Who flew the first American 'Stars and Stripes'.
We know that on February 14th, 1778 the USS Ranger under the Command of Captain John Paul Jones after leaving the home port of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and capturing two British prizes received an official salute to the new 'Stars and Stripes', one of the first American Flags, by the French Fleet at Quiberon Bay. That was the second such recorded salute to an American Ship. The first salute was comprised of a gun salute and no flag is mentioned. Because of this historic notation, I felt ir was important to depict Johns', who is now recognized as the father of the American Navy, about to fasten the 'Stars and Stripes' to a halyard aboard the Ranger.
The Ranger, a Sloop of War, which is a small frigate, was also built in the old Portsmouth Shipyard, located on Badger's Island, in Kittery, Maine on the Piscataqua River, directly across from Portsmouth, NH. John Paul lived in a boarding house, which still stands in Portsmouth, at it's original location, while the Ranger was completed and fitted out. Known in the town, he was a handsome and eligible bachelor who may have gained the favor of a number of women who sewed him the flag used in the 'French Salute'
John Paul Jones
Bill Osmundsen works on a clay study of John Paul Jones' head, using Houdon's Bust for a model.
Sculpting done at the John Paul Jones House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.