Page Title: Bennington Flag SEE ALSO: Defiant Flags
Bennington Flag History- Mistakenly referred to by many as "The Bicentennial Flag" because of its popularity in 1976. The Bennington Museum in Bennington VT houses the flag. Oral tradition states that it flew at the Battle of Bennington in 1777. This tradition is now known to be a myth. The museum's fiber analysis of the flag in 1995 places its probable creation circa 1814 for use during the War of 1812. Revolutionary war veteran Nathaniel Fillmore may have been responsible for its creation. The "76" reference in the design would be an expression of his patriotic enthusiasm during the second war with England. It is the earliest known flag made entirely of cotton. While her exact origin may remain a riddle, The Bennington Flag is one of America's most beloved historical flags.
Jeff Bridgeman dates it much later: "This familiar design, much reproduced in 1976 for the Bicentennial, has an arch of 13 stars in its canton over the numerals “76”. Once thought to be the earliest surviving Stars & Stripes, it was proved by flag expert Grace Rogers Cooper of the Smithsonian, to be no earlier then the 1840’s. And I suspect that it is actually a centennial flag made with some 1840’s fabrics. In my experience with early Stars & Stripes, this would make much more sense, as similarities exist between the Bennington flag and other centennial designs, while I know of no flags with “76” in the canton or stripes made before 1876. Nor is the number “76” typically included in earlier textiles, whether of pieced construction or printed, homemade or otherwise."
An Article For “Focus”, The Semi-Annual Journal Of The Antiques Council, Winter 2006
by Jeff Bridgman, 2006
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