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Tennessee Historical Flags (U.S.)

Last modified: 2013-11-18 by rick wyatt
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First state flag

[First Flag of Tennessee] image byChrystian Kretowicz, 28 August 2009

"The Time-News", 20 February 2006, has an article by James Brooks entitled "Tennessee's first state flag on exhibit at ETSU museum". ETSU is the East Tennessee State University, located in Johnson City. The article reports:

"[...]The flag was first flown over the old National Guard Armory on West Market Street.[...] The exhibit is on loan from the Tennessee State Museum. It also includes two designs that didn't make the cut, including one with the number 16 for the 16th state admitted to the Union, and another with the state seal instead of the three stars.[...]"
The article gives a short biography of the flag designer, LeRoy Reeves:
"Born in Johnson City in 1876, Reeves attended Johnson City High School and studied French, German, Latin, logic and mathematics at Johnson City College and Normal Institute. He taught in public schools from 1896-98, was admitted to the bar in 1899, and practiced with his father until 1905. In 1903 he organized Company F, Third Infantry, Tennessee National Guard and was commissioned as its first captain. He was later appointed major judge advocate of the Tennessee National Guard and served in the Mexican border campaign in 1916. In 1918 he entered Officers Training School at Camp McClellan, Ala., and was commissioned a major in the Army in 1919. He served in the judge advocate general's department in Washington, retiring in 1940 as a colonel. He died in 1960 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Johnson City."

Ivan Sache, 22 February 2006

The 'two designs that didn't make the cut' are, in fact, two earlier Tennessee flags, the one with the number 16 is the flag adopted in 1897 ("Volunteer State flag"). The other 'with the state seal instead of the three stars', is a blue flag is a blue militia colour (a reproduction, as is the 1897 flag) from the 1880s. In addition to these two earlier flags, the display includes the 1861 proposal that was never formally adopted. All three of these reproduction flags in the exhibit are from my collection, on loan to the Tennessee State Museum.
Devereaux Cannon, 25 February 2006

Proposed Flag

[Proposed Flag of Tennessee] image located by Chrystian Kretowicz, 28 August 2009


This flag was not actually adopted as a State flag. No flag was adopted in 1861, but a flag of this style was proposed in the General Assembly (our legislature) and some of similar style were used as regimental flags.
Devereaux Cannon, 3 October 1998