In 1916, Wyoming did not have an official state flag. Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard, a professor at the University of Wyoming and regent for the state chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, suggested to the Daughters of the American Revolution that a flag should be designed for the state. A competition for the design of an official Wyoming state flag was announced, with prize of $20.00. |
The competition was widely advertised and it caught the attention of Wilbur Parke Keays, who then suggested to his daughter that she submit an entry. Verna Keays was a recent graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, so she was certainly qualified but she lacked motivation. However, as the deadline for submission of a design drew near, her father's pleas became more frequent.
One night Verna awakened from a sound sleep and a design for the state flag came to her. The next morning Verna recreated the design that had come to her in the night. Several days after Verna submitted her design, Dr. Hebard called her from Sheridan to inform her that her design had been awarded first place from among the thirty-seven entries. Verna was invited to Sheridan to speak and accept her $20.00 prize.
The State Legislature approved the new flag and on January 13, 1917 it was officially adopted by Governor Robert D. Carey.
The original design of the Wyoming flag had the bison facing away from the flagpole toward the plains to represent how it once roamed free through the state. But Grace Raymond Hebard, who thought up the design contest, disagreed. She faced the buffalo the opposite direction which she believed improved composition and design balance. Despite state legislative adoption of the original design, the flags were and still are manufactured as Hebard decided.
The flag has a deep blue field surrounded by white and red borders. A white bison dominates the flag; it has the state seal in the center, representing the custom of branding.. The colors of the State Flag are the same as those of the National Flag. The red border represents the Indian; also the blood of the pioneers who gave their lives reclaiming the soil. White is the emblem of purity and uprightness over Wyoming. Blue, the color of the sky and mountains, is symbolic of fidelity, justice and virility. Back to the Facts Page
THE LEGEND OF THE FLAG
By Verna Keays
The great seal of the State of Wyoming is the heart of the flag.
The seal on the bison represents the truly western custom of Branding. The bison was once "monarch of the plains".
The red border represents the Red Men, who knew and loved our country long before any of us were here; also, the blood of the pioneers who gave their lives in reclaiming the soil.
White is an emblem of purity and uprightness over Wyoming.
Blue, which is found in the bluest of blue Wyoming skies and the distant mountains, has through the ages "been significant of fidelity, justice and virility.
And finally, the red, the white and the blue of the flag of the State of Wyoming are the colors of the greatest flag in all the world, the Stars and Stripes of the United States of America.
An Act to adopt a State Flag.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Wyoming:Section 1. That a State Flag be, and is hereby adopted to be used on all occasions when the State is officially and publicly represented, with the privilege of use by all citizens upon such occasions as they may deem fitting and appropriate. The width of said flag shall be seven-tenths of its length; the outside border to be in red, the width of which shall be one-twentieth of the length of the flag; next to said border shall be a stripe of white on the four sides of the field-, which shall be in width one-fortieth of the length of said flag. The remainder of said flag to be a blue field, in the center of which shall be a white silhouetted buffalo, the length of which shall be one-half of the length of the said blue field; the other measurements of said buffalo to be in proportion to its length. On the ribs of said buffalo shall be the great seal of the State of Wyoming in blue. Said seal shall be in diameter one-fifth the length of said flag. Attached to the flag shall be a cord of gold with gold tassels. The colors to be used in said flag, as red, white and blue, shall be the same colors used in the flag of the United States of America.
SEC. 2. All penalties provided by the laws of this State for the misuse of the national flag shall be applicable to the State flag.
Sec. 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
Approved January 31, 1917.
From, "Session Laws Of Wyoming, 1917, Chapter 8."
|Address Given Upon Presentation of the State Flag at Joint Session of the Wyoming Legislature, February, 1919:|
Your Excellency, The Governor of Wyoming, Mr. President of the Senate, Mr. Speaker of the House, Members of the Fifteenth State Legislature of Wyoming, it has been indeed an honor that has been conferred upon me by the Daughters of the American Revolution of Wyoming that I be permitted to address you for a few moments this afternoon.
I represent an organization in the United States having a membership of one hundred and thirty thousand women who are descendants of those who fought and won democracy for us. In this organization it has been the purpose to preserve the records of deeds performed by those through whose ancestry we became members of this organization. With the breaking out of the Great War in 1914 the Daughters of Wyoming and elsewhere assumed a new work, that pf helping to make history rather than to record history. During the years that we have had war, the Daughters of the American Revolution of Wyoming, represented by.four Chapters, in Laramie, Cheyenne, Sheridan and Casper, have devoted their entire time, energies and money to material things in helping to serve the war. The Daughters with the help of other skilled women have furnished to the five hundred men on the Battleship "Wyoming" all their knitted material in the way of sweaters, helmets, socks, wristlets and scarfs. Not only this, but the Daughters have been instrumental in securing two large ambulances which have been sent to France. They have also been busy and active leaders in all Red Cross work.
We wish to thank the members of this Legislature and other Legislatures for the generous response which they have made to our requests in adopting a State Flower, the Indian Paint Brush, for setting aside a day for Wyoming Day, the loth of December, which is the day in 1869 when the Woman Suffrage Bill was signed by Governor Campbell of our then Territory. We wish to thank you today particularly for adopting a State Flag, a State Flag of red, white and blue with a silhouetted buffalo in the center and the seal of the State branded upon his ribs. The prime reason we asked to have the State Flag adopted at the time we did, in January, 1917, was because at that time there was immediate danger of our being drawn into the war actively and it was thought that the State Flag would be a proper emblem for our soldier boys to take with them to camp or battlefield; hence, we are grateful to you for your graciousness in accepting the design which has now becpme our State Flag, the design by Miss Verna Keays, of Buffalo, Wyoming, won in competition with thirty-six other designs. That this Flag has been appreciated as representing Wyoming with her freedom, her pure air, her fearlessness and sacrifice, might be cited the instance of one of our Wyoming boys, a flier in France, who has taken the buffalo as the insignia of his flying squad, the design following the one used in our State Flag. On the sides of his machine flying in the air over the battle line in France was this "first Governor" of Wyoming, as the buffalo has been called. That other boys think of Wyoming in that far distant land of France can also be instanced by one boy calling his machine "Shy Anne". In speaking of those who are fighting for us in the trenches, may I ask you honorable gentlemen, our lawmakers, that you will in some way make provision at this Legislature to give them, upon their return, work, hard work, plenty of work, with ample compensation. They went away boys, they are returning as men, they return as outof-door men and want active, constructive work. They are asking us not to make heroes of them, they are asking what is their due, that they have plenty of work. If those who represent us in France had not fought so valiantly and successfully, you, who are here assembled today, would not be making the laws which will govern the citizens of.Wyoming, but the laws of Wyoming would have been made in Berlin by the now uncrowned emperor of Germany.
In behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Wyoming, I present to you, Governor Robert Davis Carey, the emblem of our State and ask you in the name of our organization to accept it for the State of Wyoming with our appreciation for what the State, through its Legislatures, has done for the Daughters of the American Revolution and ask you to accept it as a recognition of the spirit of the fighters of the State who are proud of you and have faith in you as our Chief Executive.
Grace Raymond Hebard,
University of Wyoming.
Banker, Stockman, Law Maker, Raised First Garrison Flag
Son Introduced State Flag Bill
One of Wyoming's pioneer boys, who played his part in the stirring Indian troubles in 1866, and who had the honor of making the pole and raising the first garrison flag to be unfurled between the Platte and Montana, at Fort Phil Kearney, October 31, 1866, is William Daley, President of the Rawlins National Bank, prominent stockman of Carbon County, and member of the early territorial legislatures. This flag was later presented to Mr. Daley by Col. Carrington, commander of the fort, and is yet in Mr. Daley's possession, a cherished relic.
During the session of the Fourteenth State Legislature, Senator W. W. Daley, of Rawlins, a native son of Wyoming and son of William Daley, introduced the State Flag Bill with a most enthusiastic and patriotic address. The flag was adopted. The State Historical Department opened March 1, 1919, and on March 5th received as a gift from the designer of the flag, Miss Verna Keays, of Buffalo, the framed original sketch, which carries accession number One.
|The Carbon County Museum owns an original Wyoming flag. It was donated to the Carbon County Museum in 1947 by Mr. and Mrs. P.E. Daley. The flag was presented to Mr. P.E. Daley's father, W.W. Daley, when he was president of the Wyoming State Senate.|