Historical flag has Portsmouth roots


Submitted Photo On Friday a ceremony took place at the Ohio Historical Society and Museum in Columbus were a 152-year old flag was donated to the museum. The flag was first presented to a Portsmouth resident. Pictured are Eli Krabil – fourth Great Grandson of David Nevin Murray and LTC(R) Mary K. Van Tilburg, Great Great Granddaughter of DN Murray.

COLUMBUS — On Friday, a ceremony took place at the Ohio Historical Society and Museum in Columbus were a 152-year old flag was donated to the museum. The flag was first presented to a Portsmouth resident.

The flag was first presented to David Nevin Murray (D.N.), who’s described as a merchant, manufacturer and banker in Portsmouth from 1837-1895.

“In connection with two others he (Murray) built the machine shops and foundry which later became the Portsmouth Foundry and Machine Shops. Since he was too old to fight in the Civil War, D. N. converted his foundry and machine shops to make cannon balls for the Union Army,” said Mary K. Van Tilburg great-great-granddaughter of Murray. “At the end of the Civil War, Ohio delegates to Congress invited him to Washington Dc where they awarded him the 1864 36 star American Union Flag. The flag was 22 feet long and 9 feet wide and contained 36 stars for the number of states in the Union in 1864 when the flag was made.”

She said the flag has been a part of Ohio history over the last 152 years.

“Since the close of the Civil War, this enormous ‘Old Glory’ has been closely entwined with Ohio memorial ceremonies and parades from 1865 to about 1947,” Tillburg said.

“Various newspapers, including the Portsmouth Blade and later the (Portsmouth) Times, mention that this historic flag has graced memorial services of President Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding and Roosevelt. The flag was carried during Portsmouth’s Memorial Day parades and when their soldiers came home from Cuba and the World Wars,” Tilburg said.

She said for the last several years the flag has been with other relatives in Oklahoma.

Tilburg said she asked the flag be returned to Ohio, so it could be donated to the Ohio Historical Society and Museum.

During the ceremony at the Ohio Historical Society and Museum the flag was unfolded for the first time in 45 years.

The museum is anticipated to display the flag in its New Acquisitions Display. Once the display is finished, it’s anticipated the flag will be placed in storage and brought out for special occasions, displays and will be available for school children’s visits and various other events or visits.

For more information about the Ohio Historical Society and Museum visit www.ohiohistory.org.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.

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