Today, the Texas Centennial Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin remembers when the Third Congress approved the lone star flag on January 25, 1839.
From A complete history of Texas for Schools, Colleges, and General Use by Dudley G. Wooten, published in 1899:
During the session of the Third Congress, in January, 1839, further legislation was had for the location of the permanent capital. It was to be named the “City of Austin,” and five commissioners were appointed to select the location, and an agent to lay off the city and eject necessary buildings, to be ready for the removal of the government thereto on October 1.
The commissioners selected were Albert C. Horton, Isaac W. Burton, William Menefee, Isaac Campbell, and Louis P. Cooke. Edwin Waller was appointed agent to lay off the town, and by October a two-story frame house was erected for the President, a board house for Congress, log buildings for the various department offices, and a number of log cabins for residences and business purposes.
The archives and public offices were removed from Houston to Austin in October, 1839, and in a short time the new capital had about fifteen hundred inhabitants.
The First Congress had established the National Seal of the Republic as a five-pointed star on a circular seal, with the letters “Republic of Texas” around it; and the National Standard for the naval service, as a flag, union blue, star central, thirteen stripes prolonged, alternate red and white, — being the same as the naval flag adopted by President Burnet in April, 1836.
This act was amended by the Third Congress, January 25, 1839, so as to require the national arms to consist of a white star of five points, on an azure field, with a wreath of olive and live-oak branches encircling the star, as well as the lettering of the name; while the national flag was fixed as a blue, perpendicular stripe, one-third the whole length of the flag, with a white star of five points in the centre, and two horizontal stripes of equal breadth, the upper white and the lower red, two-thirds the length of the whole flag.
The naval standard was left unchanged. During the Revolution many banners were devised and carried by different commands.
The only flag at San Jacinto was that carried by Colonel Sidney Sherman’s regiment, which was of light blue silk, with gold fringe, and the figure of Liberty in the centre.
The flag of the Alamo was that of the Constitution of 1824.
Another description of the flag and the mysteries surrounding its use from The History of the Pacific States of North America, Volume XI, by Hubert Howe Bancroft, published in 1889:
On Jan. 25, 1839, an act was passed adopting as the national arms a white star of five points on an azure ground, encircled by an olive and live oak branches. The national flag was to consist of a blue perpendicular stripe of the width of one third of the whole flag with a white star in the centre, and two horizontal stripes, the upper white and the lower red.
The origin of the lone star flag is somewhat obscure. It is claimed by the Savannah Georgian that it was first unfurled within the present limits of Louisiana in 1810, by a gallant band of Americans, who fell suddenly upon the fort at Baton Rouge, drove out the Spaniards, and raised the lone star flag in place of the banner of old Spain.
The date of its first appearance in Texas is also in dispute.
Guy M. Bryan in a speech before the Texan veterans delivered May 14, 1873, says: ‘The first lone star flag that I can find any account of was made at Harrisburg and presented to the company of Capt. Andrew Robinson in 1835. The lone star was white, five pointed, and set in ground of red.’
Lewis Washington, an assistant in the office of the Galveston News, in 1854, states that it was of plain white silk, bearing an azure star of five points on either side. On one side was the inscription Liberty or Death! and on the other the Latin motto Ubi Libertas habitat, ibi nostra patri est.
This flag was unfurled at Velasco Jan. 8, 1836. Gen. McLeod of Galveston asserted that it was the work of Miss Troutman of Knoxville, Georgia.
A correspondent of the Central Texan denies the claim of Georgia, and insists that the first lone star flag unfurled in Texas was the one raised in Harrisburg in 1835.
Thrall makes the curious statement that the lone star emblem was a fortunate accident. Gov. Smith, for want of a seal, used one of the large brass buttons of his coat, which bore the impress of a five-pointed star.
The Mexican government in a circular of Jan. 28, 1836, describes the Texan rebel flag as consisting of stripes like that of the U. S., but instead of the blue square containing the stars, the Texan flag had a white square with a cross and the number 1824.
The ‘flag of independence,’ says one, first hoisted at Goliad, bore a blood-red sword grasped by a hand. =====
The language of the law from Early Laws of Texas, General Laws from 1836 to 1879, compiled and arranged by John Sayles and Henry Sayles, published in 1891:
Art. 649.—AN ACT amending the act, entitled: “An act adopting a national seal and standard for the Republic of Texas,” approved 10th December, 1836. [January 25, 1839]
§1.—Be it enacted, etc., That from and after the passage of this act, the national arms of the Republic of Texas be, and the same is hereby, declared to be a white star of five points on an azure ground, encircled by an olive and live-oak branches.
§2.—That the national great seal of this republic shall, from and after the passage of this act, bear the arms of this nation as declared by the first section of this act, and the letters “Republic of Texas.”
§3.—That from and after the passage of this act, the national flag of Texas shall consist of a blue perpendicular stripe of the width of one-third of the whole length of the flag, with a white star of five points in the centre thereof, and two horizontal stripes of equal breadth, the upper stripe white, the lower red, of the length of two-thirds of the whole length of the flag; anything in the act to which this is an amendment to the contrary notwithstanding.
§4.—That the president be, and is hereby, authorized and required to establish such signal and other auxiliary flags for the naval, revenue and land services, also for the use of the pilots and coasting traders, as the said services may require, and he may deem necessary and expedient.
§5.—That the national standard of this republic shall remain as was established by an act to which this is an amendment.
The Texas Centennial Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin shows with an image of the seal and lone star flag of January 25, 1839.