1777 - Original 13 Colonies

 

1795 - 15 Stars - VT & KY

 

1818 - 20 Stars-TN, OH, LA, IN, MS

 

1819 - 21 Stars - IL

 

1820 - 23 Stars - AL, ME

 

1822 - 24 Stars - MO

 

1836 - 25 Stars - AR

 

1837 - 26 Stars - MI

 

1845 - 27 Stars - FL

 

1846 - 28 Stars - TX

 

1847 - 29 Stars - IA

 

1848 - 30 Stars - WI

 

1851 - 31 Stars - CA

 

1863 - 35 Stars - WV

 

1890-43 Stars-ND, SD, MT, WA, ID

 

1912 - 48 Stars - NM, AZ

 

On June 14, 1777 the Stars and Stripes was adopted as the flag of the US, however Flag Day didn’t become an observed day until 1886.  In 1885, a Wisconsin school teacher, BJ Cigrand arranged for his students to observe June 14 as Flag Day.  In 1889, a kindergarten teacher in New York City did the same - and his idea was adopted by the NY State Board of Education.  Two years later, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration and the in 1892 the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution celebrated Flag Day. 

For 30 years, Flag Day was a local or state celebration, but a proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson established May 30, 1916 as Flag Day.  The celebration was still done on a local or state level until President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress in August of 1949 that designated June 14 of each year as National Flag Day. 

The US Flag has changed 27 times since the original 13-Star flag was adopted in 1777.  NJ Congressman Francis Hopkinson is said to be responsible for the design.  The 13 stars represent the 13 original colonies.  After that the flag changed often – with the adoption of states into the union.  But in the beginning not only was a star added to the field of blue, but another strip was added as well (the flag of 1795 had 15 stripes).  With the adoption of the 20 Star flag in 1818, the stripes returned to 13 for the original colonies – and only stars would be added as new states were admitted to the Union after that. The American flag has remained with the current design since Hawaii was admitted to the Union and the flag updated to 50 stars in 1960.

The design of the Stars and Strips originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read: "Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation."

The resolution gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor how the stars should be arranged on the blue union. Consequently, some flags had stars scattered on the blue field without any specific design, some arranged the stars in rows, and some in a circle.

Other Stars and Stripes flags had stars arranged in alternate rows of four, five and four. Some stars had six points while others had eight. 

And when it comes to the colors that are used to create a US flag - the Textile Color Card Association of the US creates the palate of colors used for both private and public institutions and the US Army that issues a reference guide of acceptable shades to be used in local, state and national flags.  So if you're trying to produce a truly authentic American flag, you'll need the exact shades of white, "Old Glory Red" and "Old Glory Blue" that are specified in the guide.  However, mass-market flag manufacturers have been known to use more-easily processed shades of dark red and navy blue. 

When the flag was first adopted in 1777 the colors of red, white and blue didn't have any specific significance.  However, the colors in the Great Seal did have specific meanings and Secretary of the Continental Congress, Charles Thompson reported to Congress on the Seal, stating, "The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice."

The American flag is also known as The Stars and Stripes; Red, White and Blue; Old Glory; The Star-Spangled Banner

 


 

THE BETSY ROSS FLAG

While Betsy Ross was a real person – and really was a seamstress, whether she actually designed the US flag is likely a popular legend.  Elizabeth Griscom Ross lived from 1752 to 1836.  Her husband, John Ross was killed in a munitions explosion in 1776. 

The legend says that George Washington was a frequent visitor to her home before he received the command of the army and embroidered his shirt ruffles and other needlework.  It’s said that after he took command of the Continental Army, Washington and two representatives of Congress visited Mrs. Ross and asked that she make a flag from a rough picture they had.  That picture showed stars of six points – but Washington redrew the stars to 5 points at her suggestion. 

The legend first came about in 1870 by one of her grandsons at a Historical Society of Pennsylvania meeting – 94 years after this supposedly occurred.

However, the claims of Ross’s grandson have never been proved – even after extensive searches of government records, personal diaries and writings of Washington and his contemporaries.  The only proof that Betsy Ross sewed any flags is that she was paid 14 pounds 12 shillings and 2 pence for making ship’s colors.  That is in the minutes of the State Navy Board of Pennsylvania of May 29, 1777.  And the famous painting of Betsy Ross stitching the flag “Birth of Our Nations Flag” – well her likeness is a composite of pictures of Ross’s granddaughters and other family members.  And it was the artist who took liberties by painting the stars in a circle! 

1858 - 32 Stars - MN

 

1859 - 33 Stars - OR

1861 - 34 Stars - KS

1865 - 36 Stars - NV

1867 - 37 Stars - NE

1877 - 38 Stars - CO

 

1891 - 44 Stars - WY

1896 - 45 Stars - UT

1908 - 46 Stars - OK

 

1959 - 49 Stars - AK

1960 - 50 Stars - HI

REFERENCES:  The US Flag

Military.com

History.com

 

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