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Historical Texas Flags (U.S.)

Last modified: 2016-04-14 by rick wyatt
Keywords: texas | united states | lorenzo de zavala | mexico | houston | gonzales |
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First Texas Lone Star flag

[1819 Flag of Texas] image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 26 November 2007

The early Texas' flag. The first 'Lone Star' on record in Texas was employed on the 'Long flag' of independence filibuster, Dr. James Long, in 1819 while Texas (Tejas) was still a province of New Spain.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 22 July 2002

James Long Lone Star flag

[James Long 1818 flag] image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 July 2011

The Jane Long flag is said to have been a solid red flag with a large white 5 pointed star in the middle. Dr. Long left Texas quickly and later returned in 1821 with a new flag that included his wife's flag as the canton and 13 red and white stripes. This flag is well known, but the first flag is less known, but is believed to have also been the flag used by the Summerville Expedition men who crossed the Rio Grande in 1842 and fought in Mier, Mexico. This flag was also used by at least one Texas county when Texas seceded from the Union in 1861. Now, for the possible connection to the De Zavala Flag. In the June 30, 1836 issue of the New York American newspaper is an article stating that the Texan flag is a plain red ground, with a single white star, of five points, and between the points the letters T-E-X-A-S. Do you think the Jane Long red flag with the white star might have been more well known than we realize and this was the National Flag that the delegates were talking about at Washington-On-The-Brazos in March of 1836?
Tom Green, 25 November 2007

Fredonian Rebellion Flag

[1826 Flag of Texas' Fredonian Rebellion] image by Chris Pinette, 23 March 2000

This flag was used by Hayden Edwards and his followers in East Texas in their rebellion against Mexican authorities in 1826. He declared Texas independent of Mexico and gave his land the name of "the Republic of Fredonia". Without assistance from other Texas colonists, he was forced to give up his fight against Mexico and return to the United States.
Chris Pinette, 23 March 2000

[1826 Flag of Texas' Fredonian Rebellion] image by Jaume Ollé, 14 June 2003

Captain Baker's San Felipe Flag

[1834 Captain Baker's San Felipe Flag] image by Chris Pinette, 23 March 2000

In 1834 Captain Moseley Baker of Alabama came to Texas and joined the fighting forces raised by William Barret Travis. It was presented to him by Gail Borden, Jr. on March 2, 1836. The flag was given the name San Felipe in honor of the capital of Stephen F. Austin's colony.
Chris Pinette, 23 March 2000

Scott's Flag of the Liberals

[1835 Scott's Flag of the Liberals] image by Chris Pinette, 23 March 2000

This flag was designed by Captain William Scott in 1835. It was used by those Texans who favored independence from Mexico. It was carried into the Battle of Concepción by James McGahey on October 28, 1835.
Chris Pinette, 23 March 2000

Goliad Flag

[Johanna Troutman's Goliad Flag] image by Rob Raeside, 2 April 2007

This flag was made by Johanna Troutman of Knoxville, Georgia. In 1835, Colonel Fannin made an appeal for a Georgia battalion to aid the Texas cause. Miss Troutman presented this flag to Colonel Fannin before he returned back to Texas with the volunteers. The flag was first unfurled at Velasco on January 8, 1836. Fannin and his army had found it necessary to surrender on the second day of the Battle at Coleto Creek (March 19-20) following many unfortunate events. They were returned to Goliad where on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, Santa Anna ordered the men to be taken out and killed.
Chris Pinette, 23 March 2000

According to Robert Mayberry Jr. in his book "Texas Flags" (2001), pp. 25-26 - The Goliad Flag was indeed inspired by Joanna Troutman, who with help from her friends made the banner from white dress silk with an appliquéd blue five pointed star on each side. According to this text, the inscription "Texas and Liberty" was inscribed on one side and the Latin inscription "Ubi, libertas habitat, ibi nostra patria est" ("Where liberty dwells, there is my country") was inscribed on the other. This information is substantiated in John H. Jenkins, ed. "Papers of the Texas Revolution 2:494 and in Pope, "A Lady and a Lone Star Flag" p. 11.
Steve Carol, 24 January 2007

Regarding the Johanna Troutman flag, it is my understanding that she gave her flag to Capt. William Ward as he marched his volunteers through her home town on the way to Texas. Col. James Fannin was in Texas at the time, but was a friend of Capt. Ward and met him and his men as they arrived in Velasco, Texas and escorted them to La Bahia, which the Texans called Fort Defiance. Col. Fannin ordered the Troutman flag raised over the fort when he received news that Texas had declared independence, but the flag was destroyed as the fort was being abandoned because of the arrival of the Mexican Army.
Tom Green, 25 November 2007

Myth! - The Lorenzo de Zavala Flag of 1836

[Myth! - The Lorenzo de Zavala Flag of 1836] image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 July 2011

The Texas flag described as a white star on a blue field with the letters T E X A S around the star points is a vexillological myth. This is the so-called "Lorenzo de Zavala" flag, which Zavala allegedly designed in March 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos during the convention that drafted the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico and the original Texas Constitution. Zavala was a notable figure in Mexican history--he was one of the three drafters of the original 1824 Mexican Constitution.

The convention journals, which I have read the originals in the state archives, reflect that Zavala did propose a flag design, but there is no surviving record of that design. A week or so later, other members of the convention proposed adding a rainbow and stars to Zavala's (unknown) design. Still later, it was proposed to add the letters T E X A S. There is no surviving record that a flag was actually adopted, and it's anyone's guess what the flag would have looked like since no one knows what design Zavala actually proposed.

The fictitious "Lorenzo de Zavala" flag that one sees in flag books comes from the fertile imagination of one Mamie Wynne Cox, a member of the venerable Daughters of the Republic of Texas who published a 1930s era book entitled "The Romantic Flags of Texas." Ms. Cox conveniently ignored the journal entries that discuss the addition of the rainbow and stars to Zavala's unknown design, and she shows art for this "flag." The rest is history!

Ms. Cox also incorrectly identified the proposed pilot flag for the Republic of Texas as the civil ensign (this is the white-blue-red triband, with a white star centered in the blue stripe). As a consequence of her book, I see a lot more "Zavala" national flags and Republic of Texas civil ensigns than I care to.

Charles Spain, 1 May 1996

In the case of the De Zavala flag, it is my OPINION that he COULD have been talking about the Jane Long flag, which she made for her husband Dr. James Long when he invaded Spanish Texas in 1818.
Tom Green, 25 November 2007

Gonzales Banner of 1835

[Gonzales Banner of 1835] image by Rick Wyatt, 28 September 1998

Summarized from the book "Lone Star Nation - The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence" by H. W. Brands on pages 260 to 263:
In September 1835 tensions were high between Santa Anna and the Texans, so much so that Santa Anna had sent General Cos to disarm the Texans. As a part of this campaign a force was dispatched to the town of Gonzales to demand the return of a small bronze cannon that the Mexican government had given to the Guadalupe River Colony (which included Gonzales) a few years earlier at the request of colony's empresario, Green DeWitt. The Texans refused to return the cannon and then engaged, and defeated, a force of 100 Mexican dragoons on October 2, 1835 - with the banner flying beside the cannon. This was the opening battle in Texas' war for independence.
Todd Trotter, 12 January 1999

Some say the little cannon had been brought to Texas in 1812 with the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition and captured on the battle field after most of the Republican Army of the North were killed in the Battle of Medina on August 18, 1813. I initiated an annual ceremony 5 years ago to honor all the men who died in the Battle of Medina which is the bloodiest battle in Texas history.
Tom Green, 25 November 2007

Sara Seely DeWitt and her daughter Evaline made the flag, back then referred to as the Old Cannon Flag, now called the Come and Take It flag. Depicted on a white cloth was a cannon with a lone star above it, and the words "come and take it" beneath the cannon. It was Texas' first battle flag, and first lone star flag.