The Woman on our $10 Bill – Mary Young Pickersgill

Written by:

— Douglas Westfall, American Historian
— Marko Rudela, Author

This theme on the new $10 bill is not about individuals, not about causes, not about race, nor about gender — but about America and America’s freedom. Who better than to represent that ideal than Mary Young, the woman who made America’s Flag: the Star-Spangled Banner.

The new $10 note should revolve around the theme of democracy — freedom. The current portraits on US bills are not about those Americans, nor do they represent those individuals but the portraits do represent America. All of the bills we American’s see daily carry this message.

George Washington is America’s founding Father; Thomas Jefferson crafted America’s Constitution; Abraham Lincoln held America together in a time of crisis; Alexander Hamilton defended America during the Revolutionary War; Andrew Jackson defended America during the War of 1812; Ulysses S. Grant defended America during the Civil War and Benjamin Franklin — created the forerunner of our American Congress.

While there are two notable women on our present-day coinage, the one woman who has been on our currency for over two hundred years, is Miss Liberty. Representing freedom, her image is the theme of the new bills. Yet in this time of change, there will soon be a woman on our $10 bills.

Again, this theme is not about individuals, not about causes, not about race, nor about gender — but about America and America’s freedom. Who better than to represent that ideal than Mary Young, the woman who made America’s Flag, the Star-Spangled Banner. Flag making was in her heritage as her mother made flags as well.

Mary Young’s mother Rebecca Flower Young, made the flags for Washington’s Army — indeed Rebecca made the flag for Washington’s Inauguration. Rebecca worked with Mary and Rebecca’s granddaughter’s Caroline, Eliza, and Margaret along with an indentured African American girl to craft the Great Flag.

Sewing the pieces in her home, this widow with her aged mother and the young girls, then assembled the great flag in a warehouse. It is not that Mary made this one flag, she made dozens — if not hundreds. As did her mother Rebecca before her. It is not that Mary just made the Star-Spangled Banner — she made two.

Mary crafted the Star-Spangled Banner, a 30 x 42 foot garrison flag along with the 17 x 25 foot storm flag, both of which were flown over Fort McHenry. It was this larger garrison flag which Francis Scott Key watched as he wrote his poem during that great battle of 1814 against the British — while he was held prisoner.

That poem which became America’s National Anthem — the song that we all stand to salute our Freedom at nearly every single event today, was written while looking at Mary’s flag. From a Presidential Inauguration to a high school football game, we American’s stand to our national anthem.

We stand for our American Flag and to our National Anthem. We salute our freedom, our country and our flag — and the anthem that comes from battle, the anthem that means freedom — the anthem that comes from the flag of Mary Young. Who better than to represent that ideal of Freedom than Mary Young, the woman who made America’s Flag — the Star-Spangled Banner.

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