1905: The Bill Passes

On January 7, 1905, two years after his initial attempt, Le Roy Reeves wrote to Representative Walter W. Faw to propose for a second time the adoption of his design for the state flag.  "If you see proper, I would much appreciate it if you would cooperate with me in a little matter that is, I will admit, in great part only a matter of sentiment – the introduction and passage of a bill adopting an appropriate state flag for Tennessee."  A part of his rationale was that of state patriotism: "On a thousand occasions when absent sons of Tennessee, in parades and other places would gladly show whence they are sprung, they have not a decent rag with which to do it."

Faw responded favorably to the request and introduced the bill into the House of Representatives on Wednesday March 8, 1905.  Reeves then began a substantial letter-writing campaign, contacting a number of civic organizations and no fewer than six senators and representatives to generate support for the flag.  His lobbying efforts were ultimately successful, as the bill passed both houses on April 17, 1905.

Reeves wrote to Faw to thank him, and concluded in a moment of enthusiasm:

"Who knows but that, a hundred years hence, when measures that unquestionably are of more immediate importance are forgotten, when in some great crisis a wave of sentiment inspired by the 'crimson flag with its triune star' has turned the tide toward victory, your great-grandchildren may be proud to remember you as the one who made it possible for the idea to become a reality."


Selection from a letter from Le Roy Reeves to Representative Walter W. Faw (1905-04-18). The complete letter is available below.

The next day, Reeves began contacting printing companies to alert them to the new flag, send them the official colors and design, and purchase two flags for his personal use.

1905: The Bill Passes