Mystery flag

Posted on September 7, 2009


I dropped by the Wilkinson Homestead on Sunday afternoon to get a last look at the Halfaker/Sparks quilt collection and stumbled on a new treasure. Loraine Mottern was there, showing people through the quilt exhibit. “Have you seen our latest acquisition?” she asked, and showed me this flag.

Flag - Geo. Martin Post No. 227

Who was George Martin? What was Post 227? Why are there 13 stars? (Eastport was organized a long time after the first 13 states kicked up such a fuss with England.) And where did we get the flag anyway? Turns out Dick Hendershott had donated it. Since Dick was standing right there, I learned that Jerry Dawson had given it to Dick, and Guy McPherson had given it to Jerry before that. But nobody knew much more about it.

"Another RT Edwards" with Dick Hendershott

"Another RT Edwards" with Dick Hendershott

One of the visitors was Ralph Edwards, a great grandson of S.B. Anway and cousin to Katy Edwards Newman. He speculated that Post 227 was a Grand Army of the Republic post, organized by Civil War veterans from the area. Aha.  A clue.

I’ve been mousing around on the internet, and here’s what I’ve learned so far. George Martin Post 227 of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Michigan, was organized in Eastport in May, 1884, and disbanded in 1930. According to an excerpt from The Traverse Region that I found on Google Books, “There were twenty one charter members and the following officers: P Com DW Sage SV Com WH Barnes Jr V Com AJ Drake 0 D D Blakely 0 M SB Anway Adjt H Blakely Chap JR Childs 0 G L Kin yon Sergt Maj William Cook 0 M Sergt LR Bogers sentry John McPherson.”

So I’m guessing Guy McPherson was descended from founding member John McPherson. And of course Ralph Edwards’s great-grandfather S.B. Anway was a founder, too. Still haven’t found out who George Martin was, or the meaning of the thirteen stars – but I’m on the case.

I talked to Jim Ribby, performance poet and Civil War re-enactor, over at Stone Circle.  He suggested I check the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War website, where I found this in some 2004 minutes:  Thanks to the quick response and the negotiating skills of several Brothers we were able to rescue a “G.A.R. record book” up for auction on eBay. The seller, located in Traverse City, was persuaded to withdraw the item from sale and donate the material to us. He turned over the material to SVC Neal Breaugh who brought it to me at the Mid-winter Conference. Some research identified this as the Post Descriptive Book for the George Martin Post 227 of Eastport.

I sent out some emails looking for more about that.  Given the quantities of people who are deeply absorbed in the study of our local history, I am sure we can find out more.  Just call me Nancy Drew.

Update October 14, 2009: Related posts