Missouri State Flag
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The Missouri state flag was finally designed by Ray County native Marie Watkins Oliver. Known as the “Betsy Ross of Missouri,” Marie was chosen by her fellow Daughters of the American Revolution members in 1908 to chair a committee for the research and long-overdue creation of a state banner.

She completed the flag and took it to the state Capitol in Jefferson City for viewing by the legislature that year, but the bills to make it the official flag were voted down twice, in 1909 and in 1911. The original flag she made burned during the fire that destroyed the Capitol building in 1911, so Marie and another woman re-created the flag. Finally, the flag gained acceptance in 1913. It features heraldic symbols and devices, including the state seal is encircled by a white band that features the state’s motto “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” and “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto,” which means “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.” The seal in the center also boasts three bears, the larger two representing “courage” and “strength.” Ironically, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation, “The bears on the Great Seal of the State of Missouri are grizzly bears, which never resided in the state.”

This article was excerpted in part from our article about the state flag’s history, which is an in-depth investigation into why the flag features grizzlies in the first place, since they are not native to the state.