What’s the Big Deal with the Palmetto Tree and Moon? If you’ve ever visited Charleston, you might wonder why you see a Palmetto tree and a crescent moon just about everywhere! You’ll see them on bumper stickers, stickers on rear windshields, cups, plates, towels, glassware, jewelry, ornaments, t-shirts, flip flops, hats, and just about anywhere else you can think of!
The story goes all the way back to 1765 where three crescent moons were placed on a blue background on a flag for South Carolina. This crescent design was perhaps taken from a design on the hats of soldiers in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment. There’s a lot of debate as to where the crescent moon idea actually came from. Some suggest it wasn’t a moon at all, but perhaps either just a design or a pin that held the soldier’s caps on their heads. Ten years later in 1775, Colonel William Moultrie was asked to come up with a flag for the state of South Carolina so that the troops would be able to use it during the American Revolutionary war. That flag only had the crescent on it with the word Liberty.
The flag evolved over time and in 1860, the Palmetto tree was added beside the crescent moon which represented the palmetto trees that helped to defend off the British troops at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island in a battle in 1776. The enemy’s cannon balls sank right into the soft trunks of the palmetto trees which protected the fort from disaster. Little changes have been made here and there, for example, the closeness of the “moon” to the tree, the grass under the tree, etc. over the years.
Though questions linger about the crescent moon, or pin, or whatever it was really, one thing is for sure...South Carolinians are proud to show their support of this great state by flying this flag high or wearing jewelry that represents it, like the jewelry that can be found here at Charleston Jewelry and Gifts in our Palmetto Silver Collection.