Saturday, January 28, 2012

Three in the Bed

Vincent van Gogh - Bedroom at Arles

When looking at the Flynn House from the outside, the upper right-hand corner above the living room was the bedroom of the Flynn Daughters, Mary, Agnes and Rosella.  My mother would tell of how she shared this room with her sisters, telling that there was only one bed, for the three of them.  Sleeping "Nose to Toes" was the only way it worked.

I recall, it was a very quaint room, with a white wrought iron double bed, a small 3 drawer dresser, a tiny closet, a wooden chair in the corner, a storage chest at the foot of the bed and a window looking out the front of the house.

As a young girl, I often slept in this room while visiting my grandparents.  Occasionally, I was lucky enough to have my cousins Janet and Brenda come along and the three of us slept in this room at night.  I remember one visit in particular, talking and giggling before falling asleep.  A single bulb light above the bed was still on, when suddenly in walks Nanny, not a word was said, only that look in her eyes, and off went the light.  We snickered in the darkness and finally drifted off to sleep.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Growing up on Flynn's Hill

The Flynn Children
George, Mary, Raymond, Rose and Agnes

Growing up in Harbour Main, Newfoundland was a time of lots of hard work and hardship.  I picked berries, worked in the garden, made hay, milked the cow and helped my mom with cooking and housework.  I walked to school, about 10 miles to further my education.

In spite of all the work, I found time for fun things like swimming, sledding on the hills and ice skating.  All the work and hardship made me the person I am today.  I have no regrets and still call Newfoundland "Home"

Statement by Agnes Theresa Flynn Thiesen - May 2010

This is the first photo my sister and I ever saw of when my mother and her siblings were young.  We call it a "A Famous Photo" which is a phrase we use for photos that really leave an impression on us.  This photo, was most likely taken on Flynn's Hill, if you look closely, Uncle Ray is holding a cat in his lap, which  I believe this is the legendary "Mut, The Cat" that my mother talked about so many times.  We thought  it was very funny to name a cat "Mut".

Aunt Agnes told me, they had to make their own fun, they would always come up with a game or activity, or the means to make what they wanted  happen. For example, ice skating on the pond across from their house, they did not all have ice skates, so often they shared the pair they had, or used what they had, even if it meant strapping tin cans to their boots.

In this photo, Front - Agnes, Rose, Ray, Back -Tommy Collins, George and Johnny Healy

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Faith, History and Architecture

In my previous post, I mentioned that my grandparents were married in the Roman Catholic Cathedral in St John's Newfoundland.  I wonder why they were married in the city of St. John's and not in either of their hometown churches.  Perhaps because, they were working in St. John's at the time?.  My mother's note states, They were married by Msgr. McDermott.  The principal witnesses were Thomas ( Stephen's Cousin) and Christina Tobin, ( Ellen's sister). 
      City of St John's Newfoundland and the Basilica of St John the Baptist, Roman Catholic Cathedral

I decided to find out more information about the Roman Catholic Cathedral in St John's and found the History and Architecture quite interesting and amazing. I can imagine it was really a honor for my grandparents to be married in this Historical Landmark of their faith.  My grandparents were very religious people.

For more information,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Back on Flynn's Hill

My Grandparents Stephen Flynn Jr and Ellen Mary Tobin were married April 25th 1927. They were married at the Roman Catholic Cathedral, St John's Newfoundland.  Stephen was 32 years old and Ellen was 22 years old. Uncle Ray states, this photo has become what is believed to be their wedding photo, there are no other photos documenting this occasion. 

 My grandparents settled back on Flynn's Hill to raise their family of six, 3 sons and 3 daughters.

Michael Joseph, born March 4th, 1928, died Oct 11, 1928.  Michael had a Congenital Heart Condition, "Blue Baby Syndrome" preventing oxygen-rich blood from circulating to the body. He died when he was only 7 months old.

Mary Bridget, born March 23rd, 1929

George Anthony, born October 16th, 1931

Agnes Theresa, born December 20th, 1932

Rosella May, born July 16th, 1934

Raymond John, born October 11th 1935

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Tobins

This was the home of My Maternal Great Grandparents, John William Tobin and Mary Bridget Follett Tobin of Ship Cove, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.  This was the home my Grandmother,
 Ellen Mary Tobin lived in before she came to Flynn's Hill.

On the left, is a photo copy of an original, of my Great Grandparents, Aunt Agnes acquired this original from her Aunt Agnes Tobin Morey who lived in Brooklyn New York.  ( She was my grandmother's sister.) She sent it to her before she died in 1978. Possibly a wedding photo? My Great Grandparents were married around 1900.  The background looks painted.                        
 In the middle, is an older photo of John William and Mary Bridget, not sure where this was taken, might be their house in the background. It came from Great Agnes Tobin Morey's collection in New York, so possibly it was taken one time when she was back home to Ship Cove.  Great Aunt Agnes came to America around 1928.  I am thinking this photo could of been taken sometime in the 1930's,. There is no date on this photo or any additional information.                              
On the back of this photo, it says it was "taken while back home in 1946, Elsie, Mother and Henry Tobin"  Great Grandmother Tobin died in 1948, Elsie is nickname for Ellen, and Henry Tobin is a cousin.

Ship Cove - Cape Shore Cultural History, page10

Ship Cove is situated on the east side of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, about 22 km from the town of Placentia.

The first settler, John Skerry, came to Ship Cove in 1794 from Blackwater, County Waterford, Ireland on a vessel owned by Ronald Sweetman, His wife Alice, and two daughters: Catherine age eight, and Alice age six, accompanied him on this voyage.  Within a few years, Patrick Tobin from Wexford and James Brennan from Fadown, landed at Placentia and made their way to Ship Cove, where they settled.

The Skerry dwelling house was built on a level of land that had a current of fresh water running through.  The house was studded and had three small windows, a porch, two bedrooms upstairs, two bedrooms downstairs, and a rock chimney.

James Brennan built his house on the bank of the river, enabling him to brook logs.  The logs, sawed on a pit-saw, had numerous uses.  In addition to building houses, the lumber was used for stools, shelves, closets and cupboards.  The slabs were used for firewood and the sawdust for bedding for the animals.

James married John Skerry's oldest daughter Catherine, and had eight daughters and three sons.  Patrick Tobin married John Skerry's youngest daughter, Alice and had five daughters and three sons. ( Alice, Andrew, Bridget, John, Mary, Sarah, Patrick, and Johanah)  He built his house in the southeast corner of Ship Cove.

These were the first two families from which all the Brennan's and Tobin's of the Cape Shore descended.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Grandmother's Family

                                                                   Ellen Mary Tobin
                  John Willian Tobin                                                        Mary Bridget Follett
                        1874-1960                                                                     1874-1948

Patrick Tobin                       Agnes O'Rielly                      James Follett                         Ellen Coffey
  1826-1914                             1828-1887                           1843-1923                              1842-

Patrick Tobin                                                                                                        James Coffey
        Alice Skerry                                                                                                          CatherineMcGrath
             abt 1788
                     John Skerry                                                                                   Bartholmew McGrath
                             Alice Barry                                                                                 Catherine Ryan

Follett - Notes from Mary Christine Tobin written1985 (My Grandmother's sister)

James Follett came from Clattice Harbour, on the Western Shore of Newfoundland.  He had a boat and freighted supplies from St John's to the Cape Shore.  He married Ellen Coffey and lived with her parents ( James Coffey and Catherine McGrath) in Angel's Cove.  He had a brother named William.

Grandfather Follett never shaved nor smoked.  He didn't eat any meat, butter or milk.  It was fish - smoked, dried and salted.  He was never sick.  At the age of 80, he got pneumonia and died within 2 weeks. James and Ellen were married over 50 years.  His people came from Chantilly France.

Follett - Cape Shore Cutural History

A family of Folletts lived in Angel's Cove in the early days.  James Follett from Clattice Harbour commanded a schooner that traded on the Cape Shore bringing provisions to the people and freighting their fish to St John's.  He married Ellen Coffey, daughter of the first settler James Coffey.  They had 4 sons, George, James, Peter and John and 4 daughters, Elizabeth, Mary Bridget, Margaret and Hanna.  Mr Follett's son's were great seamen and in the early 1900's built their own schooner.  James Follett was considered one of the best captains in Newfoundland.  His wife Ellen was one of the most prominent midwives on the Cape Shore.

I found James Follett's grave, he is buried in Patrick's Cove Old Cemetery, Placentia Bay, St Mary's District.  I hope to find my 2nd Great Grandmother, Ellen Coffey Follett there as well, in my up coming trip to Newfoundland.
This is a postcard from Newfoundland, It was part of my mother's collection.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ellen Mary Tobin Flynn


My Grandmother, Ellen Mary Tobin, was born July 8th 1904 in Ship Cove (Cape Shore) Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, Canada. Her parents were John William Tobin and Mary Bridget Follett.  She was the 3rd child of eight children.  My mother told me, my grandmother was a school teacher before she was married at the age of 22. Recently, Uncle Ray shared the story, that his mother was paid $25.00 every three months for teaching.  The school inspector, Johnny Conran, who was also a family friend, found his mother a different job as housemaid for the Govenor in St. John's.  This job paid 25.00 a month.  Uncle Ray states, it was during this time his mother Ellen and his father Stephen met.

On the back of the photo of my grandmother sitting, it is handwritten " This is a snap of me before I was married" then in different handwriting it says "This is Elsie, Stephen Flynn's wife from Newfoundland."

I would say the photo on the left, might of be taken when my grandmother was a teacher and the photo on the right, was taken while she was working as a housekeeper for the Governor.  These photos were probably taken around 1924 - 1926, making my grandmother about 20 - 22 years old.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Young Stephen Flynn Jr

My Grandfather, Stephen Flynn Jr was born on Flynn's Hill, February 26th, 1895. He was the seventh child of Stephen Flynn Sr and Mary Ann Tubrett. According to my mother's notes, her father Stephen was a Diesel Engine and Crane Operator, also a Plumber by Trade.

He over came the obstacle of loosing the sight of one eye during a welding accident, when a metal fragment entered his left eye. This injury occurred around 1917, at the age of 22 years, he was working in Sydney Nova Scotia at the time.  My mother also states that according to his co-workers he earned the reputation of being the best in his trade, with a lot of determination to go on in spite of any hardship.                                                                                 

I came across an original document belonging to my Grandfather, entitled Newfoundland Fireman's License, dated Nov 2nd 1926, he was 31 years old. Uncle Ray explained that a Fireman's License in those days was awarded for work and maintenance on large boilers of  buildings that used coal or fuel oil.  I also found several documents of recognition, at one point my grandfather was employed at the Dry Dock with W.I. Bishop LTD. and later with The Dry Dock Re-Construction in the capacity of Engineer and Driver of the Rotary Pile Driver and was given high recommendation for his work. ( No date was recorded on this document)

A Letter of Reccomendation was written after his years of service at the Argentia Naval Base from 1942 to 1949, His specialty was Plumbing and Pipefitting, the letter states that during theses years he was often called on to perform work as a Boiler Maker and Repairman, and also as Engineman Hoist and Power, which involved running a forty-ton Derrick and that he prerformed these additional duties very creditably.

The letter ends by stating Stephen Flynn Jr is an idustrious man, agreeable, and keeps his mind on his work regardless of any outside distrations or influences. This letter was signed by L.V.A. Wood, Quaterman Pipefitter.

These letters and the above information give me some insight of the type of person my grandfather was as a young man.. Life during these times was not easy, men often had to travel for work to provide for their families.  My grandfather was an intelligent man who stood up to challenge and adversity.