Historic U.S. flag on display in Ohio Statehouse Rotunda

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) –A fully restored 155-year-old American flag will be flying in the Rotunda at the Ohio Statehouse from Memorial Day weekend through Veterans Day. The 36-star flag is one of the American Civil War artifacts on display at the Ohio Statehouse commemorating the Lincoln funeral train’s stop in Columbus in 1865.

The historic flag flew above Capital Square when the funeral train carrying the body of President Abraham Lincoln arrived on April 29, 1865. Thousands waited in line on the Statehouse grounds to pay their respects to the fallen president, where he laid in repose. The route of the funeral train was similar to the one Lincoln took to Washington, when he was President-elect in 1861.

The great-great-grandaughter of David N. Murray, Lt. Colonel Mary K. (Katie) Van Tilburg, discovered the flag boxed up in a dresser drawer, commencing a lengthy process of recovery and restoration. Lt. Colonel Van Tilburg, and Dr. Emmalou Norland and their families presented the flag to the Ohio History Connection in 2016.

The flag was given to David Nevan Murray of Portsmouth for his contribution to the Union war effort during the Civil War. Descendants of his family donated the majestic flag to the Ohio History Connection in 2016, but the flag required restorative work before it could be hung at the Ohio Statehouse.

Murray and family members lent the flag to parades, memorials and special events for decades, including the inaugurations of Ohio Governors John W. Bricker and Frank Lausche at the Ohio Statehouse. The flag hung in the Statehouse Rotunda when President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945.

The Ohio Statehouse display is open to the public during working hours, although guided tours are postponed until further notice. The Ohio Statehouse is closed on Memorial Day and on state holidays.  

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