SALEM, Ore. -Today, State Representative Greg Smith (GOP-Heppner) marks Oregon’s statehood anniversary with a tribute to his great-great-great-grandmother and Oregon pioneer, Ann Elizabeth Bills. Bills sewed what is believed to be the first U.S. flag ever flown in Oregon.
“As my colleagues and I gather on the floor of the Oregon House of Representatives, with the distinct privilege of conducting the people’s business, I think it’s important that we take a moment to stop and reflect on the history of our wonderful state,” said Representative Smith. “The people we’ve now come to know as the Oregon pioneers met over 150 years ago just a few miles from our State Capitol to develop the foundations of the Oregon State Constitution that we still hold true today. The names of those pivotal individuals adorn the walls of the House Chamber and keep us grounded in our service to the people of Oregon."
On February 14th, 1859 Oregon was officially admitted to the union and became the 33rd State of the United States. After unionization, a woman named Ann Elizabeth Bills began the dedicated work of sewing the first Oregon-made U.S. flag. The flag flew high on Fourth Street, in Portland, on Independence Day.
“I am honored to be the great-great-great-grandson of that talented woman, and as a member of the Oregon House, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to continue my family tradition of serving our great state,” concluded Representative Smith.
Bills’ flag is currently being displayed by the Oregon Historical Society.