Thursday, June 13, 2013

Flag Day in Savannah GA: Our Inn’s USA Flag Flies and We Tell Our Southern Stories!

Overlooking Jones Street, the American flag flies
at Zeigler House Inn's historic bed and breakfast.
SAVANNAH, Georgia (June 13, 2013) – Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the U.S. flag on June 14, 1777.

Two years earlier, June 14, 1775, the United States Army was founded when the Continental Congress authorized enlistment of ten companies of riflemen to serve the United Colonies. Through the years, the United States Army has served on every continent in defense of Liberty. Thank you, U.S. Army!

Full of pride that we live in America the Beautiful, home of the brave and free, we daily fly the American flag! We love seeing it at Zeigler House Inn on beautiful Jones Street in the historic district.

The City of Savannah history points to a Flag Day Parade in 1916.

Girl Scouts marched in a neat cluster in mass with more associations, each person waving a flag!
“The old flag probably never looked more beautiful than when it came down Bull Street like a flood….” – Source: City of Savannah, A Century of History, 1910 ~ 1919
Interesting, isn’t it? When one wants to focus on a topic like Flag Day, we stumble upon what begins with an interesting “flag” story.  Thereafter our eyes are open to so much more!
  
City Hall Flag at Half-Staff in Honor of a Woman for the First Time in 1931

We discovered an intriguing entry in Savannah history for June 28, 1931. It was the first time the American flag flew at half-staff on Savannah City Hall in honor of a woman -- Sarah Berrien Casey Morgan, a prominent citizen and 3-day alderwoman.
On July 12, 1931, The New York Times printed the news of the Savannah’s historical event.  -- Source:  City of Savannah, Savannah City Hall Centennial, 1906 ~ 2006

“Who is this woman of distinction?”

Her connections in American history are notable.  Crisscross downtown Savannah to visit the famous places in her life stream -- from the Green-Meldrim House to Colonial Cemetery, to the Old Cotton Exchange (now Freemason’s Hall), and Georgia Historical Society to Orleans Square at the Harper-Fowlkes House (home of the Georgia Society of the Cincinnati). The Berrien Mansion (circa 1800) at 322-324 East Broughton Street is now under active restoration. Historical details are below, if you’d like to follow a few spokes along the Sarah Berrien Casey Morgan trail.

Interestingly, it was Sarah’s sister, Frances Casey who married Judge Peter Meldrim. The Meldrim’s lived in the prominent Green-Meldrim House [the mansion where Union General William Sherman sent his famous Christmas telegram to President Lincoln during the Civil War] on Madison Square.  – Source:  Armstrong State College, Evelyn P. Padgett essay
“With a force of character and a wealth of gifts she [Sarah Berrien Casey Morgan] was active in the years before women came into public affairs so generally as participants….” --Source:  Editorial, Savannah Morning News, June 29, 1931.
Oh, Flag Day!  Thank you for prompting another great southern story.  Perhaps we should re-think the idea of a Savannah Flag Day Parade.  Meanwhile, let our houses fly proudly for a flood of our American Flags … not just Flag Day (June 14), but every day.   
Jackie Heinz
Zeigler House Inn, an historic Savannah bed and breakfast
innkeeper@zeiglerhouseinn.com 

Additional Information:

Sarah Berrien Casey Morgan’s Famous Ancestors -- In her ancestral line is Judge John Berrien (1711–1772), a Freemason, was a member of Solomon's Lodge No. 1, F. & A. M. at Savannah, Georgia. Solomon's Lodge No. 1, F. & A. M. was founded by the renowned freemason James Edward Oglethorpe on February 21, 1734. Solomon's Lodge at Savannah is the "Oldest Continuously Operating English Constituted Lodge of Freemasons in the Western Hemisphere".  

His son is American Revolutionary hero Major John Berrien ((1759-1815), buried in Colonial Cemetery.  Berrien served with George Washington's army at Valley Forge during the brutal winter of 1777-78. Major Berrien was the Georgia Society of Cincinnati’s president from 1795 to his death in 1815. Now under active restoration, the Berrien home -- long-boarded-up at 322-324 E. Broughton St. --  is a circa-1800 house that was placed on the 2009 list of "10 Places in Peril" by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.  Source: Savannah Morning News, Broughton Street house: Full of history, but empty for years by Chuck Mobley

The patriot soldier’s son is John MacPherson Berrien (1781–1856), United States Senator and Andrew Jackson's Attorney General, the first president of the Georgia Historical Society (1839). John M. Berrien’s oratorical powers earned him the title "American Cicero," and Chief Justice John Marshall dubbed him "the honey-tongued Georgia youth." In March 1844, Henry Clay was a guest of Hon. J. M. Berrien at the family home, still standing on northwest corner of Broughton and Habersham Streets.  

The Georgia Historical Society has The John Macpherson Berrien Award, established in 2000 and named in honor of John Macpherson Berrien, one of the founders of GHS and the Society's first president. The Berrien Award is given for a lifetime of achievement in and service to Georgia history. The award is presented annually by GHS in the Spring.

General George Washington wrote his final address to the army in 1783 from the Rock Hill, New Jersey mansion of Sarah Berrien Casey Morgan’s ancestor -- Judge John Berrien (1711–1772), a New Jersey supreme court justice, and Princeton University trustee.

It was Sarah’s grandfather, Dr. John Aloysius Casey who spearheaded the drive to raise funds for a Negro hospital in the segregated South. The Georgia Infirmary was originally located on the lands bequeathed by Rev. Thomas F. Williams, part of the original Bethesda Orphanage property. On January 31, 1833, Eben Williams sold 50 acres of land to his brother, Richard F. Williams, for the Georgia Infirmary for the relief and protection of the aged and afflicted Negroes.

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Researched and copyright (c) 2013 for Zeigler House Inn / Sandy Traub

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