Historic Societies Battle Over Civil War Artifact

A flag carried off the Civil War battle field is now in the middle of a much publicized legal battle.

Colonel C.E. Parker donated the historic "17th Texas Calvary Flag" to the Tyler chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederac

The Smith County Historical Society is now suing members of the chapter over rights to the flag. The Historical Society claims the flag's owner gave it to them after the U.D.C failed to send it to their Austin museum like they promised.

But Maxine Herbst, president of the local U.D.C chapter, refuted that claim Sunday afternoon. Herbst says the flag sat inside their Austin museum until it closed in the 1950s. She says the flag was then sent back to Tyler and put in the Historical Society's care. Herbst claims the society is misinterpreting an old newspaper article, which says C.E. Parker reclaimed the flag and gave it to the Historical Society's Goodman Museum. Herbst says her group put the flag in the society's care, but never gave up their rights to it.

"It was never given back to C.E. Parker," claims Herbst. "Because when you give an artifact to an organization like ours, it cannot just be reclaimed because somebody wants to reclaim it. It has to be voted on by our chapter and approved...that was never done."

Several attempts to reach the Historical Society Sunday were unsuccessful. They are named as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The U.D.C took the flag back two years ago and placed it in the home of South Tyler collector, Mike Sabota.

Kerri Panchuk, reporting.