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Oklahoma State Flags 



The first flag of Oklahoma was adopted in the year of 1911 four years after Oklahoma became a state.  Taking the colors of red, white and blue from the United States Flag, the flag featured a large white star fimbrated in blue on a red background.  The number 46 was written in blue in the center of the star, symbolizing the fact that Oklahoma was the 46th state admitted into the union.  This flag was designed and made by Ruth D. Dickensenson Clement, her flag was approved by Governor Cruce and was flown the first time on a train bound to Washington D. C. for the Presidential inaguration of Woodrow Wilson in 1913.  This remained the state flag until it was replaced in 1925.  At that time it was decided to change the flag due to similarities of the Russian flag, and so The Daughters of the American Revolution once again held a contest to find a new design.  

  The winning design for the new Oklahoma State Flag that was selected honors more than 60 groups of Native Americans and their ancestors. The blue field comes from a flag carried by Choctaw soldiers during the civil war. The center shield is the battle shield of an Osage warrior. It is made of buffalo hide and decorated with eagle feathers. Two symbols of peace lie across the shield. One is the calumet, or peace pipe. The other is an olive branch. Crosses on the shield are Native American signs for stars, representing high ideals.  It was designed by artist Louise Funk Fluke, though her design did not have the word "Oklahoma" on it. This was adapted in 1941 as a literacy statement.

The state legislature adopted the following salute to the flag in 1982:

"I salute the Flag of the State of Oklahoma: Its symbols of peace unite all people."

 

Mrs. Ruth D. Clement , 79, Was State Pioneer
 Mrs. Ruth D. Clement, 79, of 2412 E. 22nd St., the designer of Oklahoma's first state flag, died Thursday afternoon in a Tulsa hospital.  She had been ill for 2 weeks.  A native of Caldwell county, Ky., she moved to Oklahoma shortly before statehood, settling at Oklahoma City.  It was there in her home that Oklahoma's first flag was designed.  The flag had a red ground, centered with a large white star bordered in blue.  The figure "46" was in the middle of the star. 
Mrs. Clement's flag was adopted in 1911 and continued as the state banner until the present flag was adopted in 1925.
 Mrs. Clement's flag was approved by the governor at that time, Lee Cruce, and decorated the train taken to Washington by Oklahomans for the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson in 1932.  She had lived here with a daughter, Mrs. Forrest Shoemaker, the last 30 years.  Mrs. Clement was the widow of Dr. William R. Clement, former Tulsa doctor who died about 15 years ago.  Mrs. Clement was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a past president of the Daughters of the Confederacy here in the state.  She was one of the founders of the Daughters of Confederacy home at Ardmore.  Survivors also include two grandchildren and four great grandchildren.  Funeral services will be held at 3pm Friday in Stanleys service room.  Internment will be in Memorial Park.

 Obit, picture of flag and Mrs. Clement submitted by Judy (
judya1947@cox.net)

 Louise Funk Fluke was born Feb. 9, 1900.  In 1901 she moved with an older brother and her parents (R.W. and Trimmier Sloan Funk) to Shawnee, Oklahoma in Pottawatomie County.  As a young girl she recieved lessons from Marjorie Dodge Tapp. 

Louise Fluke

She graduated from Shawnee High School.  She married George Fluke on Dec. 18, 1924 in Shawnee and they are buried at Fairview Cemetery in Shawnee with many other Fluke family members.  Louise also continued her art studies at Columbia University and the Chicago Art Institute.  She and her husband had one son.  Shortly after her marriage she submitted an entry in the Oklahoma Daughters of the American Revolution's statewide contest for a new design for the state flag.  She consulted with Dr. Joseph B. Thoburn, secretary of the Oklahoma Historical Society, and studied Oklahoma history as well as Indian lore and artifacts.  For her final design she selected an Osage war shield with six crosses representing the Indian symbol for stars and seven pendant eagle feathers.  A calumet (peace pipe) and an olive branch, superimposed over the crosses on the shield, represented a united people living in peace.  Her design won the contest and was adoptged by the state legislature in 1925.  Before her death on July 27, 1986 in Oklahoma City she received many honors, including the Pioneer Woman Award in 1982.


State Flag's Designer Remembered
Flags will fly at half-mast on state buildings today and Thursday in memory of the woman who designed the Oklahoma flag.  Lt. Gove. Spencer Bernard Tuesday ordered the tribute to Louise Fluke who died Sunday. 

 Fluke, 86, was born in Arkansas and grew up in Shawnee.  She studied art at Columbia University in New York.  In 1925, she entered a contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution to create a new state flag.  Fluke researched Indian lore and designed an arrangement of blue background, to represent loyalty and devotion; small crosses, the Indian sign for stars, to depict lofty ideals; an Osage buckskin war shield to symbolize defensive warfare, and a peace pipe and olive branch overlying the shield to symbolize a unified people in peace.  She is survived by one son, George R. Fluke, Houston, and three grandsons.  Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church, Oklahoma City, with burial at Fairview Cemetery in Shawnee.


Source: Daily Oklahoman July 30, 1986 Page 9

submitted and transcribed by Linda (Dyer) Craig .

 

Information from 50states.com, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, various obituaries  


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