20 April 2010

To Honor Joe's Brother

Being new to Facebook and Cemetery Explorers I feel I have been deeply honored and priviledged to be asked to contribute to this blog. Even moreso, I feel priviledged to have met Joe Dallmann who has been exceedingly supportive and encouraging. Thank you very much, Joe.

Joe mentioned that he has a brother in the military who is heading to Afghanistan and I think I speak for all here wishing he may complete his tour without incident and that he may return to his family in full health and vigor. This blog entry is to honor Joe's brother.

This is the grave of William Driver located in the old Nashville City Cemetery. Driver was an old salty dog - a wayfaring sailer of the high seas hailing from Salem, MA. It was on William's birthday in 1831 that his friends and family presented him with a gift to take with him on his next oceanic journey. They presented to him an American flag and William proudly hoisted the flag above his ship, The Charles Doggett, as he began his journey around the world.

It was on this journey that William stopped in Tahaiti where he met some of the descendents of the famed HMS Bounty who asked that he take them back to their native Picairn Islands. William Driver did so and took back to their native homeland the survivors of the legendary "Mutiny On The Bounty."

William Driver retired from sailing in 1837 after having sailed around the world on several occasions which was quite an accomplishment for his day. He settled in Nashville, TN where he had relatives. His hope was a quiet and peaceful retirement in the green gentle hills of Nashville surrounded by family and friends. William was living a gentle life and enjoying his retirement and every single day he would display that very flag which accompanied him on his journey around the world. Life was pleasant and serene. Then came the American Civil War.

When Tennessee seceeded from the Union William became fearful for he was a well known Federalist and everyone knew Driver's love for that American flag. William knew his flag was in danger so he took it and sewed it inside a comforter. Legend states that Confederate soldiers did indeed enter Driver's home on several occasions looking to confiscate and destroy his flag but it was never found. Still, William was subjected to taunts and hateful comments from those in Nashville supporting the Confederacy to the extent that he received threats of death.

When Nashville surrendered to Federal forces in 1862 William Driver took the flag which had been sewn inside the comforter and met a Regiment from Ohio as they marched into Nashville for occupation. The Regiment escorted William to the State Capitol building where his flag was then hoisted above.

Toward the end of his life, William Driver presented that old flag to his daughter with the admonition to protect it as a mother would her child. His daughter heeded the admonition and would later present the flag to the Smithsonian Institution where it was placed beside the flag which flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. William Driver's flag is considered one of the most historically significant flags in United States history and Driver's grave is one of only three places in the United States officially authorized by an act of Congress to fly the American flag twenty four hours per day.

You see, William Driver had given a name to his flag back in 1831 when it was presented to him and through all the years he called his flag by name - a name which caught on with the American populace. William Driver named his flag....... "Old Glory." And now you know the rest of the story.


  1. Thank you for educating me on a important piece of American history.And I add my wishes for a speedy and safe homecoming for Deez's brother-and all the others over there.


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