If not for Pearland, Texas, resident and flag historian Tom Green, a young student might still have the wrong idea about who fist stitched Old Glory.
Green shares his passion for flags through educational presentations. “When I begin to talk about Betsy Ross I don’t give her name, but tell the story and ask the students who I’m talking about,” he says. “Once, a little girl said Martha Stewart.”
Green, who founded the Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT) chapter in New Braunfels, Texas, and belongs to the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), developed a fascination for the Texas Republic-era flags displayed at the Alamo.
He’s now collected or made about 35 early Texas flags and 40 from the United States’ first years. “One day a teacher asked me to tell her class about them,” Green says. Since then, he’s spoken to more than 20,000 schoolchildren. Last year he gave 162 programs to schools, historical societies and civic groups.
Not bad for a guy who admits he hated history classes in school. “I want to do what I can to awaken an interest in history in as many children as possible.”
Green’s Texas roots run deep (but not, as far as he can tell, to the general for whom the state’s Tom Green County is named). His great-great-grandfather James Coltharp came to the Republic around 1843. “He built a one-room log cabin in Van Zandt County that still stands today. I spent many wonderful days visiting my cousins there.”