Volume 4, Number 1 - Fall 1970

Flag Sitting
By Cenita Brown

Our pioneer forefathers would have had no occasion to use the term "baby-sitter", Today this is a common household word. The term "pet-sitter" is not an unheard of or unused word; but, did you ever see or hear of a ‘‘flag-sitter"?

May 30, 1970 was a typical Ozark day— typical of our Ozark saying—"if you don’t like the weather, just stay around and it’ll soon change." Early morning the sun was shining brightly. By nine o’clock showers were falling. Before ten o’clock the sun was again shining. This was the pattern for the day, and on this day Mrs. Zona Singleton of Ava did her "flag sitting".

The flag that she sat with was her father’s—one that he purchased before his death in 1918.

Mrs. Singleton’s father, Thomas Mitchell McHolland, was born in 1844 in Louisville, Kentucky. During the very early part of the Civil War, Mr. McHolland saw his lovely boyhood home burned by the Rebels. Soon after this his family moved to Warrensburg, Missouri. It was at Warrensburg that Mr. Mc-Holland enlisted in the Union Army. While in the army Thomas M. McHolland was a flag-bearer for Regiment 13 of the Mo. Cavalry.

After the war was over Mr. McHolland returned to Warrensburg and married Mary Love. They moved to the Ava area about

1880. They were parents of ten children—two girls and eight boys.

Following ‘his term of service as flag-bearer in the Union Army, Thomas M. Mc-Holland always seemed to have a special love for his flag. He always managed to own a flag of his own. The flag which Mrs. Singleton now so carefully places on her father’s grave in the Ava Cemetery each Memorial Day was the last one that he purchased.

Mrs. Singleton, along with her recent husband, Arthur, who was County Treasurer for many years, spent a few years in California in the early 1920’s. During these years she had her father’s flag with her, and it was impossible for her to get back to Ava for Memorial Day. With the exception of these few years Mrs. Singleton has placed the same flag on her father’s grave each Memorial Day.

Mrs. Singleton said, "Why, Dad loved that flag too much for me to let a drop of rain fall on it. Yet, I want it flying every minute that the sun shines on Decoration Day. So—if the weather is threatening, I just sit with it."

As you would imagine this flag is carefully wrapped and lovingly cared for by Mrs. Singleton the other 364 days of the year. Sadly she said, "I don’t know what will become of IT when I’m dead and gone. You know I’m the last one of my family."


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