Joanna Troutman Biography

Joanna Troutman

designer of the first Texas flag
Born: 2/19/1818
Birthplace: Crawford County, Ga.

In 1835, Georgia raised a battalion to fight in Texas, which had issued an appeal for help in gaining independence from Mexico. The 17-year-old Troutman designed and sewed a flag of white silk, featuring a blue star with five points and two inscriptions: “Texas and Liberty” on one side, and in Latin, “Where Liberty dwells there is my country,” on the other. The battalion took the flag to Texas, where it was unfurled over the Americana Hotel in Velasco on Jan. 8, 1836. The flag was accidentally torn, but the Georgia Battalion took along the remnants as they joined Col. James W. Fanin at Goliad, in south Texas. On March 8, 1836, Fanin learned that Texas had declared its independence on March 2. He then raised the tattered flag as the national flag, making it the first flag to fly over free Texas. Later, during the battle of Goliad, and during the subsequent massacre of American prisoners by the Mexican army, the flag was destroyed.

In 1839, Troutman married S. L. Pope and moved to Elmwood, a plantation near Knoxville, Ga. They had four sons. After Pope died in 1872, she married W. G. Vinson, a state legislator. Troutman was buried in Elmwood. Ironically, she never visited Texas in her lifetime. In 1913, Texas governor Oscar B. Colquitt, a Georgia native, received permission for Troutman's remains to be interred at the State Cemetery in Austin. In 1919 a bronze sculpture designed by Pompeo L. Coppini depicting a girl sewing was erected in her memory. Her portrait hangs in the Texas state capitol building.

Died: 7/23/1879