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Civil War “The Union Forever” Flag Made by Philadelphia Sailmaker, ca. 1861
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According to museum records, original owner James W. Pancoast was a farmer in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He flew this flag at the outbreak of the Civil War, but was compelled to take it down, and fled back to the North.

The flag’s date is based on the 29 months that the United States officially consisted of 34 states. Kansas was admitted to the Union on as the 34th state on January 29, 1861. West Virginia (50 trans-Allegheny counties that had been part of Virginia) were admitted as the 35th state on June 20, 1863.

“The Union Forever” was a common slogan in the North on the eve of and during the Civil War. It was the theme of poems, songs, and campaign slogans, and was printed on envelopes, campaign and recruiting broadsides, ballots, textiles, and other materials.

[U.S. FLAG - CIVIL WAR]. Large (204 x 150 in.) 34-Star Flag of the United States with an applied fabric piece across approximately three-quarters of its width, with printed motto, “The Union Forever.” Philadelphia: J. Chase, ca. 1861.

Inventory #26743       Price: $19,000

Maker of the flag:  Joseph L. Chase (1832-1900), born in Pennsylvania. Chase worked as a sailmaker in Philadelphia from 1850 to 1900, with a business at 931 South 2nd Street from 1861 to 1868, and in other locations in the city thereafter. After the Civil War, he also made awnings and tents.

Original owner of the flag:James Wriggins Pancoast (1823-1897), born in New Jersey. He married Mary C. Hart (ca. 1830-1905), and they had at least three children. In 1860, he was a farmer in Accomack County, Virginia, on the Eastern Shore, where he first flew this flag. By 1870, he was a land agent in south-central New Jersey, and in 1880, he was a stage driver.

Descended to: Mulford L. Pancoast (1860-1915), son of the original owner, to Rose Pancoast

Gifted in 1917 to the De Young Museum, San Francisco

Acquired by Kaller in 2021 when it was sold at Bonham’s to benefit the Acquisition Fund of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Condition: Slight fading, staining, fraying around hoist ties.

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