On June 14, 1777, The Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopted the Stars and Stripes as the national flag. See if you can answer these all-American trivia questions about America’s first official flags...
What Flag Was Flown Before the Officially Recognized Flag? General George Washington was the designer of not only the “Stars and Stripes” but of the Grand Union Flag, which was flown during the period of the American Revolutionary War. It consisted of six white stripes, seven red stripes and had the British Union symbol in the upper left, where the stars are positioned now. Historians believe the Grand Union Flag was flown for the first time aboard the ship Alfred on December 3, 1775 along the Delaware River. This was Esek Hopkins’ ship. He was a commodore with the Continental Navy.
Who Sewed the First Official Flag of the United States?
Although this has been a subject of debate over the years, Betsy Ross
is generally credited with sewing the first flag back in 1776. The news
that she was indeed the seamstress wasn’t known until about 100 years
later when the information was given to the Historical Society of
Pennsylvania by William Canby, her grandson.
Reportedly, she was visited by General Washington, George Ross, and Robert Morris in May or June 1776, and Washington personally asked her to make it. She was shown a sketch that showed a flag with 13 stars with six points and 13 stripes of alternating red and white. According to the family, it was Ross herself who suggested the five-point star and arranging them in a circle.
What Was the “Star-Spangled Banner” Flag? This was the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Commissioned by the commander at Fort McHenry, Major George Armistead, it originally measured 30 feet by 42 feet. Over years of wear and tear, it now measures 30 feet by 34 feet and is missing one of its stars. It was raised over Fort McHenry on September 14, 1814, as a sign of the American victory in the Battle of Baltimore over British forces. While the flag was in possession of the Armistead family originally, it was loaned to and then donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 1912 and has remained on permanent display there since 1964.
Who Made the “Star-Spangled Banner” Flag for Fort McHenry?
Mary Pickersgill, a flag maker who lived in Baltimore, Maryland, made
both the “Star-Spangled Banner” flag, which was the garrison flag, and a
smaller 17 feet by 25 feet storm flag for the fort. It took her six to
eight weeks to sew both and her daughter, an indentured woman who was
African-American, and two nieces worked on it also. The government paid
her $405.90 to create the larger flag and $168.54 for the smaller one.
She used white cotton for the stars of the big flag with English wool
bunting that had been dyed for the white and red stripes and blue
background for the stars. Each one of the stripes measures about two
feet wide and the stars are around two feet also if you are measuring
them by their diameter.