First 'Lone Star' Flag
Sewn by Georgia Teen
By A.C. Greene
ŠThe Dallas Morning News. 02/08/98
The first "Lone Star" flag to fly over Texian troops was made by Joanna Troutman, a 17-year-old Georgia girl who never set foot in Texas.
When Texans sent out an appeal for help against the Mexican army in November 1835, the Georgia Battalion was organized in that state, drawing men from small towns and large. Joanna's brothers and cousins were involved, and she sewed a silk banner to be flown as the battalion's battle flag. She sewed a five-pointed blue star on both sides of the banner, with "Liberty or Death" on one side and "Ubi libertas habitat. Ubi nostra patria est" ("Where liberty dwells, there is our country") on the other.
Joanna's flag was accepted and accompanied the Georgia Battalion to Texas, where it was first unfurled Jan. 8, 1836, over the Americana Hotel in Velasco. That night, as it was being lowered, the silken banner was ripped into pieces - an ominous prophecy for the whole tragic undertaking - but the tattered remnants were hoisted aloft as the battalion flag.
From Velasco, the Georgia Battalion marched to Goliad, where it joined the Texas troops under Col. James Fannin. Texas was declared free from Mexico at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, and Joanna's Lone Star banner was flown at Goliad on March 8, the first Texas flag to be flown after Texas was proclaimed a free nation.
After the Goliad massacre of March 27, no part of the tattered banner was saved. But Joanna Troutman was remembered. Following the capture of Santa Anna at San Jacinto, two pieces of his silver (his silver chest was found by the Texans) were sent to her.
Although many Georgia soldiers settled in Texas, Joanna never visited, and when she died in 1879, she was buried in a family plot near the little town of Knoxville, Ga., on Elmwood plantation, where she and her first husband had lived,
In 1912, Texas Gov. Oscar Colquitt of Dallas, a Georgia native, heard of Joanna's neglected grave, and he persuaded the Texas Legislature to begin legal proceedings to have her body moved to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, which was accomplished on Feb. 26, 1913.
In 1919, a tall, bronze statue of a girl standing and sewing was designed by Pompeo I. Coppini (artist-designer of the Littlefield Fountain on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin). Since no early pictures of Joanna Troutman could be found, the likeness is from the sculptor's imagination. Her statue is the only one of a woman erected in the state cemetery.
(Much of this information is from an article by Sara Borroughs of Austin.)
Greene is an author and Texas historian who lives in Salado.
Lone Star on Texas Flag, Was Made by Georgia Girl.
Joanna Troutman--The Betsy Ross of Texas