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17 Star Flag -unofficial- (U.S.)

Last modified: 2015-02-28 by rick wyatt
Keywords: seventeen | united states | unofficial |
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Five Pointed Stars

[U.S. 17 star flag] image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 30 July 2001

17 Star / 13 Stripe Flag. While the 'official' standard for the flag was one stripe for each star, this flag returned to the 13 stripes, still having 17 stars. There were 17 stripe flags as well in use. This only further proves the continued support for the idea to keep the stripes at 13.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 30 July 2001

Ohio Transitional Flag

[U.S. 17 star flag] image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 30 September 2010

FLAGWAVER: JOURNAL OF GREAT WATERS ASSOCIATION OF VEXILLOLOGY (May 2003) Vol. VIII, No. 1, Issue 15 reported the existance of an "Ohio Transitional Flag", a U.S. Flag with 17 six-pointed stars and thirteen stripes.

Thus proof for our 17 Star Flag page, but with six-pointed stars.

Steve Shumaker, 2 November 2008

This Ohio Transitional Flag is a Stars & Stripes with a union of 17 stars: one star in the centre and sixteen stars forming a circle, or rather an oval, around it. As the flag change of 1795 had suggested the number of stars would always be equal to the number of states, the lay-out would seem to refer to the 17th state to become part of the USA. This seventeenth state was Ohio, which became a state over a period from late 1801 until early 1803.

The flag was indeed found in Ohio, lying in a roof joint in the attic of the McDowell House in Ashville. The flag was approximately 21" by 48", suggesting a ratio of 3:5. It has a nearly square canton and six-pointed stars, both apparently common at the time the state of Ohio was formed. In 2001 the flag was donated to the Ashville Area Heritage Society, who have taken steps to preserve the flag.

Looking at Ohio history, the flag could have been made sometime during 1802 or after, at least up to 1812, when Louisiana became the 18th state of the USA. It's not entirely impossible that it was made closer to 1818, when the pattern of thirteen stripes and a star for every state was codified, as a specific Ohio flag. But it would seem more likely that the specific design would have been inspired by Ohio becoming a state, which would suggest a date near 1803.

I'm interpreting events slightly different from Blas. Where he sees such flag designs as a return to 13 stripes, I see it more as keeping the flag at 13 stripes. As we've recently has an example of thirteen stars, also from the Star Spangled Banner era, I'm beginning to wonder whether that new, 15/15 version of the flag was as popular as the 13/13. Of course, the matter might also be as practical as there being quite a number of New Constellations lying around after the Star-Spangled Banner had officially replaced them; resewing stars might have been preferable over creating an entire new flag.

Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 30 September 2010