This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Schenectady, New York (U.S.)

Schenectady County

Last modified: 2015-10-30 by rick wyatt
Keywords: new york | schenectady | schenectady county | liberty |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

See also:

Description of the flag

The flag of the City of Schenectady, New York, USA:

From City Code, Chapter 54:
"§ 54-1. City seal; official flag designated. [Amended 9-24-1984 by Ord. No. 84-77]
A. The Seal of the City of Schenectady shall be described as follows: a sheaf of wheat enclosed in a shield-shaped cartouche circled by the words City of Schenectady, Incorporated, 1798.

B. There shall be a city flag with official colors for the city. The upper half of the flag shall be in purple color with the Seal of the city in gold in the upper left-hand corner. The lower half of the flag shall be in orange color."

An image of the seal can be found at

Valentin Poposki, 28 September 2008

Liberty Flag of Schenectady

[Liberty Flag of Schenectady] image by Ivan Sache, 3 June 2012

The author and historian Don Rittner presents the Liberty Flag of Schenectady as follows:

Before we had our current flag, Old Glory, the early republic made several attempts to come up with a flag that could be symbolic of our struggle for freedom. Many communities designed their own flags of rebellion and Schenectady was no exception. In 1771, in today’s stockade district, then the center of the city of Schenectady, a liberty pole was erected as a protest of British interference in our community affairs. On top of this liberty pole hung a homemade flag with the word liberty sewed on both sides for all to see.

It is written that the liberty flag was carried by the first New York line regiment (largely from Schenectady) in 1776 and 1777 during the revolution. Today you can see a version of this flag at the Schenectady county historical society, only one of a few prerevolutionary flags known to exist.
[...] - Don Rittner's blog, 30 June 2009

A more detailed account is given by Frank Taormina, a trustee of the Schenectady County Historical Society, as follows:
In the meantime, the Liberty Flag did not make its appearance in Schenectady until January 26, 1771, when, so we are informed in a letter written by John Sanders and John Baptist Van Eps to Sir William Johnson, "The inhabitants and freeholders have also put up a Liberty pole well bound with iron bars, twenty foot above the ground in about the center of our town and spiked it with a great many iron nails with the flag at the top." The location of this pole was at Ferry Street at the approximate junction of what is now Ferry Street and Liberty Street, near the tavern of a "Major Snell". The letter in addressing thanks to Sir William also refers to "this weighty dispute of our unlucky town". We should notice as well that the reference to people putting up the flag is to "inhabitants and freeholders". In a publication called "Pathways of Time," in a chapter written by William Efner, we learn that it was customary to refer to the more recently arrived English speakers as “inhabitants” and to the earlier and original Dutch settlers as "descendants". In Efner’s discourse we learn about "the bitter struggle between the descendants of the original Dutch pioneers and the Yankee and 'English' newcomers for control of the common lands", an argument which apparently went on for over 100 years, from 1684 until its settlement in 1798. The point as part of this discussion is that the people raising the "Liberty Flag" on their newly erected "Liberty Pole" in 1771 were protesting not taxation without representation, but rather the insistence of the "Descendants" that the "Inhabitants" did not have the right to property within the bounds of the Schenectady Patent! That was the "weighty dispute of our unlucky town" referred to by Sanders and Van Eps.

A second "Liberty Pole" was erected in Schenectady on January 12, 1774 near the southwest corner of Church and what was to become Union Street. On this occasion, the flag raising stimulated a gathering of fifty men whose names are listed for us, in their own handwriting, in the records about this event at the Schenectady County Historical Society. There was some suggestion made at the time this event occurred that local authorities were going to charge the participants with "rioting", but there were no acts of violence and no damage was done, so the charge was never carried out against the participants.

Now as we look back at the flag we recognize it, apparently, as the same one in the possession of Nicholas Veeder, Schenectady’s longest lived veteran of the Revolutionary. In the photograph posted here, we see him seated in front of his hone in Glenville, in uniform, beneath the Liberty Flag which was then in his possession. Veeder, who lived until he was 101 years old, was supposed to have carried this flag at the Battle of Saratoga. We know for sure that he did carry it for years afterward in the Fourth of July parades in Schenectady of which he, after his friends have given him his annual bath, was a regular participant. When Veeder made his way to his ultimate reward, the flag came into the possession of the Sanders family who kept it for twenty years, making a gift of it, at last, to the Historical Society where it rests today.
[...] - Grems-Doolittle blog, 17 January 2012

A bigger photo of the original flag is shown on Flickr at

The Liberty Flag of Schenectady has been reconstructed and manufactured by a group of local war reenactors. Their reconstruction is based on a thorough examination of the original flag kept by the Schenectady County Historical Society. They concluded that the flag must have been made of a square piece of silk, 44 inches in size. The writing "LIBERTY", now tan-colored, was originally in white letters, and probably appeared only on one side of the flag. The font looks like the "typical capital roman font from the James or Frye foundry (nearly identical to Caslon except for a slightly more swash R). This was a common font for things like newspapers, and was fairly widespread." The flag appears today as medium brown; the reenactors believe that its original color was blue.

Ivan Sache, 3 June 2012