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Valley museum to display flags permanently

NILES — The Mahoning Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution is in the process of getting its Samuel Hubbard Scott flag collection permanently displayed at the National McKinley Memorial Birthplace Museum in Niles.

The SAR chapter met this weekend in Niles, where the announcement was made.

Belinda Weiss, director of the museum, said she was excited with the news about the flag collection, which has been seen by nearly 500 visitors — including from such states as Alaska and Colorado — since it was first put up in July.

”Originally we were only to have the flags for July and part of August. They are very popular. Gov. Mike DeWine was here a few weeks ago and saw them. We have people from different parts of Ohio and other states who are coming to see them,” she said.

The flags are displayed on a platform area inside the museum’s main room.

Jonathan Guerrier of Austintown and president of the SAR chapter, said the process is underway to have the flag collection displayed at the museum permanently to give it the recognition it deserves.

“I am sure it will be a permanent on loan display. The state flags and the territory flags will always stay here but there will be some flags that will come and go when the state SAR needs them for events for a few days,” Guerrier said.

Guerrier and Weiss said they have worked together on having the flags displayed where they can be seen by the public.

“People who stop at the museum always look at the flags. They see them when they first come in here,” Weiss said.

Weiss said Ohio SAR Society President Jack Bredenfoerder was at the museum for a luncheon attended by DeWine and saw the SAR flags displayed and was impressed.

“He really liked them being displayed here,” she said.

Weiss said she has spoken to the Niles Planning Commission about the flags being another draw for tourists in addition to the William McKinley historical items and displays,

“The flags will be a focal point to get more people to visit Niles and the museum and also see all that the city has here,” she said.

Guerrier said the SAR has been in the area since 1889.

“This is another way for people to learn about the local history,” he said.

The more than 110 historic flags showcase America’s past and are from World War I veteran Samuel Hubbard Scott of Toledo. Scott joined the SAR in 1948 and was the president of the Anthony Wayne chapter in Toledo.

Scott had no next of kin and the collection was given to the SAR.

The flags are divided into three categories: Pre-colonial, the American Revolution and state flags.

The oldest flags are the early country flags including those from France, Britain and Spain. The Revolutionary War flags were flown during the war. The state flags include territory flags such as Puerto Rico. There are Civil War flags with the Union and Confederate emblems.

SAR focuses on the patriarchal, historical and educational aspects of the area and its people.

Guerrier said the SAR will have a Christmas tree display in December at the museum’s Festival of Trees and also a program in February for Presidents Day 2023.

John Opre, vice president of the SAR Mahoning Valley chapter, said about 10 percent of the people in the Mahoning Valley are eligible to be members of the SAR or the Daughters of the American Revolution.

He said an individual needs to do research on their family’s lineage and see if there was a member who was a soldier , a public official or someone who helped the cause

during the American Revolution.

The SAR also is involved with marking graves of American Revolution soldiers and other patriots in cemeteries. Plans are to mark William McKinley’s grave in Canton because he was a member of SAR.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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