County Clerk Kendall Accepts Historic Kansas Flag
Banner Joins Clerk’s Office Historic Documents Collection
Poughkeepsie… In a ceremonial transfer, County Clerk Bradford H. Kendall accepted the loan of an original Civil War-period Kansas flag from the Dutchess County Historical Society at the August Board Meeting of the Dutchess County Legislature. The flag, an integral piece of county history, descended through the Benjamin J. Hall family of Stanford and Millbrook. Hall was an active member of the local school board, an assessor, and a road master. Oral histories suggest that the flag was sewn by Benjamin Hall’s wife, Lavinia Preston Hall.
Known as the Kansas flag, the banner became the official flag of the United States on July 4, 1861. Each of the thirty-four stars, arranged in the “Great Star” pattern represents a state in the Union. The thirty-fourth star was added to the flag after January 29, 1861 with the admission of Kansas to the Union. It remained in official use until July 4, 1863 when West Virginia’s entry on June 20, 1863 resulted in the thirty-fifth star. Abraham Lincoln was the only President to serve under the Kansas flag.
The flag and a panel detailing its history along with photos of the Hall family will be displayed on the second floor in the County Office Building, adjacent to the Records Room entrance. Margaret G. Duff donated the flag and photographs to the Dutchess County Historical Society in memory of Ruth Hall Graham, Rosalie Hall Cramer-Hurst, and Virginia Hale Howe, daughters of Virgil Hall.
Dutchess County Clerk Brad Kendall stated, “We are honored to display this historic flag that has direct ties to Dutchess County in our collection. This is a fine example of the collaboration between the Clerk’s Office and our historical societies working together to promote our rich history.”
Denise Doring VanBuren, President of the Dutchess County Historical Society Board of Trustees and Patty Moore, Dutchess County Historical Society Executive Director participated in the ceremony. VanBuren stated, “On behalf of the Dutchess County Historical Society, we are delighted to partner with our County’s leadership to display this historic and beautiful flag in such a prominent location. We are grateful to Benjamin and Lavinia Hall’s generous descendants for helping us to preserve and celebrate this iconic symbol of our nation. What a thrill to know that a local Millbrook-area family flew this flag with pride during such a critical period and more than 150 years ago. Displays like this bring history to life – and remind us of our evolution as a people. We especially appreciate all of the County officials who recognize this and who have made this display possible.”
“While our national flag has undergone many design changes since its adoption, every version reminds us of our nation’s proud history,” said Dutchess County Historian William P. Tatum III, “having such a rare version of the flag with local roots testifies to the county’s longstanding patriotic spirit and participation in the American experience.”