Hampton 1938 Tercentenary Program Booklet - Evolution of the American Flag

1638 - HAMPTON TERCENTENARY - 1938

by Eloise Lane Smith

The present flag of the United States has a long past that is difficult to trace briefly. There were many English flags that were not used in the colonies between the time of the first English settlement in America and the Declaration of Independence.
The Union flag, a combination of the English Cross of St. George and the Scottish Cross of St. Andrew, was flown on the Mayflower and other ships that brought the earliest English settlers to America. No. 1
Used thruout Episode I
First Union Flag
First Union Flag
Used in colonies until 1649 when the union of England and Scotland was dissolved and the Union flag of the Crosses of St. George and St. Andrew was disestablished
The advent of Cromwell to power in 1649 brought about the use of the old red Cross of St. George on a white background as the sole emblem of England. This ensign goes back to the Crusades. It remained the leading device in the colonies until 1707, although other emblems were used in England between 1649 and 1707. No. 2
Used thruout Episode II
Cross of St. George
Cross of St. George
Leading device in colonies until 1707. This was the earliest flag of Cromwell's Commonwealth, 1649-1660
The second Union flag of England and Scotland was proclaimed by Queen Anne in 1707. It was used in the colonies until the Revolutionary War. The flag was a union of the white Cross of St. Andrew on a blue field with the Cross of St. George. It was a return to the emblem that first appeared under James I in 1603. No. 3
Used in Episode III Scene I and part of Scene 2
Second Union Flag
Second Union Flag
King's Colors, to be used in England, Scotland, and the colonies. Proclaimed in 1707. Used here until 1776
At the beginning of the Revolution, many flags appeared in different colonies. Pine trees and liberty poles were popular insignias in the north, and in the southern colonies flags were flown with the rattlesnake and the motto, "Don't Tread on Me".

The first standard of the united colonies was the Cambridge Flag under which George Washington took command of the colonial forces, July 2, 1775. There were 13 alternating horizontal red and white stripes with the English union in the upper left corner. Such an arrangement of stripes was not new.

No. 4
Used in Episode III second part of Scene 2
Continental Flag
Continental Flag
Washington's flag first used in Cambridge July 2, 1775. English Union with 13 horizontal red and white stripes
After the Declaration of Independence, Congress adopted a resolution declaring that "the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a constellation." The date when this resolution was passed, June 14, 1777, is called the birthday of the Stars and Stripes. Such a flag had been designed the preceding year by Betsy Ross in Philadelphia. It was first unfurled when John Paul No. 5
Used in Episode III Scene 3
Betsy Ross Flag
Betsy Ross Flagg
Red and white horizontal alternate stripes with 13 stars in a circle on a blue field ordered by Congress in a resolution passed June 14, 1777
Congress resolved in 1818 that the addition of each new state to the United States should be recognized only by having a star added to the Union of the national flag. No. 6
Used in Episode IV
American Flag 1888
American Flag 1888
There were 38 states in 1888, hence 38 stars in the blue field with 13 horizontal red and white stripes
The present English flag was never used in the United States. It was first flown in 1801 when Ireland was added to the union of England and Scotland, and Ireland's Cross of St. Patrick was combined with the old Union flag.

New Hampshire never had a state flag or motto until 1909. Therefore, only the national emblems of England before 1775, and the national flag of the United States after the Revolution appear in "The Drama Of Winnacunnet" to illustrate the flags that were used at the principal historical events in Hampton during 300 years.

No. 7
Used in Episode V
American Flag 1938
American Flag 1938
48 stars for 48 states in the blue field

Return to 300th Tercentenary Table Of Contents