Mount Morris, New York History  
Francis Bellamy and the Pledge of Allegiance
FRANCIS BELLAMY, AUTHOR OF THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE to the Flag of the United States of America at age 5 with his parents, about the time the family moved to Rome, NY. His father Rev. David Bellamy was the Baptist Minister in Mount Morris. Francis was born there May 18, 1855, in the house on Main Street where the State has erected a plaque. 
Francis Bellamy was born in Mount Morris, N.Y. on May 18, 1855. With his father, the Rev. David Bellamy, who was the Baptist minister, and his mother, Lucy, he lived in Mt. Morris for about 5 years. His father then accepted a position as minister of the First Baptist Church in Rome, N.Y. and they moved to that community.
Francis was educated at the Rome Free Academy from where he graduated in 1872. He then entered the University of Rochester and took courses preparing him to enter the ministry like his father. He graduated from the U. of R. in 1876 at the age of 21. He entered the Rochester Theological Seminary in 1876 and completed his ministerial studies in 1879. His first pastorate was in Little Falls, NY and later on he became minister of two different churches in Boston, MA.
Sometime in late 1890 or early 1891 Bellamy resigned his pastorate to accept a position as a writer on a magazine called Youth's Companion, which was owned by one of the members of his congregation, James B. Upham. It was while working for this magazine that Bellamy wrote the Pledge as part of a campaign to stir up patriotism among tile nations youth and in celebration of the quatracentennial (400th. anniversary) of Columbus' discovery of America. As a matter of fact, it was the magazine and its staff ( which included such noted American authors as Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Toni's Cabin that convinced then President Benjamin Harrison to declare October 12th as a "special day by proclamation" or, as we now call it, a national holiday (Columbus Day).
The key to the holiday was to be a celebration where all students nationally would raise the, country's flag at the same time and recite a salute to it. Neither Bellamy nor Upham liked the salute, or pledge, that was then in use. Bellamy, therefore, struggled to write a new one for the occasion and came up with a Pledge that has changed only slightly since that time. On Columbus Day, 1892, over 13 million school children stood together and, for the first time, recited the Bellamy Pledge of Allegiance.
Bellamy married a Harriet Benton in Newark, NY in 1881. They had two sons, John who lived in California and David who lived in Rochester. His wife died in 1918 and he later married a Marie Morin (1920). Francis Bellamy spent most of the last years of his life living and working in Tampa, FL. He died there on August 28, 1931 at the age of 76. His cremated remains were brought back to New York where they were buried in a family plot in a cemetery in Rome.
Bellamy once ran for Governor of New York, but lost. His daughter-in-law Rachel (David's wife) lived in Rochester until Feb/Mar of 1989 when she died at the age of 93. No information is readily available on son John or his family in California or of any other relatives. David and Rachel were reportedly childless.
For a long time there was question as to whether Bellamy actually was the author of the Pledge. After both their deaths, the family of James Upham claimed that he actually wrote it, not Bellamy. Based on all the available evidence, the Library of Congress and the US Flag Association officially declared Bellamy the author.
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