Remember When

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 7, 2011 and The Weekly Packet, July 6, 1961
13-star flag at Wood home flew over lumber schooner
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by Sharon Abbott

An American flag- -and a large one- -caused considerable comment July 4th from people who traveled the road from East Blue Hill to Blue Hill.

For the flag, at the home of Miss Esther Wood and her mother, Mrs. John Wood, contains but 13 stars in its field of blue.

And there is a story behind the flag, because it belonged to Mrs. Wood’s father, Capt Giles J. Wood, who flew it on his schooner Meridian.

The schooner regularly took lumber to Charleston, S.C. and brought cotton back to Brunswick. Occasionally, the Meridian carried fish and “ventures” (“odds and ends” that were given to the captain as a type of barter) and traveled to the West Indies.

“I don’t now why he had that flag unless it is customary to have a thirteen-star flag aboard ship,” remarked Miss Wood.

110 YEARS OLD

The flag is hand made and believed to be over 110 years old. Except for a small patch in the lower right-hand corner, the flag is in its original condition. It is made of wool bunting.

There is a seam in the blue field. The five-point stars are arranged in the orthodox manner. And there are thirteen red and white stripes. This national standard is larger than the front door of the Wood’s home at Friend’s Corner, East Blue Hill.

Mrs. Wood has had the flag for 63 years. She stores it in an old pine sea chest that belonged to Capt. Wood. “And there is a story with that chest,” Mrs. Wood added.

CAUGHT IN SQUALL

The schooner New Yorker, owned at the time by Capt. Wood, was caught in a squall in New York Harbor. The ship went down.

The first mate, a Norwegian named Harry Proctor, was last seen clinging to the old sea chest. The chest was salvaged but Proctor was not. The chest was later used by the captain and eventually came, with the flag, into Mrs. Wood’s ownership.