By Evelyn Goble Steen

John Brookfield, a revolutionary soldier convalescing from wounds in Philadelphia, purchased in 1776 a patriotic design on homespun and hand-woven cloth to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He gave it to his niece, Sarah Goble, who made it into a quilt that was probably a part of her trousseau when she married Josephus Gard.

The designs on the cloth are carefully done in shades of brown on a white background and predate the official US flag by about a year. General Washington is represented standing in a chariot. Preceding this vehicle are two figures carrying flags; one is the rattlesnake emblem and the other has thirteen stripes for the thirteen colonies. The thirteen stripe flag is also seen in the background atop a hill that might be Bunker Hill. There are also thirteen eight-pointed stars on a shield carried by a figure which is leading Benjamin Franklin toward the Temple of Fame. The Stamp act is condemned by appearing as a gash in the bark of the Liberty Tree. (Not visible in the photograph.) Various other figures appear whose meaning is unknown at this time. The US flag was adopted on 14 June 1777, about a year after this cloth was purchased.

The Goble Flag

Sarah gave the quilt to her son John Brookfield Gard who was named after his soldier uncle. After moving to Colorado, John Brookfield Gard had the spread reinforced with a strong muslin backing and loops attached so that he could exhibit it. The family called it the "Old Flag". In 1889 Gard gave it to his grandson William H. Gard of Loveland, Colorado. William H. Gard recalled his grandfather, John Brookfield Gard, saying many times. "It was intended to be used by patriotic citizens for bedspreads, window curtains and so forth, to show their loyalty to the American Colonies." In the 1930's the quilt had been mended in worn spots but was still a well preserved piece of history.

The ancestry of William H. Gard - William H. (9) Gard, Columbus Franklin (8) Gard, John Brookfield (7) Gard, Sarah (6) Goble, Ephraim (5) Goble, Robert (4) Goble, Daniel/David (3) Goble, Daniel (2) Goble, Thomas (1) Goble, Willmi (William) Goble.

Portions of this story were published in Volume 5, Issue 4, December 1998 and Volume 6, Issue 2, June 1999 of The Goble Family Newsletter.


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Copyright © 1998-1999 by Evelyn Goble Steen, All Rights Reserved
This page last updated on Feb 21, 2017