Last modified: 2011-07-22 by
Keywords: westmoreland | proctor | pennsylvania | united states | ibwcp | rattlesnake |
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image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 15 November 2005
[Reverse of flag shown, reflecting the display in the State Museum of Pennsylvania.]
- indicates flag is known.
- indicates it is reported that there is no known flag.
Municipal flags in Westmoreland County:
Tradition holds that the flag was made in 1775 at Hanna's Town from a pre-existing British standard. The flag measures seventy-six inches by seventy inches. The field of the flag is red silk. The canton in the upper right hand corner consists of individual pieces of red, white and blue silk and forms two crosses. The red on white represents the English cross of St. George; the white on blue the Scottish cross of St. Andrew. The retention of the British symbol on the flag indicates that the inhabitants of Westmoreland County, although ready to resist the tyrannical acts of the British Parliament, still considered themselves loyal subjects of King George III.
In the center of the field is a rattlesnake coiled to strike. The snake's thirteen rattles signify the American colonies. The rattlesnake device is painted directly on the silk, as is the lettering and decorative scrollwork. The painting was obviously done by a skilled artisan. The gold banner is lettered in black, "DONT.TREAD.UPON.ME"; the first two letters of the word UPON have flaked away over the years. Unlike the rattlesnake on other early flags, the snake on the Proctor flag faces right toward the symbol of the British empire. Above the snake is the monogram of John Proctor and the letters, "I.B.W.C.P.", Independent Battalion, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania or Provincials.
The flag was not flown from a pole. The staff was inserted through the sleeve on the canton side of the flag and carried by the color bearer of the battalion.
Samuel Craig, Sr., who with his three sons, John, Alexander and Samuel, Jr. served in the Revolution, was the original color bearer. The Proctor Battalion did not fight in the Revolution as an organization and it is not known if this flag was ever carried in the battle. On Colonel Proctor's death, ca. 1810, the flag was sent to General Alexander Craig, the son of Samuel Craig, Sr. The flag remained in the Craig family until 1914 when Jane Maria Craig of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, the great-granddaughter of Samuel Craig, Sr., donated the flag to the State Library at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Later, it was transferred to the William Penn Memorial Museum.
It was designated the official flag of Westmoreland County in 1973, the county's bicentennial year.
Dov Gutterman, 11 June 2000
The initials 'J.P.' and 'I.B.W.C.P.' stand for Colonel John Proctor's 'Independent Battalion, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.' This was one of the military groups known as Associators, volunteers from Pennsylvania, where the Quakers did not wish for an active militia. The voluntary association had been established in 1747 by Benjamin Franklin, and fought in the French and Indian War. This flag was carried at the battles of Trenton and Princeton, and throughout the rest of the war.
Randy Young, 13 September 2000
This flag survives and is framed at the The State Museum of Pennsylvania so that the reverse is shown. This is a common practice in museums, because often the reverse is the better side. The sleeve is on the canton side. This has led many to surmise that this flag had the Union Flag in the upper fly corner, and many publications have illustrated it this way. Notably, various editions of Your Flag published by the Boy scouts of America. Also, this caused the Annin Flag Co. to mount 4" x 6" reproductions of this flag with the canton incorrectly in the fly. This reverse framing has caused many misconceptions about this flag.
Jim Ferrigan, 8 September 2006