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Sea Captain’s Mother Made First Old Glory

24 Star Flag

The term “Old Glory” was first applied to the United States flag by Captain William Driver of Salem, Massachusetts.

A flag, made by his mother and some local girls, was presented to Captain Driver in 1824 to honor his becoming qualified to command his own ship. At the presentation, Driver called his new flag “Old Glory,” which at that time was his own private term.

The flag was used on his many sea journeys as a merchant mariner until 1837.
After the death of his wife, Driver retired from the sea and moved with his three small children to Nashville, Tennessee. He continued to fly his “Old Glory” on holidays.

By 1861, the flag was frayed and worn. His new wife and a daughter repaired it and added enough stars to bring the total, 34, up to date. They also added an anchor in the corner.

When Tennessee seceded from the union, Driver protected his flag by having it sewn inside a comforter. When Union troops captured Nashville on February 25, 1862, Driver presented the flag to them and the army flew it over the state capitol dome.

The original Old Glory is now a part of the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

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Who Says Candlestick Jumping Not A Sport

Dryden Candle Stick

The origin of well known nursery rhymes is often obscure, and historians often disagree. Consider the following brief rhyme we’ve all know since childhood. Two different explanations are offered, and while both are interesting, they cannot both be right. Choose the one you like best.

Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over
The candle stick.

The Annotated Mother Goose, by W. W. and Ceil Baring-Gould, says that jumping over a candle was both a sport and a way of telling fortunes in England for centuries. A candlestick with a lighted candle on it was placed on the floor. A person who could jump over it without putting out the flame was assured of having good luck for a full year.

In The Early American House, by Mary Earle Gould (the name similarity is a coincidence,) an entirely different viewpoint is offered. During the candle making process, the wicks were cut twice the length of the candle, doubled, and twisted to make one slender cord with a loop at the end.

A candle rod, which was a slender, smooth stick of birch or hickory, was thrust through the loops of several wicks. Two chairs were placed back to back, and rods about 24 inches long were placed on top of the backs. On these rods rested six or eight of the shorter candle rods holding the wicks. Thus, 30 to 40 candles could be prepared at a time. According to this author, Jack’s candle stick was one of those long sticks resting on the chair.

It would certainly represent more of a feat to jump over an object as high as a chair back than over a short candle in a holder placed on the floor. But, of course, if Jack was a very small person, that candle on the floor might seem very high.

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Surprising Find
Mortician's Portable Cooling Table

One finds surprising things in antique shops. These pieces can give us a glimpse of the past that is totally unexpected - and not always particularly pleasant to think about. This item is one of those. It is a folding, portable mortician’s cooling table. It has a patent date of 1886. Priced at $550, the dealer suggested it would make a great coffee table/conversation piece. We found it in Cheshire Antiques in Gardnerville, Nevada.

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