peoples inhabited Missouri for thousands of years before European exploration
and settlement. In 1682 the region was taken into possession for king Louis XIV
by René Robert Cavalier. In 1764 French from New Orleans founded St. Louis.
From 1764 to 1803, European control of the area west of the Mississippi to
the northernmost part of the Missouri River basin, called Louisiana, was
assumed by the Spanish as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain,
due to Treaty of Fontainebleau (in order
to have Spain join with France in the war against England). They arrived in
St. Louis in September 1767.
Bonaparte had gained Louisiana for French ownership from Spain in 1800 under
the Treaty of San Ildefonso. But, as
the treaty was kept secret, Louisiana remained
nominally under Spanish control until a transfer of power to France on 30
November 1803, just three weeks before the cession to the United States by
the Louisiana Purchase. Missouri became a part of
Upper Louisiana in March 1804.
In 1812 it
became a Territory which was admitted by the Missouri Compromise as the 24th state of the
United States on 10 August 1821. Its temporary capital was in St. Charles. In
1826 the capital was shifted to its current, permanent location of Jefferson
City, also on the Missouri.
secession of Southern states began in 1861, the Missouri legislature called
for the election of a special convention on secession. The convention voted
decisively to remain within the Union but somewhat later the state sided with
the Confederates. After winning victories at the battle of Wilson's Creek and
the siege of Lexington, Missouri and suffering losses elsewhere, the Confederate
forces had to retreat to Arkansas and later Marshall, Texas, in the face of a
largely reinforced Union Army.
Confederate troops staged some large-scale raids into Missouri, the fighting
in the state for the next three years consisted chiefly of guerrilla warfare
until the end of the Civil War.
the time of the Territory (1812-’21) Missouri was more or less represented by
an emblem which contained some elements of the emblem of former French Louisiana. The
French Virgin was replaced by the bust of Cicero (?) with a crown of laurel but the
display of commodities and ships on the roads was as before.
Emblem on a 5 dollar note from the Bank of
achievement and seal of Missouri were designed by Judge Robert William Wells,
description as prescribed by an “Act approved January 11th,
1822,” reads as follows:
“The device for an armorial achievement for the
state of Missouri shall be as follows, to wit: Arms, parted per pale; on the
dexter side, gules, the white or grizzly bear of Missouri, passant guardant,
proper, on a chief engrailed azure, a crescent argent; on the sinister side,
argent, the arms of the United States, the whole within a band inscribed with
the words, ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ For the crest, over a helmet full faced, grated
with six bars, or, a cloud proper, from which ascends a star argent, and
above it a constellation of twenty-three smaller stars, aregent, on an azure
field, surrounded by a cloud proper. Supporters on each side, a white or
grizzly bear of Missouri, rampant, guardant proper, standing on a scroll
inscribed with the motto ‘Salus populi suprema lex
esto,’ and under the scroll the numerical letters MDCCCXX. And the great seal of the state shall be so
engraved as to present by its impression the device of the armorial
achievement foresaid, surrounded by a scroll inscribed with the words, ‘THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF
MISSOURI,’ in Roman capitals, which
seal shall be in a circular form and not more than
two and a half inches in diameter.”
Arms: Per pale, the dexter per
fess: the dexter chief Azure, a crwcent Argent, the dexter base Gules, a
grizzly bear proper; the sinister Argent, the achievement of the United
Crest: On a helmet guardant Or 24
five-pointed stars Or, the 24th larger than the
Supporters: Two grizzly bears proper
Motto: 1. On a
strap around the shield: UNITED WE STAND
DIVIDED WE FALL; 2. On a ribbon in base: SALUS POPULI
SUPREMA LEX ESTO
(The wellbeing of the people is the supreme law)
crescent symbolizes the newness
of statehood and the potential for growth
bear (Ursus arctos horribilis - Ursidæ)
symbolizes strength and bravery
achievement of the United States the loyalty to the union.
helmet symbolizes sovereignty and the crest the twenty-four states of the
Union of which Missouri was the 24th
motto Salus populi
suprema lex esto (translated as :"Let the good of the
people be the supreme law" or "The welfare of the people shall be
the supreme law") is from Cicero's De Legibus
(Book III, part 3,
§ 8), as Ollis salus
populi suprema lex esto.
At some time the achievement was usually displayed free in the field but nowadays it is often seen as a part of the seal. 
Æ See illustration in the head of this essay showing a version of 1876.
Seal, original black and white version
Seal, a coloured
In 1869 the seal, which had come into the hands of Thomas Reynolds, (governor 1840-’44) during the civil war, was returned to the new Missouri government. In a letter of governor Joseph W. McClurg dated 27 May 1869 Thomas Reynolds is extensively thanked for the consignment.
Letter of Joseph McClurg to Thomas Reynolds
Volunteer Militia (MVM) was the informal state militia that could be
called up by the governor for emergencies or annual drill "in accordance
with the Missouri State Statutes of 1854."
During the 1861
secession crisis, the MVM force was surprised and captured by unofficial
Unionist "Home Guard" militia led by U.S. Army regulars. This
caused the Missouri legislature to pass the "Military Bill"
proposed by Governor Jackson, which gave the governor near-dictatorial
control over the militia, and reorganized it into the Missouri State Guard.
Flag of the Missouri Volunteer Militia (1858-1861).
Captured by Federal forces
under the command of Captain Nathaniel Lyon in 1861.
State Guard (MSG) was a state militia organized in the state of
Missouri during the early days of the American Civil War. While not initially
a formal part of the Confederate States Army, the State Guard fought
alongside Confederate troops and, at times, under regular Confederate
The Missouri State Guard did not have an official flag until MSG General
Sterling Price ordered on June 5, 1861,
"III. Each regiment will adopt the State flag, made of blue merino,
6 by 5 feet, with the Missouri coat-of-arms in gold gilt on each side. Each
mounted company will have a guidon, the flag of which will be of white
merino, 3 by 2½ feet, with the letters M.S.G. in gilt on each side."
Interestingly, a number of Missouri (Federal) volunteer regiments were
issued a flag of an almost identical pattern: a blue flag, with the Missouri
state arms in gold. This is an example of the long-running struggle between
Missouri's (post-June 17, 1861) Unionist government in Jefferson City and
Claiborne Fox Jackson's (and later Thomas C. Reynolds') secessionist
government-in-exile for control of symbols of Missouri governmental
Missouri State Army
That for regiments and separate battalions of the Missouri Army National Guard: From a wreath of colors, a grizzly bear rampant Proper.
The grizzly bear is native in Missouri and has been a portion of the Sate Seal since 1822.
The crest for color bearing organizations of the State of
Missouri was approved on 19 June 1922.
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
On a red shield 6.35 cm in width and 7.62 cm in height, a black bear standing erect on a wreath of six twists alternating yellow and blue.
The grizzly bear is native in Missouri and has been a portion of the State Seal since 1822. The territory was originally a part of the Louisiana Purchase and the twists of the wreath are accordingly yellow and blue.
The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Missouri National Guard on 30 September 1949. It was redesignated on 30 December 1983, for Headquarters, State Area Command,
Missouri Army National Guard. (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-486). 
Distinctive Unit Insignia
A gold color metal and enamel device 2.86 cm in height overall consisting of a gold grizzly bear standing erect, hind paws coinciding with the lower edge of a concave blue scroll lined blue, terminating at the waist of the bear and inscribed on the left "PROTECTORS," and on the right, "OF PEACE," in gold letters, all with red in the areas enclosed by the conjoining scroll. The insignia is worn in pairs.
The grizzly bear is native to Missouri and has been a portion of the State Seal since 1822. The blue and gold refer to the Missouri Army National Guard crest denoting the State as originally being part of the Louisiana Purchase. The red, symbolic of courage, reflects the attributes of the grizzly bear.
The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and noncolor bearing units of the Missouri Army National Guard on 20 July 1971. It was redesignated effective 30 December 1983, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Missouri Army National Guard.
© Hubert de Vries 2014-08-23
 Laws of Missouri, vol. ii. p. 721.
 Lit.: Smith, Whitney: The
Flag Book of the United States. 1976. Zieber, Eugene: Heraldry in America. Published
by the Department of Heraldry of the Bailey, Banks and Biddle Company.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1895. Wikipedia.
 Retrieved from Pentagon heraldic site