The Greatest Show on EarthIndian Nations Council
35West Virginia (1863)
43North Dakota (1889), South Dakota (1889), Montana (1889), Washington (1889), Idaho (1890)
48New Mexico (1912), Arizona (1912)
Stories Of The Flag
(facts or fiction)
Since there was a war going on when the United States flag was first designed, there was little written down about it's origins. Only recently have we learned that Francis Hopkinson was probably the designer of the thirteen-star thirteen-stripe flag.
Other places and persons have been named as the first to display the United States flag and as flag designers. A very popular story is that about Betsy Ross of Philadelphia. She is supposed to have sewn the first United States flag at the request of George Washington.
The claim is based upon family tradition and was first mentioned in 1870 by her grandson, William J. Canby. Mrs. Ross was indeed a flagmaker and no doubt did sew American flags in her day. Yet, there is no mention of her sewing the first American flag in public records, newspapers, or private diary. Recently scholarship indicates that though Betsy Ross did sew flags at an early date, she probably did not design or make the very first one.
Another interesting story about early American flags is that of the Pickergill family. Mrs. Mary Young Pickergill, a widow, was an expert maker of flags. She and her daughter Caroline lived and worked in Baltimore City. Her flags were flown on many of the ships that used Baltimore Harbor.
Mrs. Pickersgill was commissioned to sew a huge flag to fly over Baltimore's Fort McHenry. It was a massive task. Finally, the work had to be moved to the floor of a local brewery to get room enough to assemble it. When completed it was thirty feet wide and forty-two feet long. This is the flag that is on exhibit today in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Another story about our American flag is that made popular by John Greenleaf Whittier, a poet and abolitionist. He wrote a poem called Barbara Frietchie in 1863, as the Civil War raged. It was set in September of 1862, in Frederick, Maryland.
In the poem an old woman, Barbara Frietchie, was supposed to have defied Confederate Army invaders by flying the American flag from her home. The Confederate leader, "Stonewall" Jackson, is supposed to have gallantly spared the old lady and her flag. Whether or not this is a true story is not known. There was, however, an older woman of that name in Frederick. Today we can visit the "Barbara Frietchie House" there. Her name is sometimes spelled "Fritchie."
Pieces of material sewn together form a design. Created by man, it is an object with no life of it's own. Yet, throughout history, men and women have given their lives for it; poems, songs
Keeping the PromisePage X