Driver, Capt. William

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  • Capt. William Driver (1803–1886) was a U.S. ship captain.
  • Capt. Driver is best remembered for his quote "my ship, my country and my flag, Old Glory" made in 1831 as a first-time captain.
  • William Driver was born on March 17, 1803 in Salem. He went to sea at age 14 and later became a captain of the new brig, the "Charles Doggett". As was custom, upon leaving on his first voyage as captain, his mother and other Salem ladies made him an American flag, which he nicknamed "Old Glory."
  • He was know for his rescue of Pitcairn Islanders (Mutineers of the ship Bounty.)
  • In 1837, Driver moved to Nashville, Tennessee, staying until his death in 1886. The original flag "Old Glory" was later donated to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.
  • A memorial to Capt. Driver was put up in 1968 in the small park across from the Witch House on Essex and Summer Streets, called Driver Park. The idea came from the school children of Salem after hearing stirring lectures from Capt. Henry Nichols, U.S.N. about patriotism and the American flag. 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.
  • Capt. Driver's house was located at 16 Hardy St.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Driver, William