John Paul Jones, known as the “father of the U.S. Navy”, was born under the name John Paul in Scotland on July 6, 1747. His fame came from the amazing battle on September 23, 1779 where he defeated the British warship Serapis against all odds in a display of Providence and valor. At 13 years of age he found his initial calling at sea, earning an apprenticeship with the British Merchant Marine. Adventures at sea brought him to America where he got involved in the slave trade, but thankfully, was repulsed by it and returned to shipping real cargo instead. How he came to fight for the Colonies in the Revolution is “the rest of the story.”
“From my years in days of youth, God did make known to me his truth. And call’d me from my native place, for to enjoy the means of grace. In wilderness he did me guide, and in strange lands for me to provide.” So wrote William Bradford about his youth in one of his many poems. Based on baptismal records William is presumed to have been born in Austerfield, Yorkshire, England in March of 1590. Before turning 6 he lost both his father and mother, and was raised by his uncles. A long sickness kept him in bed for years as a child and later Bradford wrote that this “kept him from the vanities of youth.” He was drawn to know God by the reading of the Scriptures by the time he turned 12. His desire was to go to a “separatist meeting” in Babworth, but it was eight miles away from his home in Austerfield.
On January 1, 1776, while the British laid siege to Boston, George Washington raised the Grand Union Flag on Prospect Hill near his headquarters in Cambridge. It was the first flag of the united colonies. It was known as the Congress Colors, the First Navy Ensign and the Cambridge Flag and could be considered the official flag of the American Revolution. It had 13 red and white stripes and a blue field with the red cross of St. George of England and the white cross of St. Andrew of Scotland.