Driver moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the end of A widower, he soon remarried and had a large family. On holidays, the large flag would be draped across the street for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. Then in came secession fever. The flag of the United States was regarded with hostility.
He returned home, and hid the comforter. More than once, he stood his ground against hostile search parties who came looking for the flag. Driver learned that Union troops would be landing at the wharf, and he rushed to greet them. He made profits in the tortoise-shell trade, and could converse a bit in Fijian. Family memoirs tell stories of him seizing the wheel of his ship himself in gales, and facing down a hostile tribal chief in New Zealand with a pistol in hand and a dirk in his mouth. He was taking a bit of America to uncharted territories and he felt very proud that this was the symbol he flew under.
He took a piece of his home with him wherever he went. In , Driver gave up seafaring after his wife, Martha Silsbee Babbage, died from throat cancer, leaving him with three young children. Driver decided to settle in Nashville, where his three brothers had opened a store. Only 34 years old, he quickly remarried the next year, choosing a Southern girl less than half his age, Sarah Jane Parks, and started a second family that grew to nine children. It was so large that he attached it to a rope from his attic window and stretched it on a pulley across the street to secure it to a locust tree.
How the Flag Came to be Called Old Glory
Two of his sons were fervent Confederates and enlisted in local regiments; one of them would later die of his wounds at the Battle of Perryville. One can only imagine the tensions between the Salem-born and Nashville-born Drivers, whose relations may have already been strained by first- and second-family rivalry. My entire house estranged Local Confederates attempted to seize Old Glory soon after Tennessee seceded. When Gov. Isham G. Picture a defiant year-old with a chest still barrel-full and an out-thrust chin. Cowed, the committee left the premises. Unsatisfied, local guerrillas made another attempt to seize the flag.
Driver, by now convinced that the flag was in imminent danger, decided to hide it. With the help of the more loyal women in a neighboring household, it was sewn into a coverlet.
It remained there until late February , when Nashville became the first Southern capital to fall. Union troops led by the Sixth Ohio entered the city. When Driver saw the Stars and Stripes and regimental colors of the Sixth Ohio go up the flagstaff of the capitol, he made his way there and sought out the Union commander, Gen.
I wish to see him. Driver—an honest-looking, blunt-speaking man, was evidently a character; he carried on his arm a calico-covered bedquilt; and, when satisfied that Gen. Nelson was the officer in command, he pulled out his jack-knife and began to rip open the bedquilt without another word. We were puzzled to think what his conduct meant.
I have had hard work to save it; my house has been searched for it more than once. General Nelson accepted the flag and ordered it run up on the statehouse flagstaff. The confusion over flags began later that night, when a storm threatened to tear the banner to pieces.
Captain William Driver Award for Presentations
Driver apparently replaced it with a newer, stronger one, and once again stowed Old Glory away for safekeeping. There were also reports that Driver gave a flag to the Sixth Ohio as it left the city. According to Roland, however, the main flag remained stored in the Driver home until December and the second battle for Nashville. Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood fought his army to bits trying to retake the city.
According to Roland, several years before his death, he gave her the flag as a gift, on July 10, William Driver died on March 3, , and was buried in Nashville. That same year saw the genesis of the family feud over the flag when his niece, Harriet Ruth Waters Cooke, daughter of his youngest sister and a Salem-born socialite highly conscious of her genealogy, claimed to have inherited it. Roland fought back.
Harding, who in turn delivered it to the Smithsonian.
William Driver | Off the Shelf
In , Driver moved to Nashville, Tennessee, staying until his death in A memorial to Capt. The idea came from the school children of Salem after hearing stirring lectures from Capt. Henry Nichols , U. The children collected their spare change to raise money for the stone monument and the flagpole erected at the site. The flagpole at the site was dedicated to Capt.
Nichols who inspired the children in their project by his lectures and visits to their schools.