The First American Flag

Today is Flag Day. According to tradition, Betsy Ross sewed the first United States Flag, 13 red and white stripes with 13 white, five-pointed stars in a circle on a blue canton. But there is little historical evidence to back up that story.

Some sources (here and here) believe that our first flag was actually designed by – are you ready for this – a Congressman, Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey.

While there are no historical records of the design, this is the most common depiction.


Six-pointed stars were commonly used on flags of that period, including Gen. George Washington’s headquarters flag throughout the War for Independence.

There’s also an historic l record of the bill Hopkinson gave Congress for his design. One of the reasons I like this story is that his fee was a keg of ale (or wine). There’s no record he was every paid, however. So on Flag Day, I will hoist one for Francis Hopkinson.