The Bennington flag illustrates a unique interpretation of the original Flag law before the official design was available. It contains thirteen seven pointed stars white on a blue field representing a new constellation and the digits 76 the sum of which is 13. The stripes are alternate white and red instead of red and white. This flag played a leading part in the famous Molly Stark episode at Bennington, Vermont, August 16, 1777.
Col. John Stark, a hero of Bunker Hill was charged with the defense of supplies stored at Bennington against an attacking party of 1000 British. His force was a small determined band of Green Mountain Boys.
Upon the approach of the red coated British, Col. Stark said to his men,
There they are, boys; we must beat them today or Molly Stark’s a widow.”
It was a disastrous battle for the British and less than a hundred ever got back to Burgoyne’s Army. This flag was taken into service by Nathaniel Fillmore, father of President Fillmore. It is preserved at Illinois State Headquarters of the G. A. R., being loaned by Mrs. Maude Fillmore Wilson.
Originally believed to have been carried during the Revolution, the Bennington flag is now seen as having probably been made for the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1826. Its design is typical of the exuberant artistic expressions found in flags of the 19th century.