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First U.S. Flag Made by American Finn

John Manni

To the Editor:-

In the Lutheran Companion C. A. Gunderson wrote some time ago about the first United States flag seen in Europe as follows:

"Whose is the honor of having made our first national emblem? Everyone will say, 'Betsy Ross'. It appears, however, that this particular cannot be given to Mrs. Ross alone. No official or authentic record of the event was ever made, but by common consent it has been ascribed to Betsy Ross. Out of the dim past we have what may prove to be the actual facts."

"The other day, while reading a number of old volumes of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, I chanced upon a genealogical record of one Goran Kyn, one of the first Swedes to settle on the Delaware. The record, which has been compiled by Gregory Keen, a descendant, states that Miss Sarah Austin, a great-great-grand-daughter of Kyn, with other women of the Gloria Dei church at Philadelphia, made the first flag under the direction of the marine committee after pattern adopted by congress June 14, 1777. It was presented by the women to John Paul Jones, who hoisted it on his ship, the Ranger. This flag was rendered historic because it was the flag that received the first salute granted the Star-Sprangled Banner in Europe. It was flown in the first action between, the Ranger and the Drake, which latter became the Serapis of the Bon Homme Richard."

"From this it appears that the honor of having made the first flag belongs not to Betsy Ross alone, but to women of the Swedish Lutheran Gloria Dei church."

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As an explanation to the above, I may add that Goran Kyn was a Finn. The name of the first colonist of that lineage was Yrjänä Kyy, name later changed to Kyyn, Kyn, Keen. Likewise most of the members of the Gloria Dei church and Swedish Delaware colony were Finns, although many of them had Swedish names. On the boat, Mercurius, which sailed to the colony from Gothenburg in the middle of October, 1655, there were 96 passengers and 92 of them were Finns. (For 700 years, or up to the year 1809, Finland was a part of the kingdom of Sweden.) For reference see pages 81 and 301 "The Delaware Finns", by E. A. Louhi, the Humanity Press, New York publishers.

Kettle River, Minn.

Reprint published by Finnish Daily Press., Duluth, Minn., from an unknown newspaper.

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