In a fun nod to historical accuracy, we recently began flying a version of the American flag that existed in 1804 when Captain Jefferds built the home that is now our Inn. We thought it might be interesting to share a brief history of early American flags and some facts about this unique 15 star, 15 stripe flag in particular.
In 1777 the Second Continental Congress was busy drafting a constitution known as the Articles of Confederation, seeking an alliance with France and supplying the war effort. But on June 14, 1777, it took time from its schedule to pass a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” To this day, no one knows who designed the flag or why that particular color combination and pattern were chosen. Although legend holds that Betsy Ross made the first American flag in 1776 after being asked to do so by Washington, primary sources backing up that assertion are scarce.
During the remainder of the Revolutionary War, the Stars and Stripes was mainly used for naval purposes, but afterwards it took on a national role. By 1794 two new states had been added to the Union, and Congress passed the Flag Act of January 13, 1794, declaring that the flag would henceforth contain 15 stripes and 15 stars. This flag was the only U.S. Flag to have more than 13 stripes. It was immortalized by Francis Scott Key during the bombardment of Fort McHenry on Sept 13, 1814. The five Presidents who served under this flag were: George Washington (1789-1797), John Adams (1797-1801), Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), James Madison (1809-1817), and James Monroe (1817-1825).
More states kept joining, including Tennessee in 1796, Ohio in 1803, Louisiana in 1812, Indiana in 1816 and Mississippi in 1817. Nonetheless, the flag featured 15 stripes and 15 stars until 1818, when Congress passed a new act providing for 13 stripes in honor of the 13 original colonies and one star for each state.
Maine, The Pine Tree State, became the 23rd state in the Union in March, 1820. Maine's statehood came about as a result of the Missouri Compromise. The territory of Maine had formerly been part of Massachusetts.