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Civil War group plans flag restoration

11/1/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Shown above is the original Civil War flag for the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry that a local group wants to help restore.
Photo courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society
AKRON — A local Civil War group is raising money to restore an original flag of the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI).

The 29th OVI Living History Association, based in Akron, is spearheading the project, according to Judy Ankeny, of the group’s flag conservation committee.

Today, the flag is at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, she said.

“They have a large collection of Civil War flags,” Ankeny said. “Some of them have been conserved and are on display. Most are just in storage because they need to be conserved and the Ohio Historical Society does not have the money to do that. They depend on individuals or groups, and that is why we have taken on the project.”

Ankeny added that the flag is actually in good shape considering its age.

“It has a few tears and worn spots, but as Civil War flags go, it is in very good shape,” she said. “The cost of conserving it is going to be just under $15,000, which is on the very low end.”

She said some flags have needed about twice that much in funds for repairs.

The Ohio Historical Society will oversee the restoration, which will be done by a flag restorer in West Virginia. The process takes about a year, Ankeny said.

During an Akron Veteran’s Day event the 29th OVI Living History Association will host Nov. 12, Mark Holbrook, a representative of the Ohio Historical Society, will present the group with an official Flag Adoption Certificate and speak on the methods and the importance of conserving Civil War flags.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. at Ellet Grace Brethren Church, 530 Stetler Ave., and also will feature a color guard presentation of the flags and remarks by historian John Gurnish, who will speak on the importance of the flag to the soldiers of the Civil War.

Following the ceremony, a wreath will be laid at the grave of Isaac Madlem, a great-grandfather of Ankeny’s husband, Bill. Madlem served as a sergeant in the 29th OVI Co. G, and the local history group was created in his memory, Ankeny said.

The event also will allow the group to highlight a unique fundraiser for the flag project that allows supporters to “adopt” a Civil War solider.

“For $15, they get an adoption certificate with a soldier’s name and a short history of their service, when they started and how old they were, how long they signed up for, any promotions, if they got injured, or if they mustered out at the end of the war,” Ankeny said. “We will also give them a paper with brief history of the 29th and a list of places where the 29th fought and what major battles they fought in.”

The 29th OVI was originally formed in 1861 in Jefferson, Ohio. The regiment’s men hailed from Summit County as well as Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties. Ankeny said it is the only regiment that defeated Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson during the 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign.

For more information on the event or the organization, call 330-733-4325 or go to   www.29thovicompanyg.org.

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