Bladen and Brunswick Counties, N.C. , Rattlesnake Flag

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by 13Stars, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. 13Stars

    13Stars New Member

    I saw this flag listed in my book "Standards and Colors of the American Revolution" by Edward W. Richardson, it said the people of Bladen and Brunswick Co.'s of N.C. carried a flag which featured an emblem with a rattlesnake coiled at the root of a pine tree in the year 1775. The flag is blue in color.

    Anyone have anymore information on this flag ?
     
  2. 13Stars

    13Stars New Member

  3. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Re: Picture of Bladen Co., N.C. Rattlesnake Flag

    Hi 13Stars,
    Welcome to the Forum! My family is from Pender County, not far from you. While I was researching NC flags a while back it was I had difficult time finding any additional information on this flag other than what Richardson said in his book. When I went to the SAR site I was really surprised that they still cling to the Betsy Ross story as the maker of the first US flag. This has been debunked for years. Also the so called Bunker Hill flag has been shown to be a mistake. I believe if I have my facts right the artist who originally painted the picture of the battle mistook a wood cut print of the flag and used the color blue instead of red. Maybe my New England friends can help me with this story. If you do come across any additional information please let me know as I am collecting source material to do a book on NC flags. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Cheers,
    Michael Malpass
     
  4. csaanv

    csaanv Member

  5. 13Stars

    13Stars New Member

    Re: Picture of Bladen Co., N.C. Rattlesnake Flag

    Thanks Michael for the interesting information, the first time I've ever heard of this flag was in Richardson book.
    I live in Rowan Co., N.C., in the Piedmont area, born and raised here.
    I've been a history nut for some time now, and the early flags of our nation are very interestng, plus North Carolina has so much interesting American Revolution history and battle fields to visit.
    I visited "Kings Mountain"battle field park last year, loved it, My next one to visit is "Cowpens" battle field.
    I had ancestor's that fought at both battles, my 6 great grandfather Isreal Pickens, was a first cousin to Gen.Andrew Pickens, and fought with him at Cowpens.
    So, anything to do with the Revolutionary War is interesting.
    thanks again for the flag information.
    Guy
     
  6. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Re: Picture of Bladen Co., N.C. Rattlesnake Flag

    I enjoy that period and the flags too. My grandfather was born at Moore's Creek, NC and the battle occured near our land which is now Moore's Creek National Battlefield. Also my parents house sits next to the Guildford Courthouse National Battlefield in Greensboro. I bet your people fought there too. Unfortunately, the flag that is attached to that battle has been dated after the Revolution by textile experts. However there is a period drum that has a similar flag painted on it that was indeed at the battle. So that type of flag has been speculated to have been used by the NC milita. In fact we discussed this before in a earlier thread a couple of years ago?
    Cheers,
    mike
     
  7. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Re: Picture of Bladen Co., N.C. Rattlesnake Flag

    Richardson's book illustrates two flags that were supposedly used in North Carolina at the beginning of the Revolution. One is the Bladen-Brunswick county flag, with the tree and the rattlesnake; the other has a beehive and the date "May 20 1775." As Mike pointed out, Richardson's source was Preble's 19th century history of the American flag. Preble, in turn, cites his source as "Wheeler's History of North Carolina," with no page reference. I assume that this refers to the book "Historical Sketches of North Carolina, from 1584 to 1851, Comp. from original records, official documents and traditional statements . . . " published in 1851, written by John Hill Wheeler (1806-1882). I examined Wheeler's book fairly carefully a few years ago, and could not find any reference to these flags. So far, the research trail ends there.

    In general, I have not found sources like the SSR web site to be very reliable or useful. They usually just repeat the standard lore.

    Regarding the so-called "Bunker Hill Flag," the original source is the painting "The Death of Warren" by John Trumbull. Trumbull actually painted three different versions of this painting during his career. Two of them showed the colonial flag as red, and one showed it as blue. The most obvious conclusion is that he considered the flag to be decorative element of the painting, and was not terribly concerned with its accuracy. The historical evidence seems to indicate that the Americans did not actually carry any flags at Bunker Hill.

    Peter Ansoff
     
    CapeFearPirate likes this.
  8. NDP1696

    NDP1696 New Member

    Re: Picture of Bladen Co., N.C. Rattlesnake Flag

    We have a Bladen and Brunswick ("Rattlesnake") flag in our permanent collection at the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) in Richmond, Virginia. I am a member of the Sons of the Revolution in the Commonwealth of Virginia and am currently working on a project with the the VHS to display the revolutionary-era flags we've acquired since the early 1900s. If anyone knows a source for a Bladen & Brunswick flag illustration suitable for framing that I could use for the "key", please let me know. I've looked online for a high resolution JPG and can't seem to find one. To visit our flag collection, please visit Sons of the Revolution - Flag Collection 1-10

    Douglas Payne
    Richmond, Virginia
     
  9. 13Stars

    13Stars New Member

    Were did you get your Bladen Co. Rattlesnake Flag from ?
    I would love to have a reprodution of one, but it's a hard flag to find.
    You have a nice flag collection in you SAR group, that's interesting about the Guildford Courthouse flag, your information said it was used at Cowpens and Kings Mountain battle's, I've never heard that, just that it was used at the Battle of Guildford Courthouse.
    I have a book title "Nor The Battle To The Strong", by Charles F. Price, it's about Gen.Nathanael Green and the American Revolution in the South, in the book , the Author called the Guildford Courthouse flag , the 1781 American Flag.
     
  10. Gqry O. Green

    Gqry O. Green New Member

    To summarize the inputs for this subject, I have the following:

    Text from Preble’s book, page 627
    “North Carolina.—The first flag of North Carolina, in June, 1775, was white, and bore a hornet's nest and the date May 20, 1775, and soon after the people of Bladen and Brunswick Counties carried a flag having as an emblem a rattlesnake coiled at the root of a pine-tree.”

    I saw this flag listed in my book "Standards and Colors of the American Revolution" by Edward W. Richardson, it said the people of Bladen and Brunswick Co.'s of N.C. carried a flag which featured an emblem with a rattlesnake coiled at the root of a pine tree in the year 1775. The flag is blue in color.

    Richard’s book illustrates two flags that were supposedly used in North Carolina at the beginning of the Revolution. One is the Bladen-Brunswick county flag, with the tree and the rattlesnake; the other has a beehive and the date “May 20, 1775.” … Richardson’s source was Preble’s 19th century history of the American flag, Preble, in turn, cites his source as “Wheeler’s Historical Sketches of North Carolina, from 1584 to 1851, written by John Hill Wheeler (1806-1882). I examined Wheeler’s book fairly carefully a few years ago, and could not find any reference to these flags.
    This is a picture of the reverse of the flag on display at the Virginia Historical Association Museum and is part of the flag repertoire of the Virginia Society Sons of the Revolution. I took this picture at the museum today, 15 June 2015. The second picture is the one used in the on-line version of the flag.

    Flag of Bladen and Brunswick Counties, North Carolina - The first flag of North Carolina appeared in June 1775. Soon after, the people of Bladen and Brunswick Counties carried this flag. Presented in honor of Harvey Seward Martin and Benjamin Franklin Martin, a daughter and son of the Revolution. Given by Harvey S. Martin.

    From Tim Berly, President, NC SAR (2015-2016): Based on the only documentation on the flag I have ever seen, which is limited, it appears to have a white background. The National Park Service Moore's Creek Visitor Center displays one with a white background and the Bladen-Brunswick Militia reenactors carry one with a white field as well. It was carried at Moore's Creek or at least by this militia regiment that was there, so of the 3 purported NC flags from the Revolution, this appears to be the only one that can be authenticated.

    Attached are two pictures of the flag in blue. Does anyone have a picture of the flag in white?
     
    CapeFearPirate likes this.
  11. History does get cloudy but still a nice flag to add to my list of flags to make! I did see the Beehive flag at Moores Creek.
     

Share This Page