"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 22 November 2001

“Texas Flags: 1836-1945”

Start making your plans now to visit the first comprehensive display of “Historic Flags of Texas” at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston on view from January 13 through April 28, 2002 at the Cullinan Hall of the Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet. This will be a “must visit exhibit” for students and anyone who is interested in Texas history.

The “San Jacinto Battle Flag” is the earliest flag in the exhibit, was the first flag carried under the leadership of General Sam Houston during the Texas Revolution. The flag was handmade by women of Newport, KY and features a liberty figure hand-painted by artiest Charles Beard. The banner was presented to Sidney Serman’s volunteer company as they made their way south to fight for Texas.

Another notable flag in the exhibit is the “Guerrero Battalion Mexican Tricolor Battle Flag.” This flag is made of three lengths of silk that are joined vertically to form the Mexican tricolor and in the center is the traditional eagle with wings spread and a snake trapped in its beak. Forensic tests have revealed that this flag is extensively stained with blood.

Confederate flags in the exhibit include the Hood’s Texas Brigade Flag, which originated with the family of Louis T. Wigfall, the original commander of the Texas Brigade. The flag, like most of the state’s Confederate Battle Flags, features a large central star representing Texas. Legend has it that Mrs. Wigfall used portions of her wedding dress in the flag’s construction.

Additionally, all existing flags of Hood’s famous Texas Brigade will be displayed together for the first time since the conclusion of the War for Southern Independence. Included in the exhibit are other historic Confederate flags of Granbury’s Texas Brigade and Terry’s Texas Rangers.

Three rare Buffalo Soldier flags are included in the exhibit. The Buffalo Soldiers were African-American cavalry regiments of the U.S. Army who were stationed at frontier forts and military outposts from Texas to the Dakotas.

Other flags include the flag of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, a unit that mustered in the Lone Star State and contained many Texan; the flag that flew over the USS TEXAS (BB-35) during World War II; an Election Flag touting James K. Polk’s support for Texas’ annexation. The Polk Flag is an example of the way in which flags are used as a means of communication. Because so many people were illiterate in the 1840s, this flag was used to convey a political message, with the intent of influencing voters.

The book “Texas Flags” by Robert Maberry Jr., published by Texas A&M Press, will accompany the exhibit and includes all 32 flags shown in the exhibit and the stories behind them.

The museum is open to the public Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 12:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday, except for Monday holidays. Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children age 6 to 18, students and senior adults age 65+; admission is free on Thursday.

For more information visit the museum’s website at http://www.mfah.org/ or telephone: 713/639-7300.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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Copyright © 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604