13 star flag

The flag belonging to John Grimm displayed in the museum.

When I step inside the Bingham County Historical Society Museum, I feel like I am walking on sacred ground. So many beautiful artifacts are housed in the museum, many by local residents and some that are not from Bingham County. But all are priceless donations from their lives.

A very special treasure is a 13 Star flag purchased by Johannes “John” Grimm. He came to America at age 17 from Germany in 1877. Intensely patriotic, he felt his citizenship and showed it by purchasing the flag soon after his arrival in the United States. Mr. Grimm came to Salt Lake City and eventually settled in Lewisville, Idaho. He married Mary Crabtree in Utah in 1894. They had a son, John Rio Grimm. John Sr. passed away in 1931.

The flag was donated by his daughter-in-law, Gladys Grimm, of Blackfoot on July 4, 1976. It is believed that the flag was made in 1777. This flag is on display in a special case in the museum.

The 13 Star Flag is the most common and popular colonial flag to this day. It became the official flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, now known as Flag Day. You may have seen variations of this flag. The original Flag Resolution did not specify how the stars were to be arranged on the field of blue.

Prior to American Independence, many different flags were used by American colonists for military regiments. These flags were variations of existing British flags since the colonists were British subjects and the colonies were part of the British Empire.

Once the colonists declared their independence, it became desirable for the new United States to have its own flag. Congress passed the Flag Resolution of 1777 on June 14th of that year. The Flag Resolution reads:

“Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

There were no specifics as to how the arrangement should be. Over time, certain versions became more common and eventually Congress defined more clearly what American flags should look like.

It is generally agreed that the stars on the 13 Star Flag were chosen to represent the 13 colonies and the stars replaced the British Union. The Union was the familiar symbol of the British flag. The Union flag was created when Scotland and England joined as one empire in 1707.

The Museum is not open yet this summer. There are a few things that need to be fixed before we can open. We are excited for it to open and hope that it will be soon!