LINCOLN, IL — The Lincoln Heritage Museum has begun receiving donations to restore the Ladies of Middletown Flag from Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 campaign. Representatives of the Lincoln Women’s Club recently made a donation to the restoration campaign.
The Middletown Flag was hand sewn by the ladies of Middletown, IL to show their support for Abraham Lincoln during the Wide Awake Rally in Springfield.
“This flag represents a strong voice for women when they did not have a voice at the ballot box,” said Anne Moseley, Assistant Director of the Lincoln Heritage Museum. “Not only did the flag represent their support for Lincoln, but it was a creative way to communicate to the men in their lives who they wanted to show support for when it was not publicly acceptable for women to talk about politics.”
Once the flag was completed in 1860, William Boyer of Middletown took the flag to the Wide Awake rally in Springfield.
Afterwards it was rolled up and placed in a barn at the fairgrounds. When Lincoln arrived at the fairgrounds, supporters draped the flag over Lincoln’s shoulders as he sat on the seat of a buggy.
This flag is an important piece in Logan County’s history.
“We are honored to have this unique item in our collection that shows a direct tie between Abraham Lincoln and our local community,” said Tom McLaughlin, Director of the Lincoln Heritage Museum. “It is our hope that our efforts to restore this important piece of our local history will encourage those whose family members may have taken part in the creation of this flag to come forward and share their story.”
The Middletown Flag is part of a three banner series from the Wide Awake Supporters of Logan County. The Lincoln Heritage Museum proudly houses the entire collection including the Railsplitter Banner, The Nation’s Choice Banner, and the Middletown Flag.
Once the flag is fully restored, the entire collection will be completed. Bill Lear, Curator and Alex Dixon, Conservator with the Illinois State Military Museum examined the flag and made recommendations for the full restoration of the flag.
Lear said, “The Middletown flag is truly a gem and has a wonderful story to tell. We are very excited to see it when it is completed.”
The Lincoln Heritage Museum acquired the flag in 1993 from Ralph Newman.
The museum is accepting donations to help fund the completion of the restoration project in anticipation of publicly displaying the flag in 2020 on its 170th Anniversary.