Flag Day is celebrated every June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Many don’t know Flag Day has direct ties to a small New Jersey hamlet known as the village of Liberty Corner, an American town with an American story.
The Mr. Local History Project looks back at one of Liberty Corner, New Jersey’s original founding families who are known worldwide for their manufacturing of “old glory” that have been seen around the world and even on the moon.
Annin’s Corner and the Liberty Pole
Nothing has been more profound to Liberty Corner than the Annin family. Founded in Verona, New Jersey, the Annin Flag Company was started by his Alexander. and three of his siblings who’s Scottish heritage landing them in Basking Ridge back in the 1720s.
The Annin’s are one of the founding families of what was originally known as the Basking Ridge area. Back in the early 1700s many Scottish families fled religious persecution and landed in the area based on information gathered from other Scots in the same situation.
Johnathan Johnston purchased land and the area and the area soon became known as Annin’s Corner. When the Revolutionary war began, Annin’s Corner was situated between Continental army encampments in Middlebrook (Bound Brook) and Morristown and when a liberty pole was anchored in the village center the name was changed to Liberty Corner.
Annin’s and the Flag Company
In company history, 1766 is most signiﬁcant not for William Annin’s stone house being built just of Lyons Road, but for the birth of Alexander Annin , the youngest son of William and the father of the Alexander Annin who started the flag making venture.
The world’s largest and oldest flag company, Annin & Co. and its 500 employees produce literally miles of stripes and a multitude of stars that go into 15 million U.S. flags a year. All are made in the U.S.A.—at manufacturing plants in Verona, N.J. (pop. 13,533), South Boston, Va. (pop, 8,491), and Coshocton, Ohio (pop. 11,682).
The Annin Flag Company story began when Alexander Annin opened a ship chandlery at 99 Fulton Street in lower Manhattan in 1820. He was just 23 years old, the third Annin son in a family of 11 children. But it was his sons Edward and Benjamin Annin that formally founded the Annin Flag Company in 1847 cementing their place in American history becoming the largest American flagmaker in the world.
Edward and Benjamin Annin
At the time of his retirement from active business, in January 1847, Alexander’s (John Annan’s great grandson) two older sons, Edward and Benjamin, founded the House of Annin. Edward and Benjamin were just 15 and 13 when they started the ﬂag business within their father’s existing nautical flag business. Phebe Annin Ames Palmer, Alexander’s only daughter lived to the age 103 and was also part of the family business.
Alexander’s first American flag had only 29 stars. Every U.S. Presidential inauguration since Zachary Taylor’s, in 1849, has included an Annin flag. Annin flags went with Commander Robert Peary to the North Pole (1909), with Admiral Richard Byrd to the South Pole (1929), and with Neil Armstrong to the moon (1969). An Annin flag was the first to unfurl over Iwo Jima (1945) and the first to fly over the ruins of the World Trade Center after 9/11. Annin first 29 star flag welcomed Iowa to the Union. Then 21 more followed. But the longest stretch of any American flag is the 50th lasting since 1960 when Hawaii joined the United States.
Story for the Ages
One of Annin’s most treasured legends involves a woman who came into the Fulton Street showroom to buy a Confederate flag—and who drew blood from her finger to illustrate the shade of red she wanted for it. She turned out to be the widow of Jefferson Davis, who had been president of the Southern Confederacy during the Civil War. A true story.Annin Archives
Where Have Annin’s Flags Been
No other flag company has been shown prominently than American flags made by the Annin Flag Company. In fact, in American history, if you saw an American flag, chances are it was an Annin flag. And it’s not just old glory that makes Annin proud, they’ve commissioned many other flags throughout American history. Take a look.
Folding the Flag
And as they say “The rest is history”….
Liberty Corner and Flags
Celebrating our country, our war heroes, and the flag all part of life in Liberty Corner.