The flag of Maryland is one of the most beautiful and distinctive flags of all of the States. It is the only flag that carries the Coat of Arms of the founders of its state. The design of the Maryland Flag consists of the arms of the Calvert family quartered with the arms of the Crossland family.
The father of George Calvert, first baronet of Baltimore, was Leonard Calvert, a country gentlemen of Yorkshire. He married Alicia Crossland, daughter and heiress of John Crossland, another Yorkshire gentlemen.
Both families were of the class entitled to have arms. From 1634 until the American Revolution, there are from time to time mentions of the Maryland Flag, and always these refer to the “yellow and black” of Lord Baltimore’s colors, never to the red and white of the Crosslands. After the Revolution, there was no definite state flag in existence, either in custom or in law. There were a number of variations of the design.
The Calvert family was that of the Lords Baltimore, the first Lord, George Calvert, being the founder of the colony of Maryland in 1634.
The Crossland family was that of the first Lord’s mother. As she had no brother and so was the heiress of her family estate, she was permitted under heraldic law to quarter her arms with those of her husband. Reading horizontally from the top of the staff, the first and second quarters are the Calvert and Crossland arms, respectively. Below are the same arms in reverse order.
While the flag was flown shortly after the Civil War, it was officially adopted in 1904.