Bennington Flag, ca. 1820

Maker Unknown

Gift of Maude Fillmore Wilson

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   Acknowledged as the oldest Stars and Stripes, this unusually large flag was said to have flown over General Stark's encampment during the Battle of Bennington. Long thought to have been flown at the Battle of Bennington, this flag was in fact created after 1800. A solid family history in the Fillmore family, related to 13th President of the United States Millard Fillmore, dates the flag to the era of the War of 1812. Fiber analysis performed in 1995 concluded that the flag was constructed of machine-spun cotton, a process that was not possible until 1800 and realistically until 1810. The "76" on this flag was most likely used to commemorate the victory of the American Revolution during the hard years of the War of 1812. The flag presents a unique interpretation of the Stars and Stripes; the flag is related in concept and design to other historical regimental flags where emphasis was placed on the field and arrangement of the stars. The striking "arch" form as well as the unique seven pointed stars may have Masonic significance. The stripes follow the heraldic order frequently used during the Revolutionary period, alternating white and red, instead of the red and white of more recent American flags.