, studded with golden flowers, representing the blessing which accompany an honourable peace; the Pointed Cannon, in a field of white, surmounted with your appropriate motto (Pro Deo Et Patria) will forcibly remind you of the purposes and obligations of your association.
Veterans! Accept this Standard! May you always display it in your country’s cause and furl it with honour!
The Standard was received with presented arms by the corps, and a salute of music. Lt. Isaac Keeler returned the following answer:
Madam, Upon receiving from your hand this elegant Standard, permit me, in behalf of the corps to which it has been presented, most respectfully to assure you of the deep praise we entertain of the honour done us. We cordially reciprocate your gratulation [sic] on the return of this Anniversary of our National Freedom; and when we unfurl this Standard, and view its devices, so strikingly emblematic, and so happily illustrative of the great events which we this day celebrate, we confess, that we feel mingled emotions of grief and joy. We have all witnessed the benefits, and rejoiced in the blessings, which, under the auspices of a gracious Providence, the army of Washington achieved, and his Counsels secured, to our country.
A part of us accompanied our beloved General to the field of doubtful battle—Anointed by his example, we have fought with him, and bled—Cheered by his prowess, we followed him to glorious victory.
We have been destined, not only to survive our immortal chief, and most of his brave compatriots in arms, but to outlive that honourable peace, so nobly obtained by their valour, and to witness the same vanquished, but ruthless foe, again trampling upon our rights, and threatening to rob us of our hard-earned freedom. Again the blast of war has sounded in our ears; and agreeably to the motto of our association, for the defence of our religion, and sacred rights of our country, we have again drawn our swords, never to sheath them, until our rights are restored and our wrongs honourably redressed. Trusting in the God of battles, and justice of cause, and in obedience in the patriotic instructions which you have been pleased to charge us with, we rally around this Standard swear, never meanly to desert, or assign [?] it to an enemy, but with our lives.
In taking leave of you, Madam, I am directed, by the Independent Veteran Corps of Artillery, to assure you of their high sentiments of regard, and united prayers for your health and happiness.
National Advocate, 7 July 1814, 2.
On Tuesday, 4th inst. the republicans of New Sharon and a large number from the neighboring towns, met to celebrate the anniversary of independence. About 70 ladies dressed in white uniform, presented a beautiful set of colors to the Light Infantry company commanded by Capt. Baker; the Company, ladies and a large assemblage of spectators forming a hollow square, the following address on presenting the colors was made by Miss Nancy Prescott.
"Accept, Sir, this Standard from the Ladies of New Sharon as an indication of their high respect for the New Sharon Light Infantry. Feeling at the same time the strongest assurance that this Emblem of National Honor will never be tarnished in the hands of Gentlemen who have shown such an uniform attachment to virtue and sound principles; and what is of equal consequence, to the constituted authorities of their country. I therefore congratulate you upon the peace you now possess; may you ever be mindful of the privileges you enjoy. Should an offensive war be waged against your peace and tranquility, and you called to render a more active service to your country, may the God of Israel direct you; may he lead you valiantly to the fight, illuminate your path, conduct you through all difficulties which may be found in your way, until you shall have fully and honorably redressed your country's wrongs."
To this address Ensign Follansbee hade a short and suitable reply.
"Celebration at New Sharon," American Advocate and Kennebec Advertiser, 15 July 1815, 3.
On July 5, 1819, a Fourth of July celebration in Belleville, New Jersey, citizens assembled in front of Capt. Ezekiel Wade's establishment. A group of young ladies were there dressed in white, to present a flag to Capt. Dow's Company of Belleville Washington Volunteers. Miss Jane Wade, escorted by two other ladies, unfurled the banner and presented it to Capt. Dow. Wade spoke on the occasion:
Sir--In behalf of the young ladies of Belleville, I have the honor to present to you for the use of your Company of Belleville Washington Volunteers, a Standard of Colours. These you will please to accept as an expression of their high satisfaction in noticing the expeditious manner in which this corps have been organized, and the martial appearance which they exhibit; and they cannot but indulge the hope that in the defence and support of this Standard, the Belleville Washington Volunteers will be influenced by the same spirit of magnanimity and heroism which so highly distinguished the illustrious Chief, whose name they have assumed.
Capt. Dow, on receiving the Standard, replied:
Miss--The young ladies of Belleville have done me and the Company under my command, signal honor by their polite attention on this occasion. And I accept with grateful emotions the elegant Standard of Colours presented by them for the use of the Belleville Washington Volunteers, as an expression of the laudable spirit they entertain for military improvement. Such an instance of female patriotism cannot fail to inspire the Belleville Washington Volunteers with a noble ambition to display and maintain this emblem of our national rights, with a special regard to the illustrious examples of the celebrated Chief whose name we have the honor to bear.
"Anniversary Celebration," Centinel of Freedom,20 July 1819, 2.
An elegant Standard, painted by that celebrated artist, Childs, of New-York, was, on 4th of July, presented by Miss Jane E. Holmes, to the Federalist Artillery Company of this city. The execution of the flag, was equal to the beauty and symmetry of the design; both contributing to display, in the most striking and forceable manner, the objects for which it was intended. Miss Holmes, on presenting the Standard, delivered a very tasteful and appropriate address to the company, which was responded to by Lieut. Foster Burnet, the officer who received the colours, in terms of feeling and patriotism, peculiarly adapted to the occasion. The following is the address and response:
Gentlemen of the Federalist artillery--I present you with this banner--I am sure it will never be disgraced in your hands. Should the fate of war wrest it from you, it will not be until your cannon will have ceased to roar, and your lifeless forms have slept on the bosom of your parent earth. The Star-Spangled Flag of America, has been the pillow in death, of Pike and Lawrence; but such untoward events of battle, will, I trust and hope, never be able to sever from your hands, the Standard which I have now the honor of presenting you.
To which the officer replied--To have received this Banner from the hands of innocence, beauty and virtue, is a sufficient excitement to preserve it unstained by a hostile hand. Should it be ever attempted to be severed from us, the Sons of Columbia would try to rival that prowess, which inspired the virtuous patriotism of Rome; that love of country which enflamed the matrons of Carthage. The heavenly smiles of female beauty it is, which give energy to action in the time of danger, and nerve the aim of the patriot in the hour of battle, to conquer or die, under the Standard of Liberty! With such principles, and such feelings, we gratefully receive this flag from your fair hands, as a precious boon, which will inspire us to glory.
City Gazette and Daily Advertiser [Charleston, SC], 6 July 1821, 2.
On July 4, 1821, in Alexandria, Virginia, Eletia Hubball, "a young lady who had been elected by her associates to present the standard, made her appearance, accompanied by six of her female friends, and bearing the most beautiful flag we have seen for many days." The women presented the flag to the Company of Light Infantry, commanded by Capt. Nicholas Blasdell, at a "place appointed for the ceremony," but probably near the market square. Miss Hubball "was received with 'presented arms,' and an enlivening air from the band." She then responded with the following:
You have associated in celebrating the birth day of your independence. In compliance with a request of my female associates, I am about to present you a standard in manifestation of our confidence, & as a tribute of respect to the company of Independent Volunteers. Though the order of society, our daily habits and physical powers, restrict us to less active duties and forbid us a participation in your social, and convivial pleasures, and manly exercises of the day; yet we feel with you a glow of satisfaction. To us as to you, it recalls to our mental view events which inspire us with veneration for the memories of our Fathers of the Revolution, & excite in us, a lively interest for the honor of our common country. May this day be ever dear to the descendants of free men: Our fathers dared to will to be free, and were free: may their sons ever will it. Our motives in addressing you on this occasion are not to excite in you a sense of noble daring, or a just appreciation of your rights as freemen. The songs of freemen want no incentives to action: Liberty and honor are inate principles, fostered by paternal care. They have nobly will'd and bravely dared. The historic page records the noble achievements, and gallant actions in their country's cause; on the ocean and on the land their prowess stands pre-eminent; the haughty foe has struck his proud flag to our brave and hardy tars, and bent his proud crest to the strong arm of your brothers in arms. From pole to pole, the goddess of liberty has proclaimed the merited applause of her sons.
The sons of freedom assuming the manly and dignified attitude of Citizen Soldiers, and emulating each other in the acquirements of military discipline, to enable them in the hour of danger to defend their country, maintain their liberty and protect us from licentious and daring invaders, must ever possess in our hearts an influence superior to the ordinary impressions created by social intercourse. Receive then your flag, and defend it worthy of yourselves and fathers, and we fervently trust that in your pursuit of discipline and military glory, it will never by tarnished with vice or immorality prove to the world that morality and virtue are the concomitants of the Citizen Soldier. Should the tocsin of war be again sounded, and our happy country be invaded by the enemies of liberty, while you bravely march to chide them for their presumption we will offer up to the god of battles our prayers for your protection, relying, that you will ever hold in dear remembrance, your motto, "Columbia, Fortitude and Freedom."
(Alexandria Gazette, 7 July 1821, 2)
The forty-fifth anniversary of our national jubilee was celebrated by this corps [Fell's Point Columbian Blues] in a mmaner peculiarly grateful and flattering to its members. Early in the morning, they were presented with an elegant standard by the elder daughers of Col. Thos. Sheppard, who with great complaissance and at the sacrifice of much time had worked the flag--the embroidery displays a correctness of design, and neatness of execution, highly honorable to the ladies.
The volunteers having paraded at the quarters of the captain, were marched with an excellent band of music to the dwelling of Col. Sheppard, where were assembled Brig. Gen M'Donald, and his aids Messrs. Davis and Van Wyck, with several officers and soldiers of our revolutionary stuggle. Miss Sheppard in offering the flag, addressed Capt. Brays in nearly the following words:
Sir--We feel much pleasure in presenting this ensign to a corps so ancient and respectable as the Fell's Point Columbian Blues. In the discharge of this task, we will not betray a doubt of the patriotism and valour of the company under your command, by recommending the standard to their martial care. The volunteers of this land are the natural guardians of their natal soil. Standing armies are regarded with a jealous eye by the genius of our republic, and in their absence the country must rely for protection and support upon her free-born citizen soldiers. A well organized body of this description, honest in its views, undaunted in its conduct, and actuated by the sacred fire of liberty, will forever oppose an impregnable barrier to the invading foe.
Allow us to express a hope, that the God of Battles may protect you in the hour of danger; that the recollections of your wives and chldren may nerve your arms in the day of trail; and that returning with your laurels to the sympathies of home, you may evince to the world, that like Cincinnatus of old, or the departed Father of our American union, you can blend the intrepidity of heroes with the civic virtues of private men.
To which Capt. Brays, after receiving the flag replied--It is, ladies, with feelings of pride and enthusiasm, that we receive this flag from your fair hands. The intrinsic value of this gift is considerable; but it derives its principal worth, in our estimation, from the circumstance, that it is the work of the daughters of our esteemed Colonel. We greet the respected and venerable commander of the 3d Brigade, and regard with sensibility the heroes of the revolution who stand around you. Before citizens so valuable, it would ill become us to vaunt our prowess in the field; but should it ever be the misfortune of our country to have occasion to summon her defenders, this little band will be always prompt to stand forth, and oppose all its strength and energies to an invading foe. Then will the recollection of this day be a stimulant to us, to imitate the deeds of our countrymen, who fought for and won that, which it becomes our duty to assist in retaining inviolate, our sacred independence; and then shall these stars and stripes thus surrounding the Eagle of our country, be yielded only with our lives. In taking up arms, we are actuated solely by a love of country. We have no sinister motives to accomplish, no dishonest views to gratify; our exclusive object is the defence of our liberties--With such an aim no American will fly like a dastard before the enemies of his country. To you, ladies, and in behalf of the corps, we beg leave to tender our heartfelt acknowledgement and profound respect.
The volunteers then fired three rounds, and having performed several evolutions with their accustomed celerity and exactness, were dismissed at 8 o'clock.
Baltimore Patriot,7 July 1821, 2.
At Fall River, Mass. On July 4, 1822, Miss Sylvia Borden presented an “elegant standard” purchased by the “ladies of the village” to Ensign Thomas D. Chaloner, on behalf of the Fall River Light Infantry. The event took place in front of Col. Durfee’s Hotel. Her speech follows:
Gentlemen of the Fall River Infantry, On the day an altar was erected to liberty in this Western Hemisphere; and the blessings of Heaven hallowed the offering. May the same principles, which, in your fathers, produced our Independence, long exist in you, to defend it.” “Ensign Chaloner, The ladies of this village have the honor to present, through you, this Standard to the Fall-River Light Infantry. Accept it, sir, as a pledge of their esteem, both for your virtues and your valor—Happy, if they can furnish one motive to the brave, or contribute one ray to the glow of patriotic ardor which this day enkindles. Should our country again be invaded, and you called upon to unfurl this banner in defence of its liberties, we are confident you will preserve it untarnished and pure. You will yield to none but the hand of time, to whose alone, it can be gracefully surrendered. The temples of your God, the tombs of your fathers, and the firesides of your families, your virtues as citizens, and your courage as soldiers, will gallantly defend. But may the courage on which we so confidently rely, glow only in your bosoms—may the sound of war and the clash of arms never call it into action; and the peace and liberty of our country, like the smooth surface of the ocean, appear still more sublime, when we know her greatness in the tempest.
Answer by Ensign Thomas D. Chaloner.
Madam, This elegant standard presented by you, I receive as a pledge of genuine patriotism—Permit me, in behalf of the officers and soldiers of the Fall-River Light Infantry, to express to you and the patriotic ladies of our village, the liveliest emotions of gratitude for this testimony of their liberality in presenting us this emblem of national glory—We hope, madam, that our country may remain in peace—but should we ever be called to unfurl this martial trophy in defence of our liberties, it will ever be the rallying point of victory, and never be surrendered to the enemies of our country. The tender solicitude of its fair donors, is alone sufficient to rouse the soldier to Independence—and the recollection that he receives this waving banner, consecrated by beauty, on the birth day of his country’s freedom, will inspire his breast with the true spirit of patriotism, and animate us to follow the examples of those heroes, who in this land of our fathers planted the tree of Liberty.
Rhode-Island Republican, 17 July 1822, 2.
In Methuen the glorious anniversary of our national independence was duly noticed. . . . The Methuen Light Infantry, a company recently formed, made its first appearance on the occasion, commanded by Capt. Josiah Osgood, and received an elegant Standard, painted by Mr. Curtis, and presented by the ladies. Miss Susan Huse, who delivered the Standard, made a very pertinent and appropriate address, and Ensign S.H. Parker, on receiving it, replied in a very handsome manner.
"Celebration of Independence," Gazette & Patriot, 9 July 1825, 2; Independent Chronicle & Boston Patriot, 9 July 1825, 1.
Dover, (N.H.) July 5. Artillery Company. Yesterday, being the birth day of our nation, a great collection of people assembled in this town to witness the ceremony of presentation of a Standard to the Artillery Company under the command of Capt. Young. The standard is exquisitely beautiful, and is the gift of the young ladies employed in the Dover Manufacturing Establishment, who generally attended in uniform dresses to witness the ceremony. The company being drawn up in front of Mrs. Melcher's house, Miss Betsey Morse advanced with the standard in her hand, and presented it with a neat and appropriate address to the ensign. The gallant officer on receiving the standard made a handsome reply to the address.
Essex Register,11 July 1825, 3.
At New Ipswich, New Hampshire, July 4, 1826, "a large and brilliant procession of ladies, who had procured a very superb standard, which was presented to the company of Grenadiers by Miss Mary Felt [at the meeting house], accompanied with the following address:"
In a world where it is our lot to be surrounded with dangers, and perpetually exposed to the rude attacks of the lawless and abandoned of our own species, to guard ourselves against the possible evils that may assail us, is the plain dictate of reason and prudence. To us, who are by nature weak and defenceless, belong not the daring spirit, the manly courage, and the heroic valor, to which we must be forever indebted, for the security of those inestimable rights and privileges, which, under a free government, we so abundantly enjoy. These distinguishing qualities are the peculiar attributes of those, to whom alone we can look for support and protection. But if we are dependent upon others for these invaluable blessings, we would not be unmindful of our own duty. Although, Sir, the labor, the difficulty and the danger devolve upon your sex; it is for us in the peaceful retirement of domestic life to practise those virtues and cherish those principles, which will dignify and adorn our own characters, and at the same time have a salutary and permanent influence upon the life and conduct of the guardians and protectors of our dearest rights. Desirous of offering a small tribute of gratitude, for the mentorious exertions you have made to prepare yourselves for the arduous duties of citizens and soldiers, the Ladies of New-Ipswich have procured this Standard, and in their behalf I would present it, earnestly requesting that you would accept it, with their warmest wishes for your success. Should it, in the happy times of peace, have a tendency to stimulat you to acquire a more correct and perfect discipline, and, in times of peril, should it animate you to more vigorous exertion in defence of your country, our highest anticipations will be realized. Should the gloomy shade of war, ever again in portentous darkness, hang over our peaceful horizon, may this Standard, on which are displayed the arms of our country, forever be an incentive to noble deeds and generous achievements.
"To this address Ensign Lewis Epps made the following reply":
In behalf of the Company of Grenadiers, I would, with sentiments of the most lively gratitude accept this Standard. You may be assured that we consider it in itself valuable. But when we consider at whose hands we receive it, we must ever feel an interest in it, infinitely beyond its intrisic worth. To be your guardians and protectors, as it will always be our highest pleasure, we shall ever esteem it the highest honor to which we can aspire. Our most devout wish and fondest hope, as that peace, that first and best of earthly blessings, under which we as a nation are rapidly advancing, in all that can elevate and adorn the human character, may forever continue. But if in the course of human events we shall ever again be involved in the deep calamity of war, and should we in defence of our country be compelled to become actors in the frightful and appaling scene--may the transactions of this day be a powerful incentive to such a course of conduct as shall do honor to ourselves, and ensure the safety and happiness of those fair friends, who have so generously bestowed upon us this distinguished mark of attention.
"Fourth of July," Farmers' Cabinet, 22 July 1826, 3.
At Quincy, Massachusetts, “the Quincy Light Infantry, under Captain Groves, paraded to receive an elegant standard given by the ladies of Quincy, which was presented by Miss Caroline Whitney with an appropriate address, to which a suitable answer was returned by Mr. Gay the Ensign of the company. As the standard was unfurled, we were pleased with the great appropriateness of its design and the skill of its execution; both of which we understood were the efforts of Mr. Swett of the firm of Penniman & Swett. On one side were the national emblems, and on the reverse, a figure of Minerva, with the busts of the venerable Es-President and his distinguished son; and in the back ground an accurate representation of the mansion of the Ex-President ; over the whole was spread this motto—“Palmam qui meruit ferat.” Essex Register, 24 July 1826, 2.
Jane Hobbs and a group of ladies presented a flag to the Rifle Company of Pelham, New Hampshire, commanded by Capt. Enoch Marsh, on July 4, 1827. Miss Hobbs addressed the Rifle Company:
Permit me, gentlemen officers of the Rifle company, in behalf of a number of respectable ladies of this place, to address you, and the brave soldiers under your command. More than half a century has passed away since this memorable fourth of July became an epoch in the history of these United States. Ill would it become me on any other occasion than the present, to call your attention by an allusion of mine, to the inestimable privileges we enjoy, which cost nothing less than the blood of the hero and the patriot. Our nation is the wonder and astonishment of the civilized world; it is the freest, the happiest and most prosperous nation under the sun; its civil and religious institutions are based on the broad principles of the rights of men. None is molested or made affraid [sic], but all may rest under his own vine; everything of a temporal nature is ours; even the tiger is led as it were to flowery bands by a child. This Canaan of happiness was won by our fathers. Yes, the patriotic and gallant sons of Columbia, led on by the beloved Washington, made the purchase, endured privations, hardships, toils and fatigues, unknown to us, and for little or no reward but the gratitude of a grateful country. Most of them have passed away as the current of time passes, and have mingled their dust with its kindred dust; and we indulge the fond hope that their immortal spirits have ascended on high and entered that kingdom where their peace and joy shall be lasting as an eternity. When our political fathers fearlessly sounded the trumpet of freedom, every patriotic heart thrilled with hope and fear. The day was momentous. The threatening vengance [sic] of a tyrannic foe, like some dark terriffic [sic] cloud obscured its bright effulgence which hope painted in vivid colours. The storm of war lowers--it passes away, the scene ended and we realize every thing anticipated. These United States are looked upon as a pattern of political consistency by the civilized world; nor is their philanthropy and patriotism less regarded, nor should it be, since their brave sons so courageously presented their breasts to the shafts of battle in defence of their rights; and sprinkled the alter of their independence with their blood. And since patriots and heroes bled for this rich inheritance of ours, hold it sacred and inviolate; and as a pledge you will do so, be pleased to receive this standard from this association of ladies in this town, impressed with a simile of the freedom of our country. Be assured that we entertan the high opinion of a true patriot and soldier, which they justly merit, and shall at all times cheerfully lend our aid in any thing that may add to their happiness, or mitigate their sorrows and toils. This standard, a symbol of our dear bought rights, suffer not to be dishonoured or invaded by any. Tarnish not the achieved glory of an American soldier. and we sincerely hope that the time will soon come when the standard of the cross will supersede a standard like this, and render it useless. When the habiliments of war and the instruments of death shall be no more used in this our fallen world. When our brothers shall learn war no more. When no more garments shall be rolled in blood. When the nations shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and nation shall not lift up sword against nation. This will be the happy case when all nations shall gather around the standard of the cross, and the gospel shall have its effect upon the hearts of men; for wars and fightings come from the depravity of man. Trust not in sword and spear, nor in a coat of mail, but in Him who holds the destinies of the nations in his hands, and then should the enemy come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against them.
"To which address Mr. Nathaniel Marsh, ensign of the Rifle Company, made the following reply[:]"
Ladies, in behalf of this Rifle Company, with peculiar emotions of gratitude, I receive this standard--and when we consider for what cause, and from whose hands we receive it, its value is exceedingly increased. Rest assued that we will protect it and its donors with our lives, and fortunes. and should it ever be the fate of this Company to be called to deeds of "manly daring" with our Country's foe; this standard shall witness our behaviour. And so long as this banner is unfurled, so long, we trust, it will protect the virtuous and the brave. And with you, we ardently desire that the happy period will soon arrive when the standard of the cross will hold universal sway; and nations shall learn war no more.
"Communication. Fourth of July, at Pelham," Farmers' Cabinet, 21 July 1827, 2.
A flag presentation at New Boston, New Hampshire, on July 4, 1830, included "about 90 young ladies under the direction of Pearly Dodge and Waterman Burr." At the town square, "a new and elegant Standard (a present from the ladies of New-Boston to the Company of Artillery)" was presented in a ceremony. Miss Anstiss W. Bradford "in behalf of the company of ladies made the following address":
Sir,--While the sons of our great and happy Republic are reminded by the return of another, anniversary of her Independence, of the unequalled blessings which Divine Priovidence has bestowed on their country, her daughters are not insensible to those distinguished favors. Nor are they ignorant of the great importance of an intelligent, virtuous and patriotic Militia, as a mean of preserving the privileges instrumentally obtained by the wisdom of our progenitors in council, and their valor in the field of battle. Actuated by these sentiments, the Ladies in New-Boston, wish on this occasion, to give a substantial token of their attachment to the interests of their country. They have accordingly directed me to request you, Sir, as the representative of the Company of Matross, here assembled, to accept this Standard. Permit me to express their confident expectation, that should the threatened liberties of our Republic call you to their defence, you will promptly rally around this banner, and display that courage, magnanimity and perseverance that will do honor to your flag.
“To which Lieut. Sumner L. Cristy responded in the following manner:"
Madam,--In behalf of the Military Corps which I have the honor on this occasion to represent, I accept with emotions of gratitude this valuable and elegant Standard, which you have presented in the name of the generous donors. I reciprocate your patriotic sentiments on the happiness and prosperity of our beloved Republic. In peace we will preserve these colors as a precious memorial of your generosity.—Should the destinies of our country call us into actual service for her defence, we will rally round this standard, nor will we desert it, while a fragment remains to tell our enemies, that we bear the banner and spirit of freemen. In this last resort for the protection of our civil liberties more precious than life, we shall not be unmoved by the remembrance that the flag which we support, was the gift of the ladies of New-Boston.
(Farmers' Cabinet, 10 July 1830, 3; "American Independence," New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette, 19 July 1830, 2.)
Another flag presentation occurred in Methuen, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1832, when a group of females presented a standard to the Methuen Light Infantry. Miss Cecilia F. Poor was chosen among the 65 women present to give the address:
Citizen soldiers: We are assembled together on this day to commemorate the birth of our national independence--a day of jubilee--to celebrate with joy the emanicipation of our country from the yoke of bondage and oppression. Dear to the recollection of every son and daughter of America, is that period when the master spirits of our revolution proclaimed to the nations of the earth, that we "were and of right ought to be free and independent."
We hail with pleasure the return of this our natal day sacred to the birth of American liberty; we raise our eyes to heaven with gratitude that we are this day permitted to enjoy the high privileges for which our fathers fought and bled. And it is to you, citizen soldiers, sons of sires so noble--that our hopes are now directed to protect those rights, and that liberty purchased at a price so dear.
Reposing implicit confidence in your patriotism and integrity, permit me in behalf of the ladies of Methuen to present to you this standard--may its folds never be unfurled but in the glorious cause of liberty and freedom. Should hostile foes invade our shores, should the clarion of war echo over these now peaceful hills, may the recollection of this event inspire your hearts with patriotism, and nerve your arm to protect your homes and your fire sides. Around this banner, should your country call you to the field, make you rally, and when once the glittering steel has left its scabbard, drawn in defence of trampled rights, let it never return again to rest till success shall crown your arms with victory and the olive branch of peace return again to our peaceful vallies.
“Ensign [Charles] Currier replied as follows:"
We accept this Standard, Madam, from the Ladies of Methuen, who have selected you as the organ of this communication, with emotions of the most patriotic feelings. We are too deeply sensible of the duty we owe our country and the world to be ever found backward in the defence of those rights which our fathers secured to us with the price of blood. This Standard shall be to us ever an incentive to duty. It will remind us of those homes and firesides where female loveliness preside. Those hallowed retreats from the cares of life are more dear than life, and in their protection and comfort are our greatest felicity. Receive for yourself and those ladies who have thought us worthy of their munificence, our warmest thanks.
Essex Gazette, 14 July 1832, 3.
In Norfolk, Virginia, Jolliff presented a flag, painted by Mr. Crawley, on behalf of the Ladies of St. Brides, to the Rifle Patriots, commanded by Capt. William Tatem. “The presentation address was delivered in handsome style, borrowing grace and eloquence from the fair Oratress. A suitable and feeling reply was made by Capt. Tatem. Neither has been handed to us; but the standard, which is really beautiful, will (preserved with care) be a durable monument of the patriotism of its fair donors.” A print copy of the address has not been located. Richmond Enquirer, 12 July 1833, 4.
"The ladies of Marlborough having procured a military standard for the Marlborough Cadet Company, deemed the 4th instant  an appropriate day for the presentment. For this purpose the company paraded on that day, under the command of Capt. N. Converse, and proceeded to the house of Charles Holman, Jr., where the ladies were assembled. At 11 o'clock, A.M. the standard was presented to the company by Mrs. Elijah Boyden, with the following address:"
Cadets,-- The ladies of Marlborough have procured this standard, which they have directed me to present to your company. One motive we have in making you a present of this military ensign, is to testify our respect for the company, and our approbation of the gentlemanly and soldierlike conduct of the members since its organization. But we are prompted to this act by another, a higher, and as we think, a nobler motive. As women, we appreciate the high privileges we enjoy in this happy, this blessed country. When we contrast our own condition with that of our sex in some other parts of the world at the present day; when we reflect that by the institutions and laws of this country, our rights and privileges are duly protected, and that woman rises to her proper elevation in society, --we cannot but feel gratitude to God, and the soldiers of freedom, for the high privileges conferred upon us. Upon you, Cadets, devolves the duty, in part, of defending the country from foreign aggession, and its institutions and laws from the perils of domestic insurrection. Accept this standard, and let it at all times incite you to the conduct of good citizens and good soldiers.
"On accepting it, Mr. J.T. Collins, ensign of the company, replied as follows:"
Ladies,--We accept this standard, which you have been pleased to present to us, and would return our profound thanks, for this expression of approbation, and this token of liberality. It shall be our endeavor to show ourselves worthy of this splendid present. We hope not to disgrace it, by any mean, ungentlemanly or unsoldierlike conduct while in the discharge of our ordinary military duties; and in the event of our beloved country having occasion for our actual services in her defence, our sincere hope that it may not be dishonored by any act of desertion or cowardice by any member of our military corps.
"The ladies then formed in procession to the number of 130, and proceeded, under the direction of Col. Cyrus Frost, to a table of entertainment, erected in a small grove near the village, and partook of refreshments. Sentiments were offered appropriate for the occasion, and much good feeling was exhibited."
"Proceedings at Marlborough on the Fourth," New Hampshire Sentinel, 17 July 1839, 1.
"According to previous arrangement, some five or 600 of the ladies and gentlemen of Nashua and Nashville, with the Nashua Guards and Washington Light Guards, started at about 8 o'clock, in five boats prepared for the occasion, for an island some three miles up the Nashua river. After a pleasant ride of about two hours to the island, a procession was formed, and marched to the place prepared for the presentation of the Standard by the ladies to the Washington Light Guards; where Miss P. Morse, in behalf of the donors, presented the Standard in a graceful and appropriate manner; accompanied with a neat and pertinent address. After the presentation, the company partook of as good a chowder as man ever cooked."
"Fourth of July at Nashua," Farmers' Cabinet, 14 July 1843, 2.
Another flag presentation by a woman occurred in California on July 4, 1853, when Mrs. Catharine Sinclair presented a banner, accompanied by a speech, to the First California Battalion. Mrs. Sinclair said to the militia:
I tender you this flag. It tolls of the energy and sublime courage of the men who established your independence. . . .Take it from the hands of a woman. Be true to it and to the principles it represents, and all women will bless you. Take it, not only of the flag of California, but as the flag of the Union --as the flag of Mankind!
(Daily Alta California, 6 July 1853, 2.)
At a celebration in Portland, Maine, on July 4, 1798, a female (unnamed) presented a standard to a local militia followed by a brief address. Printed in Portland Gazette, 16 July 1798, 2.
At a celebration of the Washington Benevolent Society in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on July 4, 1812, a committee of the Society was presented a "Washington standard" by Miss Ann I. Scott "supported by Miss Mary Deare and Gertrude Parker (a committee from an association of young ladies) with an appropriate address." A response to Scott's address was made by Cornelius L. Hardenbergh. Print copies of the addresses have not been located. (Poulsen's American Daily Advertiser, 15 July 1812, 2.)
In New Castle, Delaware, on July 4, 1813, the ladies of New Castle presented a flag to the Volunteer Light Infantry Corps, commanded by Nicholas Van Dyke, who in turn gave the flag to Capt. Caleb P. Bennett, commander of Fort Casimir. A letter signed by three females accompanied the flag presentation.
To Captain Caleb P. Bennett, commanding at Fort Casimir.
Sir, on this day which calls to recollection the glorious epoch of a nation's birth, and fills every American bosom with sentiments of admiration and gratitude towards those worthies who planned and achieved the emancipation of our country, the Ladies of New Castle and its vicinity present to you and your associates in arms, for the use of fort Casimir, a flag--the emblem of union and independence, the pride and glory of every patriot--in committing to the hands of a Revolutionary officer this testimonial of their high opinion & confidence--the undersigned for themselves and on behalf of those whom they represent in this act, cannot forbear assuring you, that it is accompanied by their fervent prayers that the disinterested spirit of '76 may influence and guide our public councils; that the union of the States may be perpetuated, and that the flag of our beloved country consecrated to liberty, may wave triumphant wherever displayed in defence of the nation's rights and honor.
We remain sir, with sentiments of respect, your most obli.
Mary Riddle, Ann Van Dyke, Eliza Riddle. New Castle, July 4. ["Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence," American Watchman, 21 July 1813, 3.]
In Goffstown, New Hampshire, on July 4, 1823, the town citizens paraded "to the plain in front of Mr. Aiken's House," and observed "an elegant suit of colors presented the company by the Ladies of Goffstown, with a very appropriate and handsome address by Miss Vesta Little, which was answered in a very dignified, manly and comprehensive manner by Ensign Edward Gould," probably a member of the company of light infantry, commanded by Capt. Eaton. Eaton later presented the following toast, mentioning the flag, at a dinner: "The Ladies of Goffstown--May their liberality and patriotism on this occasion receive a reward suitable to their deserts, and the recollection of the stand of colors this day presented nerve our arms in the hour of danger." "Celebration at Goffstown," New-Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette, 11 August 1823, 2.
On July 4, 1916, in Macon, Georgia, at the end of the city parade, "a handsome flag was presented to the Second Georgia Regiment by the women of Macon." Governor Nathaniel E. Harris made the presentation speech. ("Georgia Troopers Given Big Ovation in Macon Parade," Atlanta Constitution, 5 July 1916, 9).
This page last updated June 1, 2010.