"I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the
Republic for which it stands-
one Nation indivisible - with liberty and justice for all"
The material in this pamphlet concerning the
Life of Francis Bellamy, auther of the "Pledge of Allegiance" to the Flag
was prepared by the Rev. David N. Boswell, (deceased) former minister of
the First Baptist Church, (Francis Bellamy Memorial) 301 West Embargo St.,
Rome, New York, from the records of the church.
Francis Bellamy, author of the Pledge to the Flag, was born on May 18, 1855, in the town of Mount Morris, NY (40 miles south of Rochester), the son of the Rev. David and Lucy Bellamy. The Rev. David Bellamy was the minister of the First Baptist Church of Mount Morris at the time of Francis' birth.
In the year 1859 the Rev. David Bellamy accepted a call to become the minister of First Baptist Church of Rome, NY. The year of his birth was 1805, and his birthplace was Kingsbury, NY
Francis Bellamy received his early education in the public schools of Rome. He attended Rome Free Academy and was graduated from the Academy in the year 1872.
In the fall of 1872 Francis left home to enter the freshman class of the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, where he pursued the regular course in preparation for the ministry. He was graduated from the university in the class of 1876 at the age of 21.
Francis entered the Rochester Theological Seminary in Rochester, in the fall of 1876 and completed his theological training in the year 1879. During his theological days he was characterized as a scholar, writer and editor.
The records of the First Baptist Church of Rome, disclose that Francis Bellamy was baptised on March 7, 1869, by the Rev. J. M. Harris, successor to the Rev. David Bellamy, who died unexpectedly on October 1, 1864, in his 59th year.
The records also reveal that on October 2, 1874, that the First Baptist Church of Rome voted to approve of Francis studying for the Baptist ministry. This action was taken while he was a student in the University of Rochester.
After his preparation for the ministry he was ordained, December 14, 1879, in the First Baptist Church of Little Falls, NY. On this occasion the First Baptist Church of Rome sent appointed delegates to sit in the Council of Ordaination.
On December 27, 1879, the First Baptist Church of Rome, sent a letter of dismission to the First Baptist Church of Little Falls. This action brought about his severance of membership with the First Baptist Church of Rome.
The Rev. Francis Bellamy served two churches in Boston, Massachusetts. The Dearborn Baptist Church extended him a call which he accepted on October 31, 1884. He served this church for six years. In 1890, he accepted a call to the Bethany Baptist Church of Boston. His active ministry was characterized by his charitable, philanthropic and educational work. He resigned the pastorate of the Bethany Baptist Church to accept a position on the staff of the Youth's Companion Magazien, which was a transfer from the ministry to the field of journalism. The church made the following statement concerning his ministry with the Bethany congregation:
"He was missed as a mon
who brought to the service
of communities a creative mind, a kindly heart and a
The Youth's Companion Magazine conducted a national campaign the purpose of which was to arouse the patriotic consciousness in American life, especially among school children. During this campaing Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Its national acceptance began in the year 1892, at which time, through the devoted influence of President Benjamin Harrison, Columbus Day was established in the United States. The day was observed in the use of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
The Rev. Francis Bellamy died in Tampa, Florida, on August 28, 1931. His remains (ashes) were brought to Rome for burial in the family plot in the Rome Cemetery beside his father, the Rev. David Bellamy. His mother and his wife, wo died September 10, 1933, in Ferrisbury, Vermont, peacefully rest together there in Lot 63, Section D.
The Rev. David N. Boswell, minister of the First Baptist Church of Rome, and the Rome Lodge of Elks, with appropriate ceremonies conducted the funeral of Francis Bellamy at the grave on Saturday afternoon, September 12, 1931.
A Scotland red granite shaft marks his resting place. Upon the base of the shaft are inscribed the words of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
The home in which he was born in on Main Street, Mount Morris, NY has a marker which was set in 1939 by the State Board of Education which read"
"Birthplace of Francis
Bellamy, author of the Pledge
of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of
America, born 1855, died 1931."
A village park was dedicated in his honor in Mount Morris, New York in 1939.
A park beside the City Hall in Rome, has been dedicated to his memory and has been named Bellamy Park.
The University of Rochester has paid honor to Francis Bellamy by placing at the university a plaque presented by the Monroe County Auxiliary of the American Legion and dedicated on October 12, 1937.
The family home of Francis Bellamy in Rome was located at the northeast corner of North James Street and Stanwix Street. The building was razed a few years ago for a business site.
The spirit of Francis Bellamy still pervades in Rome, and it bursts into exultant expression in any patriotic season, especially Flag Day.
A bronze plaque has been
placed on the First Baptist Church of Rome which reads:
"Francis Bellamy was baptized in this the First
Baptist Church of Rome on March 7, 1869, by Rev.
J. M. Harris successor of the Rev. David Bellamy,
father of Francis Bellamy."
The Bellamy Elementary
School in Rome was erected in his honor and dedicated to the Flag which
he revered in his pledge.