THE VERMONT STATE FLAG

    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, 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, 1837, 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 1923,
    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. It was also discovered that 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. Accordingly, No. 3 of
    the Acts of 1923 approved this design as the official state flag as it
    is today.


Condensed from an article entitled "History of the State Flag" by 
    Herbert T. Johnson, Adjutant General, 1951 VERMONT LEGISLATIVE 

*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,

+One of these flags is now in the Vermont Historical Society room in
    the Pavilion Building.