Courtesy Col.J. Craig Nannos 6.

In 1765, Bostonians adopted a giant elm on the main road leading to the town as the "Tree of Liberty." Many other communities followed this lead or erected liberty poles. The Liberty Tree became an early symbol of defiance against arbitrary authority and the rights of the people. Used by patriots even before the war, it appeared on flags, drums, and other items before such national emblems as the eagle and the thirteen red and white stripes of the flag were adopted.