My previous post is about an old quilt that was quilted inside new fabric to prolong its life. It puts me in mind of a great local story. A flag hidden in a quilt.

This particular flag is supposed to be the original “Old Glory,” now housed in the Smithsonian.

Sea Captain William Driver    (1803-1886)
Sea Captain William Driver (1803-1886)

“At the age of 21, William Driver was made master of the ship, Charles Doggett. On March 17, 1824, as a birthday and farewell gift, his mother and several young ladies in Salem MA, sewed for him a large American flag 12 feet by 24 feet in size with 24 stars. When presenting it at the outfitting of his ship, it was hoisted up and unfurled in the wind. Captain Driver was asked what he thought of it, and he declared, “God bless you, I’ll call it ‘Old Glory'”.

In 1831, one of his sea adventures was the escort of sixty-five descendants of the Bounty survivors from Tahiti back to their home on Pitcairn Island. He left the sea in 1837, and joined family members in Nashville, Tennessee.  Quite the patriot, he displayed “Old Glory” outside his house on every holiday. During the Civil War, Driver remained loyal to the Union and himself sewed “Old Glory” into a quilt for safekeeping. His southern family were Confederate sympathizers so he could not risk getting help with the sewing.

In 1862, the Union Army took Nashville. Captain Driver offered his flag to be flown over the state Capitol building. A military escort accompanied him home for his protection. When the soldiers arrived, the bed comforter was ripped open and the flag revealed. The story of Captain Driver’s adventure with his flag captured the public’s imagination and the story became famous. From that time forward Americans adopted the nickname “Old Glory” for the American flag.”

There are no available pictures of the flag. Driver is buried in the Old Nashville City Cemetery, with a flag flying 24 hours a day at his grave.


One thought on “Quilt Hides “OLD GLORY”

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