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Milam County, Texas

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John E. Flinn

SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 380-382.

John E. Flinn - It is safe to say that there is not an intelligent, patriotic American of today whose ancestry runs back into the early settled families of this country, but regrets the meagerness of his knowledge touching his ancestral history and who has not frequently expressed the wish that his forefathers had taken the time, even in the midst of their pressing duties as pioneers, to set down for the benefit of posterity some facts relative to their settlement on this continent. With most of us the history of our people is shrouded in the impenetrable mists of the past, what little that has descended to us being only a matter of tradition. Speaking from this source the following statement, preliminary to what is said of Mr. Flinn personally, may be made:

The stock from which he descended came originally from Scotland, Ireland and England, or broadly speaking, from the British Isles. His father, Alexander Flinn, was born in Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, in 1809, and was a son of Alexander Flinn, who was born in Maryland in the latter half of the last century. The elder Flinn migrated when a young man to North Carolina, where he married, settled on a farm and became a planter of considerable means. He served in the early wars of the country, and as tradition has it was an industrious, public-spirited, patriotic gentleman. He had four sons and two daughters, all but one of whom became grown, married and raised families. The religious connection of the family was with the Presbyterian Church, and as was the custom half to three-quarters of a century ago, the son and daughters of this family were reared to a strict observance of all the ordinances and practices of the church. One of the sons, William Flinn, became a minister of this church, and was known at Milledgeville, Georgia, and in later life in Louisiana, in connection with his work in the ministry in these States.

Alexander Flinn, the father of John E. Flinn, of this article, was reared in his native State, North Carolina, and at about the age of twenty-one emigrated to Alabama, taking up his residence in Dallas county, where he married Jane War, and having accumulated some means settled down to farming, at which he was moderately successful throughout life. He was the owner of a few slaves, and lived in the pleasant, comfortable style of the respectable, well-to-do planters of antebellum days. He died in 1864. His wife died in 1850. Both were of a quiet, domestic turn, greatly devoted to their home and their children, and performed their various duties acceptably and died in the esteem and good will of those among whom they had lived.

Their six children were: Margaret Flinn, who now makes her home with her brother; John E. Flinn, of this article; Robert L. Flinn, who is now a farmer of Montgomery county, Alabama; Mary Flinn, who married Ira Beeman, and resides in Hunt county, this State; James L. Flinn, who died at the age of twenty; and Helen Flinn who died in infancy.

John E. Flinn, of this article, was born in Butler county, Alabama, August 15, 1840, in which county he was also reared. His early years were spent in felling timber, hewing and chopping, grubbing and splitting rails, flailing wheat and husking corn, attending apple-cuttings, spelling bees, and in other rustic labors and diversions. Opportunities for education in the local schools were then not so attractive or valuable as now, but such as they were it was his privilege to avail himself of them, and after mastering the rudiments of the common branches in the little, old log schoolhouse, he was placed at Orion Academy, in Pike county, where he had completed about half the course when his scholastic training was brought to an abrupt and emphatic close by the opening of the late war. He entered the Confederate army early in 1861, enlisting in Company K, Twenty-second Alabama Infantry. With this command he entered Withers' division, and was in active field service until after the battle of Shiloh, when he was transferred to the Quartermaster's department, and served in this department during the remainder of the war. He was with his command at the general surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina, in April 1865, and thus witnessed the last of that great and sanguinary conflict.

Returning to Montgomery county, Alabama, he spent about eighteen month there, when, in the winter of 1866, he came to Texas. He made his first stop in this State in Robertson county, and being still unmarried and the possessor of but small means, he took employment as overseer for C. P. Salter, who then, as now, owned large planting interests in the Brazos bottoms. He remained in Robertson county and in the employ of Mr. Salter for twelve years, when, having saved his earnings and increased them very materially by judicious investment in stock, he came to Milam county and purchased 500 acres of land, on which he settled three years later and has there since resided. He has added 400 acres to his original purchase, and now has his entire holdings fenced and 300 acres in cultivation. In this farm Mr. Flinn has one of the most desirable places in the county. It lies in the famous "black waxy belt," and yields in accordance with the well-known productiveness of that belt. The yield of this place in 1891 was 143 bales of cotton, and in 1892 was 165 bales, besides sufficient small grain to run the farm. The feeding of beef cattle has been one of the items of revenue on this farm for three or four years past, and a profitable business has been done in this line.

In 1869 Mr. Flinn married Miss Catherine Ails, a daughter of Thomas Ails, then residing at Bryan, this State, but originally from Louisiana, where Mrs. Flinn was born, her parents moving to Texas in 1866.

Mr. and Mrs. Flinn had four children: Bertha Flinn, who is now the wife of Dr. Morris Brewer of Clarkson, Milam county; Edward A. Flinn, Glen Flinn and Thomas Flinn, the last named dying in 1881 in which year Mrs. Flinn also died.

We must say a special thank you to Sylvia Turner of Georgetown, Texas, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.

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Created on 28 Nov 2004 and last revised on ____________