The Museum of Southern History
Preserving the History, Ideals and Chivalry of the South.
4304 Herschel St., Jacksonville, Florida 32210
The Flags that have flown over Florida
In addition to the various national flags that have flown over Florida, there were numerous state flags which were in use during Florida's earlier years. While we believe we have recorded all of them, it is possible that we overlooked one. Should anyone notice a missing flag, we would appreciate your advising us so that we might correct our presentation.
FLORIDA STATE FLAGS 1845-PRESENT
State Flag - 1845
This flag was unfurled at the inauguration of William D. Moseley as first Governor of the State of Florida on June 25, 1845. The Florida House of Representatives agreed to a joint resolution on inauguration day adopting the flag as "the Colors of the State of Florida, till changed by law." The Senate, however, objected to the motto "Let Us Alone," and it was not until December 27, during the adjourned sessionthat year, that a Senate resolution "consented to and adopted" the flag and its motto "as the Flag of the State of Florida." Because one house acted through resolution and the other through a simple resolution, it would seem that this flag was never officially adopted although it received the approval of both houses of the General Assembly (Legislature).
State Flag 1868
The Constitutional Convention of 1868 was the first to make constitutional provision for a State flag. The Constitution adopted by that convention provided that the Legislature should, as soon as convenient, "adopt a State emblem having the design of the Great Seal of the State impressed upon a white ground of six feet six inches and six feet deep," The Constitution further directed the Legislature, at its first session, to adopt the seal. This was done on August 6, 1868, and completed the design prescribed for the flag.
The Lone Star Flag 1864
After the flag of the United States was hauled down at the Pensacola Navy Yard on January 12, 1861, Colonel William H. Chase, commanding the Florida troops, prescribed a secession flag to serve until another could be decreed by the lawmakers at Tallahassee. This flag had thirteen stripes; alternate red and white, and a blue field with a single star in the center. This flag served for eight months, from January 13, 1861, to September 13, 1861. Colonel Chase's lone star flag was the same design as the flag used by the Republic of Texas navy in 1836-1845.
State Flag 1900
Because the flag when furled lacked color, the Legislature in 1899 submitted to the electorate for ratification in 1900 an amendment to the Constitution adding diagonal red bars.
State Flag 1861
After Florida left the Union on January 11, 1861, a number of unofficial flags flew until the General Assembly (Legislature) completed action on February 1 on an act to provide a State uniform and flag. The act directed the Governor, "by and with the consent of his staff" to adopt "an appropriate device for a State flag, which shall be distinctive in character." Six months later, Governor Madison S. Perry had the Secretary of State record the description of the flag adopted in compliance with this act. Governor Perry added, "The flag has been deposited in the Executive Chamber." Whether it ever was raised over the Capitol or elsewhere is not known.
State Flag - Present
The voters ratified an amendment to the Constitution in 1966 which caused the dimensions of the State Flag to conform to the shape of flag generally. The former size of the Florida flag had presented a problem to flag makers, who were being called upon to furnish Florida flags in ever increasing number because of legislative requirements for its display at school and other public buildings. In the rewriting of the Constitution in 1968, the dimensions were dropped and became statutory language. The flag is described in these words: "The seal of the state, of diameter one half the hoist, in the center of a white ground. Red bars in width one fifth the hoist extending from each corner toward the center, to the outer rim of the seal."
Secession Flag 1861
"The Ladies of Broward's Neck," a community in Duval County, presented Governor Madison S. Perry with a flag of their design symbolizing Florida's withdrawal form the Union. The flag, never adopted, was proffered as an emblem of Florida as a sovereign nation. Governor-elect John Milton presented it to the Florida Secession Convention at Tallahassee in 1861 after the signing of the Ordinance of Secession. The stars represent South Carolina, Mississippi and Florida, the first three states to leave the Union. Mrs. G. E. Ginder, great-niece of one of the ladies of Broward's Neck, in an interview with the Florida Times-Union in 1961, said the flag was displayed on the rostrum of the House of Representatives at the Capitol in Tallahassee during the War Between the States. Afterwards, it was displayed at the Confederate Museum in Richmond, Virginia until it was returned to Florida in 1961.