About Elizabeth M Thom (Craig)
Elizabeth Embroidered the Oldest U.S. Banner - Loyalhanna, Westmoreland County, PA - 1775
In those days, the various Associators had silk flags which bore mottoes (usually in Latin) and strange, sometimes beautiful, devices. Many of these flags were prepared by the women of the various communities.
Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania adopted a flag for its own use before the colonies had conceived the idea of a general flag for all of the American troops.
This flag, the "RATTLESNAKE FLAG of Col. JOHN PROCTOR'S INDEPENDENT (or 1st) BATTALION, WESTMORELAND COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA" was, according to family tradition, sewed and embroidered by 18-year-old Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Craig, Sr. Samuel Craig, Sr. was the color-bearer.
The flag has been preserved and is one of the most noted and highly valued mementos of the Revolutionary War. It is the oldest banner representing what is now the United States.
According to tradition, the flag was made in 1775 from a pre-existing British standard flag and measures 76 inches by 70 inches. It is made of crimson silk and gold thread. The canton in the upper right-hand corner, known as the Union Jack, 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; and the blue indicates Ireland's St. Patrick.
It's interesting to note that it is on the wrong side. That could have been to show their dissatisfaction with the British rule at the time. Its very existence, however, shows that they still considered themselves subjects of the King.
In the center of the field is a rattlesnake with 13 rattles, indicative of the 13 colonies of America; the rattlesnake is coiled to strike. Below the snake, it reads: "Don't Tread Upon Me."
The first two letters of the word "upon" have flaked away over the years, which may explain why the phrase is usually repeated as: "Don't Tread on Me."
Unlike the rattlesnakes on other early flags, the one 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 (or 1st) Battalion Westmoreland County Pennsylvania (or Provincials). The staff was inserted through the sleeve on the canton side of the flag and carried by the color-bearer of the battalion.
(added by Elizabeth's GGGGG-Grandson, Andy Nolan Weaver, 26 December 2010)
Elizabeth Thom's Timeline
July 10, 1757
Belvidere, Warren Co, NJ
Westmoreland Co, PA
February 20, 1780
Derry Twp., Westmoreland County, PA
August 25, 1790
Derry Township, Westmoreland Co, PA
June 11, 1826
Jefferson Co, IN