Fayette County Texas Genealogical Society

Genealogy Research and Education

The State of Texas

 

 

FLAGS & OTHER SYMBOLS

Texas often is called the Lone Star State because of its state flag with a single star. This was also the flag of the Republic of Texas. The following information about historic Texas flags, the current flag and other Texas symbols may be supplemented by information available from the Texas State Library.

 

Six Flags of Texas

Six different flags have flown over Texas during its history:

Spanish flag

Spanish – 1519-1821
French flag

French – 1685-1690
Mexican flag

Mexican – 1821-1836
Republic of Texas flag

Republic of Texas – 1836-1845
Confederate States flag

Confederate States – 1861-1865
United States flag

United States – 1845 to the present

Evolution of the Lone Star Flag

The Convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos in March 1836 allegedly adopted a flag for the Republic that was designed by Lorenzo de Zavala. The design of de Zavala's flag is unknown, but the convention journals state that a "Rainbow and star of five points above the western horizon; and a star of six points sinking below" was added to de Zavala's flag. There was a suggestion that the letters "T E X A S" be placed around the star in the flag, but there is no evidence that the Convention ever approved a final flag design. Probably because of the hasty dispersion of the Convention and loss of part of the Convention notes, nothing further was done with the Convention's proposals for a national flag. A so-called "Zavala flag" is sometimes flown in Texas today that consists of a blue field with a white five-pointed star in the center and letters "T E X A S" between the star points, but there is no historical evidence to support this flag's design.

The first official flag of the Republic, known as David G. Burnet's flag, was adopted on Dec. 10, 1836, as the national standard, "the conformation of which shall be an azure ground with a large golden star central."

 

The Lone Star Flag

On Jan. 25, 1839, President Mirabeau B. Lamar approved the adoption by Congress of a new national flag. This flag consisted of "a blue perpendicular stripe of the width of one-third of the whole length of the flag, with a white star of five points in the center thereof, and two horizontal stripes of equal breadth, the upper stripe white, the lower red, of the length of two-thirds of the whole flag." This is the Lone Star Flag, which later became the state flag. Although Senator William H. Wharton proposed the adoption of the Lone Star Flag in 1844, no one knows who actually designed the flag. The legislature in 1879 inadvertently repealed the law establishing the state flag, but the legislature adopted a new law in 1933 that legally re-established the flag's design.

The state flag's colors represent the same virtues as they do in the national flag: Red means bravery; white, purity; and blue, loyalty.

The Texas Flag Code was first adopted in 1933 and completely revised in 1993. The following is a summary of the rules concerning the proper display of the state flag:

Flown out-of-doors, the Texas flag should not be flown earlier than sunrise nor later than sunset unless properly illuminated. It should not be left out in inclement weather unless a weatherproof flag is used. It should be flown with the white stripe uppermost except in case of distress. When the flag is displayed against a wall, the blue field should be at the flag's own right (observer's left). When the flag is displayed vertically, the blue stripe should be uppermost and the white stripe should be to the state flag's right (observer's left). The state flag should be flown on all state holidays and on special occasions of historical significance, and it should fly at every school on regular school days.

If the state and national flags are both carried in a procession, the national flag should be on the marching right (observer's left) and state flag should be on the national flag's left (observer's right). If the state and national flags are displayed from crossed staffs, the state flag should be on the national flag's left (observer's right) and behind the national flag's staff. No flag other than the national flag should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the state flag's right (observer's left). The state flag should be underneath the national flag when the two are flown from the same halyard. When flown from adjacent flagpoles, the national flag and the state flag should be of approximately the same size and on flagpoles of equal height, and the national flag should be on the flag's own right (observer's left). The state flag should neither be flown above the flags of other U.S. states, nations and international organizations on the same flagpole, nor be flown from a higher adjacent flagpole.

The state flag should never be used for any utilitarian or strictly decorative purpose. No advertising should be placed upon the flag or flagstaff, and no picture of the flag should be used in an advertisement. When the state flag is in such condition that it is no longer a suitable emblem for display, it should be destroyed, preferably by burning.

 

Pledge to the Texas Flag

A pledge to the Texas flag was adopted by the 43rd Legislature. It contained a phrase, "Flag of 1836," which inadvertently referred to the David G. Burnet flag instead of the Lone Star Flag adopted in 1839. In 2007, the 80th Legislature changed the pledge to its current form:

"Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas,
one state under God, one and indivisible
."

A person reciting the pledge to the state flag should face the flag, place the right hand over the heart and remove any easily removable hat. The pledge to the Texas flag may be recited at all public and private meetings at which the pledge of allegiance to the national flag is recited and at state historical events and celebrations. The pledge to the Texas flag should be recited after the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag if both are recited.

 

State Song

The state song of Texas is "Texas, Our Texas." The music was written by the late William J. Marsh (who died Feb. 1, 1971, in Fort Worth at age 90), and the words by Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright, also of Fort Worth. It was the winner of a state song contest sponsored by the legislature and was adopted in 1929. The wording has been changed once: Shortly after Alaska became a state in Jan. 1959, the word "Largest" in the third line was changed by Mr. Marsh to "Boldest." The text follows:

Texas, Our Texas

Texas, our Texas! all hail the mighty State!
Texas, our Texas! So wonderful, so great!
Boldest and grandest, Withstanding ev'ry test;
O Empire wide and glorious, You stand supremely blest.

Chorus
God bless you, Texas!
And keep you brave and strong,
That you may grow in power and worth,
Thro'out the ages long.

Refrain
Texas, O Texas! Your freeborn Single Star,
Sends out its radiance To nations near and far.
Emblem of freedom! It sets our hearts aglow,
With thoughts of San Jacinto And glorious Alamo.

Texas, dear Texas! From tyrant grip now free,
Shines forth in splendor Your Star of Destiny!
Mother of Heroes! We come your children true,
Proclaiming our allegiance, Our Faith, Our Love for you.

 

State Seal

State of Texas seal
State of Texas seal

The design of the obverse (front) of the Great Seal of the State of Texas consists of "a star of five points, encircled by olive and live oak branches, and the words, 'The State of Texas'." (State Constitution, Art. IV, Sec. 19.) This design is a slight modification of the Great Seal of the Republic of Texas, adopted by the Congress of the Republic, Dec. 10, 1836, and readopted with modifications in 1839. An official design for the reverse (back) of the seal was adopted by the 57th Legislature in 1961, but there were discrepancies between the written description and the artistic rendering that was adopted at the same time. To resolve the problems, the 72nd Legislature in 1991 adopted an official design " . . . the design for the reverse side of the Great Seal of Texas shall consist of a shield, the lower half of which is divided into two parts; on the shield's lower left is a depiction of the cannon of the Battle of Gonzales; on the shield's lower right is a depiction of Vince's Bridge; on the upper half of the shield is a depiction of the Alamo; the shield is circled by live oak and olive branches, and the unfurled flags of the Kingdom of France, the Kingdom of Spain, the United Mexican States, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America; above the shield is emblazoned the motto, "REMEMBER THE ALAMO", and beneath the shield are the words, "TEXAS ONE AND INDIVISIBLE"; over the entire shield, centered between the flags, is a white five-pointed star . . ." Since the description of the design of the reverse of the seal was contained in a concurrent resolution rather than a bill, the design is not a matter of law but can be considered the intent of the Legislature. (CR 159, 72nd Legislature, May 1991).

 

State Citizenship Designation

The people of Texas usually call themselves Texans. However, Texian was generally used in the early period of the state's history.

 

State Motto

The state motto of Texas is "Friendship." The word, Texas, or Tejas, was the Spanish pronunciation of a Caddo Indian word meaning "friends" or "allies." (Acts of 1930, fourth called session of the 41st Legislature, p. 105.)

 

 

Texas State Symbols

 

Mockingbird
Mockingbird

State Bird
The mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is the state bird of Texas, adopted by the 40th Legislature of 1927 at the request of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs.

Bluebonnet
Bluebonnet

 

State Flower
The state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet, also sometimes called buffalo clover, wolf flower and el conejo (the rabbit). The bluebonnet was adopted as the state flower, at the request of the Society of Colonial Dames in Texas, by the 27th Legislature in 1901. The original resolution designated Lupinus subcarnosus as the state flower, but a resolution by the 62nd Legislature in 1971 provided legal status as the state flower of Texas for "Lupinus Texensis and any other variety of bluebonnet."

Pecan Tree
Pecan Tree

 

State Tree
The pecan tree (Carya illinoinensis) is the state tree of Texas. The sentiment that led to its official adoption probably grew out of the request of Gov. James Stephen Hogg that a pecan tree be planted at his grave. The 36th Legislature in 1919 adopted the pecan tree.

 

Other Symbols

 

(In 2001, the Texas Legislature placed restrictions on the adoption of future symbols by requiring that a joint resolution to designate a symbol must specify the item's historical or cultural significance to the state.)

State Air Force
The Commemorative Air Force (formerly known as the Confederate Air Force), based in Midland at Midland International Airport, was proclaimed the state air force of Texas by the 71st Legislature in 1989.

State Bread
Pan de campo, translated "camp bread" and often called cowboy bread, was named the state bread by the 79th Legislature in 2005. It is a simple baking-powder bread that was a staple of early Texans and often baked in a Dutch oven.

Dutch oven
Dutch oven

State Cooking Implement
The cast iron Dutch oven was named the cooking implement of Texas by the 79th Legislature in 2005.

State Dinosaur
The Brachiosaur Sauropod, Pleurocoelus, was designated the state dinosaur by the 75th Legislature in 1997.

State Dish
Chili was proclaimed the Texas state dish by the 65th Legislature in 1977.

Blue Lacy
Blue Lacy

State Dog Breed
The Blue Lacy was designated the state dog breed by the 79th Legislature in 2005. The Blue Lacy is a herding and hunting breed descended from greyhound, scent-hound, and coyote stock and developed by the Lacy brothers, who left Kentucky and settled near Marble Falls in 1858.

 

State Epic Poem
"The Legend of Old Stone Ranch," written by John Worth Cloud, was named the epic poem of Texas by the 61st Legislature in 1969. The work is a 400-page history of the Albany–Fort Griffin area written in verse form.

State Fiber and Fabric
Cotton was designated the state fiber and fabric by the 75th Legislature in 1997.

Guadalupe  bass
Guadalupe bass

State Fish
The Guadalupe bass, a member of the genus Micropterus within the sunfish family, was named the state fish of Texas by the 71st Legislature in 1989. It is one of a group of fish collectively known as black bass.

State Flower Song
"Bluebonnets," written by Julia D. Booth and Lora C. Crockett, was named the state flower song by the 43rd Legislature in 1933.

State Folk Dance
The square dance was designated the state folk dance by the 72nd Legislature in 1991.

State Fruit
The Texas red grapefruit was designated the state fruit by the 73rd Legislature in 1993.

Lone Star Cut
Lone Star Cut

 

State Gem
Texas blue topaz, the state gem of Texas, is found in the Llano uplift area in Central Texas, especially west to northwest of Mason. It was designated by the 61st Legislature in 1969.

State Gemstone Cut
The Lone Star Cut was named the state gemstone cut by the 65th Legislature in 1977.

Sideoats grama
Sideoats grama


State Grass
Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), a native grass found on many different soils, was designated the state grass of Texas by the 62nd Legislature in 1971.


State Health Nut
The pecan was designated the state nut by the 77th Legislature in 2001.

Butterfly
Monarch butterfly

 

State Insect
The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) was designated the state insect by the 74th Legislature in 1995.

State Mammals
The armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) was designated the state small mammal; the longhorn was designated the state large mammal; and the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) was designated the state flying mammal by the 74th Legislature in 1995.

State Musical Instrument
The guitar was named the state musical instrument by the 75th Legislature in 1997.

State Native Pepper
The chiltepin was named the native pepper of Texas by the 75th Legislature in 1997.

State Native Shrub
The Texas purple sage (leucophyllum frutescens) was designated the state native shrub by the 79th Legislature in 2005.

State Pepper
The jalapeño pepper was designated the state pepper by the 74th Legislature in 1995.

Prickly  pear cactus
Prickly pear cactus

State Plant
The prickly pear cactus was named the state plant by the 74th Legislature in 1995.

State Plays
The four official state plays of Texas are The Lone Star, Texas, Beyond the Sundown, and Fandangle. They were designated by the 66th Legislature in 1979.

State Precious Metal
Silver was named the official precious metal by the 80th Legislature in 2007.

State Railroad
The Texas State Railroad was designated the state railroad by the 78th Legislature in 2003. The Texas State Railroad is a steam powered tourist excursion train operated by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Its 25 miles of track meander through the East Texas piney woods and across the Neches River between the towns of Rusk and Palestine.

State Reptile
The Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) was named the state reptile by the 73rd Legislature in 1993.

Lightning  whelk
Lightning whelk


State Seashell
The lightning whelk (Busycon perversum pulleyi) was named the official state seashell by the 70th Legislature in 1987. One of the few shells that open on the left side, the lightning whelk is named for its colored stripes. It is found on the Gulf Coast.




State Ship
The battleship USS Texas was designated the state ship by the 74th Legislature in 1995. The USS Texas was launched on May 18, 1912, from Newport News, VA, and commissioned on March 12, 1914. In 1919, it became the first U.S. battleship to launch an aircraft, and in 1939 it received the first commercial radar in the U.S. Navy. It participated in both World Wars I and II. In 1940, the Texas was designated flagship of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. It was decommissioned on April 21, 1948, and is a National Historic Landmark and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark. It is at the San Jacinto Battleground near Houston.

State Shoe
The cowboy boot was named the state shoe by the 80th Legislature in 2007.

State Shrub
The crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) was designated the official state shrub by the 75th Legislature in 1997.

State Snack
Tortilla chips and salsa was designated the official state snack by the 78th Legislature in 2003 at the request of second-grade students in Mission.

State Sport
Rodeo was named the state sport of Texas by the 75th Legislature in 1997.

Petrified palmwood
Petrified palmwood

 

State Stone
Petrified palmwood, found in Texas principally in eastern counties near the Texas Gulf Coast, was designated the state stone by the 61st Legislature in 1969.




State Tall Ship
The Elissa was named the state tall ship by the 79th Legislature in 2005. The 1877 ship makes its home at the Texas Seaport Museum at the port of Galveston.

Texas Bluebonnet Tartan
Texas Bluebonnet Tartan


State Tartan
The Texas Bluebonnet Tartan was named the official state tartan by the 71st Texas Legislature in 1989.

State Tie
The bolo tie was designated the state tie by the 80th Legislature in 2007.

State Vegetable
The Texas sweet onion was designated the state vegetable by the 75th Legislature in 1997.

State Vehicle
The chuck wagon was named the state vehicle by the 79th Legislature in 2005. Texas rancher Charles Goodnight is credited with inventing the chuck wagon to carry cowboys’ food and supplies on trail drives.

State 10K
The Texas Roundup 10K, held each April in Austin, was named the state ten kilometer run by the 79th Legislature in 2005 to encourage Texans to exercise and incorporate physical activity into their daily lives