The Stars and Stripes

Englishman B.E. Dover and Irishman Harry Flynn began talking during a Salvation Army service held at the corner of Fourth and Main streets when Dover gestured to the American flag and remarked, “That’s a damned pretty flag but it’s a dirty rag and represents a dirty class of people.”

Flynn, who had met Dover for the first time during the service, was enraged. Flynn asked Dover to walk up the street with him, rather than disturb the Salvation Army service, and the two men began walking toward Fifth Street. Flynn asked, “What did you say back there?” Dover repeated what he had said, then fell to the street as Flynn punched him in the face.

“Take that, and that, you dog!” Flynn shouted, striking the Englishman as a crowd gathered to watch, cheering the miner on. After he decided Dover had taken enough punishment, Flynn walked off, but not before he declared, “You may be able to talk about the American flag as you please in England, but begorrah, when you come to the United States of America, you will have to be guarded in your speech.”

Dover picked himself up off the street in search of a police officer. By the time he found one, Flynn could not be found, and the newspaper remarked, “even if he had been on the spot, the crowd of spectators would never have allowed him to be taken to jail.”