Connor Scotton – Flag House Scholar 2017

Congratulations to our winner, Connor Scotton!

A bit about our winner:

Connor is a scholar-athlete and recently graduated senior from Archbishop Spalding High School in Millersville, MD. He is a member of the National Honor Society, and was a member of the Varsity Soccer team, Hockey team, and Vice-President of the Student Government Association. Earlier in his high school career he served on his class council and was elected secretary and treasurer of his class sophomore and junior years. He was also the recipient of the Sister Lucidie Pioneer Leadership Scholarship. Connor is also very active in the community, serving as a teaching assistant in vacation bible school, teaching watersports to disadvantaged youth through the In His Wakes program, volunteering at the Arundel House of Hope winter relief program, delivering gifts and food to needy families in Anne Arundel county with the St. Vincent De Paul Society Christmas Share Program. He will be attending the University of Maryland in the Fall majoring in business.

2017 Question:

Considered to be the most important piece of the Flag House museum collection, the receipt for the Star-Spangled Banner is one of the only documents from Mary’s flag making business that exists today. What is the significance of this receipt as a primary source and what does it tell you about Mary Pickersgill as a business owner?

Connor’s Essay:

August 5, 1813

Major George Armistead
Fort McHenry, Maryland

Dear Sir,

I am most pleased to report to you the excellent progress being made on the sewing of the garrison flag and storm flag which we commissioned in June from Mrs. Mary Pickersgill, Albemarle Street, Baltimore. Mrs. Pickersgill, as you may not be aware, is the daughter of Mrs. Rebecca Young who sewed the very first ensign of the revolution under the direction of General Washington, himself.

Mrs. Young certainly has passed her gift for sewing on to her daughter. I personally inspected the flag, which due to its size is being pieced in the basement of Brown’s Brewery. I found the workmanship of Mrs. Pickersgill and her seamstresses, of whom her mother, daughter, nieces and two negro girls are counted, to be truly magnificent. 

The work has been slow, as the wool bunting in only eighteen inches wide, but Mrs. Pickersgill has joined the pieces with French fell seams for added strength. The women have been exceedingly diligent, often working into the night to finish the ensigns in the required time.

What impressed me most, Sir, is the sheer scale of the flag. When raised, it will measure thirty feet tall and forty-two feet long. The fifteen stripes are each two feet wide and the canton is of the deepest blue which makes the white stars shine as bright as the heavens. It will indeed serve as a caution for any English ship that attempts to enter the harbor. 

Mrs. Pickersgill is indeed a diligent seamstress but she is also meticulous in her record keeping and twice reminded me to produce a receipt upon delivery and raising of the flag tomorrow, which she requested, by your leave, to attend. 

Your humble servant,

Mr. James Calhoun Jun., Deputy Commissary