Sons of Liberty Repost

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by CapeFearPirate, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. I originally believe I found my answer to the original question I posted but I find I still have questions....

    I wanted to research the "Sons of Liberty" flag for the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party (12/16). I found that the vast majority of flags on the market are 13 horizontal stripes, similar to the Don't Tread on Me ensign but w/o the snake and words.

    Further research led me to discover a vertically oriented 9-stripe guitar attributed to the "Loyal (or Loyall) Nine" which I am lead to believe were 9 members of a secret political organization which evolved into the Sons of Liberty.

    The 13 stripe horizontal flag was supposedly used by Boston Merchant ships. I just wonder why the 13 stripe flag is so readily available and the 9 stripe is obscured in the deeper confines of history? Any one with a theory?
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Flag manufacturers are already set-up to mass produce flags with 13 stripes. Plus there has been no demand for a vertical 9 stripe version - and since it would have to be a hand-assembled custom order it would be quite expensive. Simple manufacturing economics, in my opinion. (You could probably get one laser-printed from Hong Kong for $40 to $50 if you really needed one.)

    Columbia Maryland
  3. Thanks, Nick. Yeah that is the most likely. I have it on my "make" list. The only flags that use the vertical stripe are the US Customs and USCG Ensign with 15 vertical stripes. I wonder if they thought of the 9 stripe when they conceived the designs.
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    The Sons of Liberty flag is another one of those historical puzzles; I gave a short paper on the subject at the CBFA meeting in Wheeling a few years back. All of the supposed sources for it seem to trace back to a relic that's held by the Bostonian Society, and whose provenance is shaky at best. (The Society itself seems to have removed all reference to the flag from its web site.) I've never heard of any primary source that mentions the use of striped flags in the Colonies prior to the creation of the "Continental Colors" in the fall of 1775. There are a number of primary references to flags used by the Sons of Liberty, but they're either described as union flags or not described at all. It appears to me that the striped SoL flag might be another Betsy Ross-type legend that has become established by repetition. I'd love to be proven wrong . . .

    Peter Ansoff

  5. Thanks Pete. That's good info. I guess it is like other stories out there. So hard to find the truth documented and trustworthy. I guess the question is what do I want to believe........As I learn more about flags, I can see the value of the flag organizations that try to separate fact from fiction. At times I suppose there is no way to certify the truth and no way to disprove some contentions.

    Reminds me of some of the stuff they put out on the History channel, who can disprove it if there are no facts to cite? History sometimes becomes an opinion, I guess.
  6. stilbonjyoti

    stilbonjyoti New Member

    hey friends,

    thanks CapeFearPirate . That's good info.
  7. rjo123x35

    rjo123x35 Member

  8. Grand Union Flag

    Grand Union Flag New Member

  9. I came across yet another theory as to the origin of the 9 stripes:

    They assert (along with a picture of a SoL flag) that "The nine stripes of the Sons of Liberty flag represented the nine protesting colonies that participated in the Stamp Act Congress of 1765. The nine colonies represented are: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and South Carolina."

    This conflicts with my other information that it represented the 9 "Loyal Members" mentioned in post #1 above but makes more sense in that the members were the 9 colonies that participated in the Stamp Act Congress as explained here: (Reference: ) "On the motion of James Otis, Boston’s distinguished lawyer, orator and Son of Liberty, the Massachusetts legislature created a letter inviting the thirteen colonies to send delegates to a congress in New York in October, 1765. Representatives from nine colonies appeared (Georgia, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia did not send representatives). At this gathering, known as the Stamp Act Congress, the delegates petitioned the king and Parliament, making note of their rights and declaring their protests against the Stamp Act. A flag of nine alternating red and white vertical stripes (perhaps representing the nine colonies that attended the congress) was soon produced by the Sons of Liberty in Boston. It became known as the “Rebellious Stripes” and was a symbol of their protest against British taxation and support of American economic freedom."

    Also borne out in the Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship website:

    This was the flag of the early colonist who had joined together in the protest against the British impositions on American economic freedom. One such protest was resistance to the Stamp Act, on October 7, 1765. A delegate from each of the nine colonies formed the "Stamp Act Congress" . They petitioned the king and parliament, the act was repealed on March 18, 1766. The flag of nine red and white stripes that represented these "Sons of Liberty" became known as the "Rebellious Stripes." On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty protested the parliament's Tea Act, an action that became known as the Boston Tea Party. The colonists' believed the tax to be a violation of their legitimate economic liberty. Three and a half years after the Tea Party the thirteen colonies had come together in their decision to fight for independence and the nine stripes had grown to thirteen. The Sons of Liberty would rally under a large tree which became known as "The Liberty Tree".
  10. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Again, the trouble with all of this is that no known primary source mentions the use of striped flags (9-striped or otherwise) by the Sons of Liberty, or by anybody in British America prior to 1775. All these elaborate stories are just that, stories. They all trace back to the relic at the Bostonian Society, the origin of which is questionable at best.

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