Confederate Flag on court square to be discussed

| March 23, 2016

COSHOCTON – Since at least 1985 a Confederate Flag has flown on the court square in honor of a soldier from the south that died here and is buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery. On Monday, March 28 the Coshocton County Commissioners will meet with a man from Zanesville who would like that flag removed.

Veterans Service Officer Jim Barstow said the 9×13 flag in question is one of 16 that surrounds the main war memorial on the court square and is there to represent William H. Webb.

“He was a prisoner of war who was being held somewhere up north around Lake Erie at a POW camp,” Barstow said. “He was part of a prisoner exchange and was to be taken back south to his home in Tennessee when he became ill around Coshocton. He was taken off the train and someone local took him in. After he died they tried to contact his family in Tennessee, but they had no luck so he was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery.”

The Confederate Flag is replaced along with the American Flags on the court square every year before Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Webb’s gravestone also has a Confederate Flag flying beside it.

“We aren’t trying to be incentive to what other people believe that flag stands for,” Barstow said. “My thinking is that we are honoring a fallen veteran and veterans who fought in the Civil War on both sides ultimately fell under the same army.”

He, however, has been researching the topic and trying to figure out if there is another way to still honor Webb.

“I praised the gentleman that came in here for being so passionate about the topic and said I would look into it,” Barstow said. “We aren’t dismissing it. We are going to review it and if we are wrong we will find a way to make it right. He did tell me there is a Confederate States Flag that he would be willing to buy for us to use. Our regular supplier doesn’t carry it, but we are looking into sources that we can get it from.”

Coshocton County Commissioner Curtis Lee said the commissioners will have the final say on what is allowed and not allowed to be on the court square.

The March 28 meeting with the gentleman from Zanesville will take place at 9 a.m.

During their March 23 meeting the commissioners also approved a motion authorizing the United States of America, Department of Agriculture to access the Coshocton County Commissioners property on Township Road 188, which is the hydrological station, for their 2015 grazing land survey.

“The project is done, but they need to go across the fence just long enough to measure how tall the grass is sometime this spring,” Lee said.

On March 23 the commissioners also went to a viewing for another step in the process of the vacation of Township Road 60 A in Bedford Township.

“The road is on the map, but it hasn’t been used in decades,” Lee said. “I drove out there and you can’t even tell where the road is.”

The next step in the process will be a 10 a.m. public hearing on Wednesday, March 30 at the commissioners’ office.

Other items of interest on their March 23 agenda were:

  • A motion to sign a request for payment and status of funds report for grant B-C-15-1AP-1 in the amount of $39,474.00 as requested by John Cleek, CDC of Ohio.
  • Received the dog warden’s report for the week ending March 21 with three dogs picked up by the warden, four dogs brought in as strays, one dog destroyed, 11 citations issued, 32 calls handled, 17 dog licenses sold, 10 late fees paid, six dogs sold, one dog redeemed, three dogs per owner surrender, $5 in boarding fees collected for a total of $489 in fees collected.
  • A motion granting permission to Warsaw Honor Choir/Les Widder for the use of the gazebo to take a group picture on May 19 from 10:15 to 10:30 a.m.
  • A motion granting permission to Women of Witness and the Coshocton Ministerial Fellowship the use of the court square on May 5 from 5–9 p.m. for National Day of Prayer and Praise Service with music in the gazebo.

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Category: Government

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

Comments (3)

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  1. Let the man from Zanesville worry about Zanesville. Has anyone in Coshocton voiced a concern? He needs to tend to business in Zanesville, not Coshocton.

  2. I totally agree. I had family on both sides and the flag is part of our history. This "politically correct" business has to be reviewed.

  3. How do people go about desecrating graves? This is a veterans grave! Please let this man rest in peace!

    While people may identify with one of the two sides they have to recognize two things:

    First, that the men fighting this war were soldiers and pitched into fighting by misguided politicians on both sides culminating after decades of what amounts to unnecessary and unconstitutional tit for tat.

    Second, this monument and all monuments to southern soldiers were erected by our forefathers, who should be given deference as to their intentions. Ultimately, they were the ones who not only erected the monuments, but were there and were the ones who gave the most in losing their loved ones to this war. Yet despite losing those loved ones, they somehow found the resolve to forgive, and instead of heaping his body into some mass grave of pigs or throwing him into a swamp, they did the right thing. They buried their fellow American citizen and veteran with dignity and respect because that is what an American veteran who laid it all down on the line deserves.

    Southern soldiers buried in places all over the country need to be able to rest in peace. This issue needs to be finally reconciled by American adults standing on the side of what is right and not allowing big petulant moronic children to demand their safe space in having graves unearthed and given the same treatment as Osama Bin Laden; to be thrown in some unmarked spot or dumped into the sea because they find one of the causes of the war offensive. It is OUR history! For God's sake Man Up, learn the history, then teach your child what we shouldn't do, so that men like William Webb will never have to lay their lives on the line again to fight in civil conflict!