This beautiful Civil War Era flag is entirely hand-sewn
and was likely cottage industry made. Its almost 9 foot
length indicates that the intended purpose was probably
for use on a ship or government building. Its beautiful
coloration is evidence that it was made of high quality
materials for the period, another indication that it may
have been made under contract for official use.
The flag's 8-9-9-8 pattern of stars, in just four rows
in a notched configuration on an elongated canton is
both rare and striking. The flag was acquired from the
estate of the French family of Massachusetts. Verbal
family history holds that the flag flew over Washington,
D.C., during the height of the Civil War and was brought
back to Massachusetts by Sergeant Major Daniel F.
French, E Company, 56th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
Regiment. The 34 star flag was adopted with the
admission of Kansas as the 34th state in January 1861.
It was used until 1863 when West Virginia became a
state. At no time did the national flag lose stars;
since the United States believed that secession from the
Union was illegal, the flag continued to bear the stars
of all the states of the union, even the Southern
states. Flag makers had several designs for the 34 star
flag, this particular flag having just one of them.
This flag is completely hand-sewn. The blue canton is
pieced from two lengths of wool bunting which are joined
with hand-stitched seams. The cotton stars of the canton
are single-appliqued on the blue ground. The hoist end
is composed of heavy-duty, double-layed cotton with
holes at top and bottom for the halyard. The name "Mamie
Curtis" is written in period ink on the hoist end,
perhaps the name of the woman who originally owned or
created the flag.