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U.S. 13 Star "76" Flag.

Sub-collection: U.S. 13 Star Flags

U.S. 13 Star "76" Flag.
Silk flag, hand sewn painted with thirteen stars surrounding the number "76" in gold paint. Provenance: Rockville Center Historical Society Museum, Long Island NY. This flag was found in a school house in Rockville Center called Morris Ave Elementary School some decades ago. The flag was given to the local historical society. A review of documents reveals there are four schools in Rockville Center but none with that name or on that Avenue. Study is beginning to check the history of the schools of Rockville Center to determine if the name of the school and it's location changed and or the school was abandoned or renamed.

When ZFC acquired the flag in 2011 little time was available to examine the flag so it was stored and scheduled for examination this year.

Now that we are beginning our examination of the relic our concern is that we are careful in defining what is it we need to know and how will we know how to get the information part correct. In other words we must be carefull and not let our effort to interpret be guided by false assumptions that the flag must have existed for reasons that are in fact are not so.

Preliminary examination of the actual artifact has revealed a fascinating relic dating some period within a date range of 50 years from 1777 to 1826. There are three events that qualify or are aligned to suggest it is from one of those periods in American History.

During the Revolution there were flags used by the Continental and Militia
forces that used the numeral 1776 or "76" within another design element of a wreath of laurel plus another design element "Ye Olde 76'ers" was later painted on the "Headman" flag, now at the Smithsonian. Care and c caution will be needed to not be misled by the overlay of commemorative feelings and emotions of 1876 Centennial celebration mislead us by such statements may have been added to the flag 100 years after the revolution. There is speculation today that this happened in 1876. However, that number was limited and other flags with the number were in fact happened at the time of the revolution.

And there is the War of 1812 flag using a similar "76" in canton called the Bennington Battle Flag once believed from the Revolution and now with a War of 1812 attribution.

Also, the third period during this 50 year window that few relics survive though they were produced in significant quanity yet quiet scarce and rare today. In 1826 the country for the first time since the Declaration of Independence of 1776 had a national celebration for the 50th year anniversary of the Revolution and the Declaration of Independence of "76". Few relics from that period survive today and are considered almost as important as the Revolution and War of 1812 relics. This first national celebration of the birth of the United States of America and it's independence was quiet extrodinary with the first "Rock Star" of America - Count de Layfette who returned to America for the first time since the revolution to visit his adopted 2nd country to see for himself how this new nation was turning out. His arrival in 1824 is said to be the begining of America's birthday celebration. He toured the country for a year and half 1824/25 meeting large crowds wherever he went. He was a person of legendary qualities to the people of America with the romantic story of a young man who bluffed his way to gain an audience and a commission in the Continental Army. He impressed General George Washington to accept him on his staff and the relationship developed into one as a son Washington never had. He distingushed himself on the battlefield several times and never asked for anything for his services except for an officer's commission in this new army though he could have had a plantation of a thousand acres which he did not accept.

Former President John Adams (2nd) and Thomas Jefferson (3rd) both passed away on July 4th 1826 the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence over many hundreds miles between them within hours of each others passing. As Adams said as he lay on his bed dying but his thoughts were of Jefferson thinking of his old adversary and friend "Jefferson, he still lives" though Jefferson had passed just hours before one of Adams last words and thoughts were spoken.

It is said by historians that it was this celebtation by hundreds and thousands of communities all over the states that the country became a Nation on that day on July 4, 1826.

Though this flag was first estimated to be from the Centennial Period of 1876 by the local auction house it is clear it is significantly older than 131 years. We believe that the period of construction is between 1777 to 1826 due to the materials (silk) are hand spun and hand woven, hand stiched with hand painting of the number "76" and the stars, plus the use of red and white silk ribbons for the red and white stripes belies a vernacular flag by female(s) hands during either a period of war or time when durable goods are in short supply or unavailable due to the lack of industrial made goods at high costs such would be the case in an agrarian economy. A report is underway and will be added to the "Paperwork" section for this flag when time permits.

Also compelling is the "76" is not a font nor made to mimic particular style of type face character of the time. This style was evident in the 1890's for the use of advertisements of entertainment events like the circus or a theatrical play and other such events, Today it is used rarely.

The placement of the shadow on the left hand side of numerals and letters helps in dating it as very old given that the practice typically now is placing the shadow on the right side not the left as the example on this flag shows. In the 17th and 18th century the leftside was the practice and use of this style is not used and if so very rarely and the shadow would be on the right side. The style today is considered very old fashion and rare.

The use of silk ribbon typically found in flags prior to the Industrial Revolution (1840's - WWIl) with the one famous exception are the 13 star flags made by the great grand daughter of Betsy Ross in the 1880's and 1890's which was for authentic and design purposes. For example many or most bible flags made during the American Civil War were made using silk ribbons testifying to the scarcity and precious nature of durable goods in particular in the South in time of war. As silk became more affordable in such times there was recycling of silk for other uses during war.

The size of the flag suggest more than a parade flag though certainly that possibility of use is a likely use though it is larger than many or most parade flags so we believe further research might reveal several possible or likely uses such as personal patriotic use that the 3' x 5' is used for today.


• Morris Ave Elementary School, Rockville Center, Long Island, New York.
• Rockville Center Historical Society Museum, Long Island NY, until deaccession.
• Sold via South Bay Auctions, East Moriches, Long Island, NY, to Zaricor Flag Collection, 2011.

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 18.25
Length of Fly 23.5


Width of Union/Canton 8.75
Length of Union/Canton 11.75


Comments on Star Measurements single ring elipse around numerals "76"
Size of Stars 1.125


Width of 1st Stripe 1.375
Width of 3rd Stripe 1.25
Width of 8th Stripe 1.375
Width of Last Stripe 1.375


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 13
How are the stars embeded? Painted
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? no
Comments on Stars Stars are gold paint with black drop shadow and yellow highlights
Star Pattern single ring elipse


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? yes
Comments on Stripes Stripes appear to be made from red & white silk ribbons.


Description of Crest/Emblem 13 gold stars around a gold "76"


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Silk
Comments on Fabric Fabric is frfactured & faded


Stitching Hand


Type of Thread Needs Analysis
Thread Material Needs Analysis


Method of Attachment None


Applique Sides Single Sided = Design on one side only


Condition Poor
Damage Used, severs fracturing with fabric loss, field in sections.
Displayable no


Date 1777-1826