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Famous People of the Finger Lakes

Francis Julius Bellamy (1855-1931)


Francis Bellamy (1855-1931)Francis Bellamy was born in the Livingston County town of Mt. Morris on May 18, 1855. Although he moved out of the area when about 5 years old, he came back to study for the ministry at the University of Rochester and continued his religious studies at Rochester Theological Seminary.


Bellamy became a Baptist minister and moved to Boston, but, according to Dr. John W. Baer, was pressued to leave his position because of his socialist sermons. He continued to live in Boston where he was hired to work in the premium department of the children's adventure story magazine, The Youth's Companion, the largest publication in the United States at the time with a circulation of about 500,000.


In 1888, in an attempt to promote patriotism, the magazine asked its young readers to contribute money to help buy flags for schools. The children contributed enough money to buy 30,000 flags. Several years later, Bellamy and co-worker James Upham then came up with the idea of a school celebration for the 400th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas. They wanted the children to raise their flags and repeat something. So Bellamy composed his "Pledge of Allegiance."


I pledge allegiance to my flag

and to the Republic

for which it stands--

One Nation indivisible--

with liberty and justice for all.


This pledge was printed in the 8 September 1892 edition of The Youth's Companion. It is said that on Columbus Day in 1892, 12 million children recited the pledge. But the "Pledge of Allegiance" wasn't required by Congress until October 1942.


See also:


The Pledge of Allegiance, A Short Story, by Dr. John W. Baer 


Updated 1 October 2009








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