About four years ago, during the process of moving my mother, I came across some papers that looked a bit dated. Taking a closer look, I opened the folded mystery carefully. On the top, I read the date May 11th 1884. I remember repeating "1884" and thinking "what could this be?"
It was a statement written by my Great Grandfather Stephen Flynn Sr. dividing the Flynn property with his four sisters. The document was handwritten in cursive, the ink was faded, the paper yellowed from age and ink blots were scattered down the middle of the page. In the upper left corner, the word (Copy) caught my eye. What I held in my hand was an original copy of an original document. Think about it, in 1884 the only way to make a copy was to hand write another one.
The document starts out with "I Stephen Flinn", Hmmmmm?,(different spelling of how we spell Flynn). A signature was at the bottom, from a Patrick Dwyer. Uncle Ray informed me that his grandfather did not know how to read or write, so he probably had a town clergyman or councilman write out his statement. This past March during a visit with Uncle Ray, I pulled out this document for his review. His reaction was similar to mine, curious and in awe!
Some of words are legible and others are quite faint. So one morning, during his visit, with readers in place and magnifying glass in hand, we proceeded letter by letter, line by line interpeting the statement. Three hours had past before we were finished. It was one of the best morning I had ever spent, working with my Uncle Ray.
The typewritten interpetation will follow in my next blog.