Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Memories of "Uncle Dad"

Lt to Rt Top Row, Stephen, Maryleah, "Uncle Dad" and "Nanny"
Bottom Row, Michael, Cousins Wayne, Janet and Me
Taken abt 1966-1967 in Lakeview, Harbour Main NFLD

Most families, you will find, have special names for their grandparents, they may use traditional titles or modified versions created by the grandchildren.  In our family we called our grandfather "Uncle Dad". My older sister MaryLeah gave him this title, the story goes something like this.  When my sister was very little (she is the oldest of us four),  my mother took her home to visit her family in Newfoundland.  There were many Uncles for her to get to know, Uncle George, Uncle Ray, and Uncle Bill.  My sister heard my mother call her father "Dad", so then my sister not knowing what to call him, just added Uncle to the beginning and his title became "Uncle Dad"  It did not take long before the rest of us did the same. 
Living so far away from my grandparents made it challenging to get to know them. Distance, time apart and childhood insecurities often got in the way, and by the time you warmed up and felt comfortable, it was time to head home. I would say I was closer to  "Nanny" my grandmother than I was to my grandfather "Uncle Dad".  Now, as an adult, I wish that I had gotten to know him a little better.
My grandfather was a very tall, thin, quiet man, "a man of few words", which made it difficult to converse with him. He was very serious and sometimes  extremely stern in his ways. I learned later in life that he did have many health issues, that possible were the reason for his discontent. I do remember though, and I don't think I will ever forget each time I came to visit my grandparents in Lakeview, Harbour Main, my grandfather would go into the cellar and get his axe along with some rope. He went out the back door and began cutting wood, making the seat of a swing that he would fasten to rope and hang from a branch of the Ash Tree, located just outside the back door. When he was finished, I quickly jumped on the swing and he would go back in the house and sit at the kitchen table looking out the window watching me swing. Very few words were exchanged, but this act made a long lasting impression on this little girl.


Friday, January 11, 2013

History of "The Flynn Estate" - Part 2


Stephen Flynn Jr, Photo taken Summer of 1981
on the Flynn Estate in Lakeview, Harbour Main
My Grandfather, Stephen Flynn Jr. died August 19th, 1981 at the age of 86 years old.

In his last years, although unable to maintain the property, was determine to remain on his family land until he died.

 According to Uncle Ray, my grandfather, in his "Will" divided the property between his two sons, the land on the Southside of Harbour Main to his son George and the property in Lakeview, Harbour Main to himself.  Uncle Ray explained that his father grew up during a time that it was not customary to leave property to women, even though my grandmother was still living. I was thinking, maybe my grandfather felt the land should be left to a Flynn descendant.  Uncle Ray states that immediately it was presented to the lawyer to have the "Will" rewritten so that the property be put in his mother's name because she was still living and could benefit from this asset.  When grandmother died in 1987 at the age of 83 the "Flynn Estate" was then divided among all the children just as it had been done 100 years prior in 1884 after the passing of Michael Flynn by his son Stephen Flynn Sr.
As the years passed, each of the children, who had established lives elsewhere, the daughters Mary, Agnes and Rose all living in the United States, George in St. John's and Ray traveling for his work, the property was then parceled off.  According to Uncle Ray, the property was offered to Ray and George's 10 children between them, but no one had an interest at that time. First the house with some land was sold, and then the barn with some land was sold.
Uncle Ray states to this day, there is still a bit of land left in his name, that may be sold in the near future.  Uncle George sold his portion of the property on the southside as well.
The piece of land in which my grandfather's nephew, William "Bill", built a house and raised his children is still in his family. Bill's oldest son had built a house next to his father's years ago.  Bill passed away in 1997 but according to Uncle Ray, Bill's house and land is now owned by one of his daughter's, Helen and that she has remodeled the house and uses it as a summer place.
I believe this property today, is still referred to as "Flynn's Hill" just as it was years ago.

History of "The Flynn Estate" - Part 1


Stephen Flynn Jr on  The Flynn Estate
abt 1950's
On several occasions, my Grandfather Stephen Flynn Jr. composed a hand written summary entitled " Hx of the Estate".  The original copy was among my mother's possessions and is now part of my genealogy file.  It is a valuable resource that I often review for information.

In the first summary, my grandfather tells about the first settler on Flynn's Hill, Daniel Dunlae from Ireland and his daughter Elizabeth who married Michael Flynn ( his Grandfather).  They settled on the southside of Harbour Main (waterside).  He reports they had seven children.
See Blog Entry - "The Beginning of Flynn's Hill"
November 10th, 2011

The second summary is dated August 1972, my grandfather is 77 years old at the time, he tells about his father Stephen Flynn Sr and his mother MaryAnn.  He talks about the oldest son Michael (his brother) who died Dec 1917 on Bell Island and Michael's wife who died the following month leaving a family of 5 children. My grandfather states that with his parents permission he took one son "Bill" to live with them on the Flynn Estate.
See Blog Entry - "Family Ties" November 30th, 2011

 Also in the second summary, my grandfather gives the exact dates his parents died and states there was no "Will" at the time of their death. According to the summary he remained on the Estate after the death of his parents and raised his family.  Years later he administered to the court for the Estate and collected letters from each of his siblings a "Deed of Release" 

                         Sister - Esther Flynn Lahey - Bell Island, Newfoundland
                         Brother - Phillip Martin Flynn - New York, USA
                         Brother - Patrick T. Flynn - Hamilton, Ontario
                         Sisters - Mary Ellen Flynn and Elizabeth Flynn Morey of New York

The Deed was recorded the 9th day of April 1957 A.D. at 12:40 P.M. Vol 524-5 " Deed of Release"

Stephen Flynn Jr and Ellen Mary Tobin Flynn
In front of their house in Lakeview Harbour Main, NFLD abt 1970's

These Family History Summaries have helped answer some of the questions regarding the Flynn Family beginnings in Lakeview Harbour Main,  Newfoundland, Canada almost 200 years ago. My Grandfather felt it was important to put into writing the history of his family and the land which had been in his family for so many years.  He had a strong sense of history and tradition. I think he would appreciate that the summaries were saved, studied and will be remembered.

The next entry will review the history of the Flynn Estate after my grandfather's death.