In the 1860s, during the Civil War, your state commonly came before your country and flags represented the pride soldiers had in where they came from.
Flag materials were going fast with Company A from Manitowoc failing to locate white silk to complete its flag.
Fortunately, the women of Manitowoc salvaged the situation.
“Everyone in their communities were making flags for the war effort and white silk wasn’t available,” said Amy Meyer, Manitowoc County Historical Society. “So, out of the generosity of that woman who donated the white silk, we now have a beautiful flag that we can celebrate with.”
The silk came at personal cost, but pride took priority.
“The woman who donated the white silk for the flag was going to get married, so she had purchased the white silk for her wedding dress,” she said.
The woman’s identity is lost to history, though her sacrifice would not be the last.
“When Manitowoc entered into the American Civil War, there were 104 men that went off with the flag of Company A,” said Meyer. “The flag was made from the women of Manitowoc as a remembrance of our home and a reminder for them to come back.”
From that number, about 30 soldiers from Company A would make it home.
But it is believed the pride she inspired was instrumental in bringing that many home from a war the killed more Americans than World War I and II combined.
“The company, at that time, promised that they would carry that flag with them into battle and really hold it as a symbolism of not only Manitowoc community, but their patriotic nature and what they were fighting for,” she said.
What they were fighting for and what joined them in the fight are still around almost 160 years later.
‘Civil War Days’ runs at the Manitowoc County Historical Society Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3, where you can learn about the county’s role in the war.