On January 25, 1839, the congress of the Republic of Texas adopted the Lone Star Flag as the official flag of the new(ish) republic. It wasn’t that we hadn’t had a flag before. We’d actually had several, but now that we were a nation, we needed to choose a design that would be official.
Senator William H. Wharton from the District of Brazoria called upon some comrades from the Texas Revolution–Dr. Charles Stewart and others–to form a design committee. It was Dr. Stewart who drew the flag, sketching it on a scrap of linen that is still on display at the Sam Houston Library and Research branch of the Texas State Archives. Horizontal bars of white and red on the right 2/3 of the flag with a white “Lone Star”–a feature of several earlier Texas flags–on a vertical field of blue on the left. Dr. Stewart did not color his design, but instead labeled the colors of each space in notes. The final design was submitted to Peter Krag of Houston to be drafted and colored. In a humorous side note, Dr. Stewart’s children found his original design at some point and decided to color it in for themselves. It is said that Dr. Stewart was not pleased! Senator Wharton was pleased, though, with the committee’s design and submitted it to Congress on December 28, 1838.
Within a month, we had ourselves a flag!
The “Lone Star” has a story all its own. You see, when Texas belonged to Mexico, we were part of a larger state–Coahuila y Tejas. The flag of Coahuila y Tejas consisted of the vertical color bars of the Mexican flag with two gold stars, one above the other, to represent Tejas above the Rio Grande and Coahuila below. When Texas broke away and made their fight for independence, they kept their Lone Star but adopted the colors of the American flag.
Sadly, Senator Wharton died less than two months after his flag design was adopted when his gun accidentally discharged as he dismounted from his horse on March 14, 1839.