Patriotic Accent at the James Andrews House
First of all Happy Fourth of July, or Independence Day if you prefer, and second yes I know that the weather currently in Annapolis is far from bright and sunny. However I’m posting this photograph featuring a replica of John Shaw’s late 18th century American Flag hanging at the circa 1850 James Andrews House that I took a few days ago. Since it was taken on a picturesque sun filled afternoon, so as to determine the best perspective to photograph it from on the 4th, and seeing that today’s overcast skies are less than desirable I’ve opted to post this one instead.
John Shaw in Annapolis Maryland
For those interested Mr. John Shaw was a Scottish born craftsman who came to Annapolis in the 1760’s. After arriving in the City he trained and worked as a cabinet maker and by 1768 was engaged as a craftsman for notable residents such as Mr. John Brice. By the early 1770’s Mr. Shaw and fellow Scotsman Mr. Chisholm, also a cabinet maker, partnered in a successful City cabinet making business. In 1776 Mr. Shaw started his own cabinet making concern in Annapolis. In addition to being a noted cabinet maker Mr. Shaw was also an undertaker as well as a flag maker. It was upon completion of the Maryland State House in the late 1770’s that Mr. Shaw also became its informal caretaker as well as building most of the legislative chambers furniture. To associate Mr. Shaw with Annapolis today one only has to walk past his still standing 18th century house and workshop at 21 State Circle, across from the State House, in order to do so. Originally built as a residence and shop for the butcher Cornelius Brooksby, Jr. in 1720 Mr. Shaw purchased the house in 1784. Note that today Mr. Shaw’s former house serves as offices for the State of Maryland.
Origins and Design of Mr. Shaw’s 1780’s American Flag
As to the history of this particular American Flag Mr. Shaw was commissioned by then Maryland Governor William Paca in late 1783 to design a flag that would be flown at the State House while the Continental Congress was in session during late 1783 and early 1784. Mr. Shaw designed two similar style flags with the first having top and bottom white stripes that featured alternating red and white stripes between, as seen displayed on the James Andrews House above. The second of Mr. Shaw’s American Flags featured top and bottom red stripes with alternating white and red stripes between. Both flags included three groups of white stars on a blue field, four on either side of the five stars set in the middle, that together represented the thirteen original colonies.
Hardly ever flown in the Historic District yet on an occasion or two I have seen Mr. Shaw’s American Flag displayed on Pinkney Street and also King George Street as well. Well this concludes today’s Independence Day look back in Annapolis 18th century history and I hoped that you enjoyed it.
Have a safe and pleasant Fourth of July,
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