World Civic Heraldry Guide: coats of arms and flags of cities, regions, states
The history of the Vermont state flag must include a reference to the United States flag, adopted on June 14, 1777 and described as follows: "The flag of the United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field."
After the admission of Vermont to the Union in 1791 and Kentucky in 1792, the design of the U.S. flag was changed by Congress in 1794 to include fifteen stripes and fifteen stars. This design remained the National emblem until 1818, and was the flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner," and is usually known as the Fort McHenry flag.
The first distinct Vermont flag was a state militia flag created on October 31, 1803. Tennessee and Ohio had now been admitted into the Union and, apparently anticipating that the U.S. flag would continue to add stripes and stars for each addition, Vermont authorized a flag of seventeen stripes and seventeen stars, "with the word 'VERMONT' in capitals above the said stripes and stars." However, in April, 1818, Congress authorized our present United States flag of thirteen stripes, with a star for each state.
The second Vermont flag, then, was authorized on October 20, 1838, and contained "thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, and a union of one large star, white in a blue field, with the coat-of-arms of the State of Vermont therein." This remained our state flag until 1919, although it does not appear that this flag was ever used or displayed to any extent, nor even that many people were familiar with its existence. In fact, when the desirability of a change was in question, only a few of these state flags could be found.
It was felt that a distinctive Vermont flag should be created, one that as it hung on a pole could not be confused with the United States flag. The second state flag had never been carried as the state colors in any of the wars in which Vermont participated, but that the flag borne by regiments of the State of Vermont in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the Mexican-Border service and at the outbreak of World War I, was a flag having the state coat-of-arms on a blue field. A flag of the same design had by custom also been carried as the Governor's flag. No. 8 of the Acts of 1919 approved the design of the official state flag as we know it today. (condensed from an article entitled "History of the State Flag" by Herbert T. Johnson, Adjutant General, 1951 Vermont Legislative Directory. The first Stars and Stripes Flag known to have been used in the Revolutionary War was carried by the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont at the Battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777, and is now the most cherished possession of the Bennington Historical Museum, Bennington, Vermont.
The first Vermont coat of arms was an engraving for use on military commissions, made in 1821 when the original state seal was revised by rearranging some of the features in pictorial form. It placed the picture in a shield surmounted by the stag's head crest, with the motto beneath, and the whole was put under the outspread wings of the American eagle with full panoply of war. The crest was a new feature, possibly invented by Secretary of the Governor and Council Robert Temple, or by the Boston engraver who designed the commission. Although no law provided for a coat of arms, it was in official use in this form, with slight modifications, until 1862.
adopted (dd.mm.yyyy): 1919
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