Patrick Hardy Flynn and Clara Leta Vaughan Flynn
PATRICK HARDIE FLINN
He was a tall, large Irishman, with blue eyes and red hair. He had the Irish complexion, which is perfect. His humor was subtle and constant, as an Irishman's should be. His love of family and home helped mold his life into a tale which only the warm of heart should read. He loved horses and beautiful farm land. Often as he rode from town, he would stop at a special place where he could look down over his farm and crops. This was peace, this was his life.
Time out! Have you ever known a family to change their names as often as Pat's? The story is told that three brothers came from Northern Ireland, named O'Flyn. The Irish were greatly persecuted in America, in those early days, so tried to change the name to be more American, but continue to keep pride in their mother country. O'Flyn became Flinn and eventually, Flinn became Flynn to two sons of John Carroll Flinn and Susan Frances McGuire Flinn. Some of their children chose to be called by middle names, changed names, any name they wished. No legal papers had to be drawn up, just start using it and it was yours
When Pat and Leta were in Floydada, they used Flynn, except when writing home!! All mail coming from Hutto was addressed to the Flinns. One letter from Hutto was from Susan Frances, who signed herself S. F. Flinn. Not mother nor Mama, S.F. I call that different also.
Pat's children did the same thing! Patrick Holman was called Holman by his Mama as long as she lived, but as he grew up, he loved the name Pat, for it was more Irish. Mildred chose her name from Frances Mildred. It caused more than a tiny bit of trouble for generations to come, trying to trace Grand pa's, Grand ma's, aunts 'n uncles, etc. But the joy in learning about them made up for all the work!
Back to the story. Patrick Hardie Flinn-later known as Pat Hardy Flynn- was born 22 June 1877 in Hutto, Williamson County,Texas, his father, John Carroll Flinn, M.D., his mother, Susan Frances McGuire, midwife. Pat was the twelfth of thirteen living children. His older brothers took pride in teasing him, but always in fun. His younger sister by two years was Margaret Pearl. They must have been close, for Margaret seemed to be close to each member of her family. She had a romance at one time in her young life, but all her brothers objected to her young man, so she taught school and never married.
Pat was only eighteen when his father passed away. His plans had been to follow in his Father and brother Joe's footsteps and become a doctor. At John Carroll's death, the family gathered and it was decided Pat needed to work the farm and care for his mother and four sisters left at home. Pat seldom spoke of what might have been. He accepted life as it was and tried to do his best in all situations. He evidently did well as a farmer, for he had a buggy and two matching horses to pull it. All his life he loved horses, but none could compare to Felix and Dink.
One day Hutto had a new family to gossip about. The Methodist Church had a new preacher and his family was large. Something for each Hutto Citizen to talk and think about. What glorious news for a small town to have!
The preacher was Stephen James Vaughan, and wife, Laura Alice Spurill. One member of the Vaughan family took Pat's breath away. She was Clara Leta Vaughan, and she was like no Irish woman he had known. She was about 5"6" tall, dark hair and eyes, and curled and frilled herself as no young lady he had seen. Pat fell in love rather quickly, but found his first hurdle to Leta's father. Stephen Vaughan made it his business to check out all young men in the area, who were even close to his daughter's age. Pat was five years older, was known about town to be a lively man, drove his own horses and buggy, and was too obviously interested in his Leta. Though the Flinn's were faithful Methodists, he felt Pat was a little too fast for his liking.
Now Leta, on the other hand, saw what a wonderful man Pat was. She had to play it cool, so when asking her parents if she could go to 'a preachin' at the next small town she approached her father first , who frowned, but said to ask her mother. Mother was busy in the kitchen and answered that it was okay with her, if her father approved. Leta rushed to her father saying it was fine with Mama, so the date was set.
Pat pulled his buggy up to the door of Leta's house and went in to be approved by the entire family, something Pat felt very tongue-in-cheek about, but soon, he helped Leta into his buggy, and off they went to the the next town.
It was quickly observed that Papa Vaughan was following close behind them. It may have embarrassed Leta, but Pat loved this cat'n'mouse game. Pat would slow down, so would Papa. Pat would speed up, so would Papa. Pat had a delightful time, and about then they both realized that Papa was to be the guest preacher that evening. After preachin' came a time for singn'. Pat could really show off in that area. He had a booming base voice that was very easy to listen to. It was one of the things that made him popular at parties.
Too soon it was time to return home. As expected, Papa pulled his buggy right behind them as they headed for Hutto. Pat thought this was a choice moment, so he pulled to the side of the road and waved Papa ahead. Papa would simply halt his buggy and wait for them to move on. After several times of this little game, Pat looked at Rev. Vaughan and waved him on. By then Papa realized it was Pat's little joke and he would smile and shake his head as if to say no. What an ice breaker.
Eventually, the two lovers won the day, and a wedding date was set for the second of January, 1906, in Colorado City, Texas where the Vaughan had moved for another assignment in the Church. On the date of the wedding a large lightning storm arose and the electricity went out over the entire city. Being a small town, the electric company phoned Leta not to worry. By the time the wedding would start they promised to have the power back on. Leta was a bit concerned, for most of the decor was in the lighting.
Leta's wedding dress was a breath taking sight. In her corsets, her waist was only 17 inches. Her mama had purchased white muslin to be laid down the center aisle, thinking she could always use it another time. Hopeless! After the wedding, the guests all trampled the cloth to shreds! But all were happy.
The newly weds moved to Floydada, Texas, where S.J. Vaughan owned some farming property. Pat was eager to make the land as fertile as his land in Hutto, but the Panhandle of Texas is nothing like the land he had farmed in Hutto. Try as he would, the weather kept him disappointed. They build themselves a house, after Patrick Holman and Frances Mildred were born. They lost one female child soon after birth. Laura May Flynn was born and died in 1908. Pat loved working with his hands and was helping out with building the house when Holman overhead him say "dadgumit!" When Leta heard her son using the same language as her husband, she gave Pat a good talking to! Pat used "dadgumit" as his only swear word all his life. Wonder where Holman learned the other curse words he knew? Not from his father, you betcha!
At last the Flynns were in their new home, but not for long. A tornado twirled through Floydada, taking the home, wedding china, crystal and silver. Pat was at the butcher shop he now owned, and Leta had time to rush her children to a neighbor's home. They were all safe, but had to start anew. Pat took it in stride, but we don't know the effect it had on Leta. She never talked about it.
Ahhh, the butcher shop. It had the only ice box in the town, saw dust on the floors, and the back door led to the delivery wagon and horse Pat kept in the rear of his shop. Deliveries were made before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pat butchered and cut meat for many families in the area. His favorite story was about a customer who was cranky and a tiny bit mean. He delivered a sirloin steak to her one morning, and had to listen to how she knew good meat when she saw it, and that cut of meat was unacceptable! Pat thoughtfully told her he wished to please his customers and he would return soon. He made the rest of his rounds, then took the sirloin back to the shop, carefully wrapped in in new white paper and returned to his dissatisfied customer. She praised the meat and told Pat she just knew he could do better than what he had brought her previously. Stories like this one kept Pat smiling and chuckling all his life.
Pat was pleased when Holman had auburn hair with red highlights sparkling through it, but his pride was full to overflowing when his red headed Mildred was born. Many of the family had red hair, from Pat's Grandmother, Rhoda Wood Teague, down to his great-granddaughter, Melody. Beautiful red haired children all.
Pat's son, Holman, married at age 17 and gave Pat three grandchildren. After a time he was divorced and took another wife and they produced two more grand sons. Holman was a brave man--his first wife was named Velma, and his second, Elma. Now I ask you, wasn't he brave?
Pat's daughter, Mildred, married Ollie Walker who worked for the Santa Fe Railroad as a ticket agent. Mildred could have no children and decided not to adopt. Ollie's work was then in Corpus Christi, Texas, so they decided to buy a house in Portland, Texas. They bought two houses, side by side, one for them, one for Pat and Leta. Mildred held fast to her mama all her life, as you will see.
In Portland, Pat worked in a butcher shop of a grocery store, only one block from their home. When Holman's children visited them, it was winter in the Panhandle, and of course, summer as usual in Portland. The younger children enjoyed playing out of doors, especially on an old tire swing Pat put up for them in the back yard. Leta used bluing for everything including mosquito bites which were quite numerous in the area. After naps, we were given a nickel to go to Pat's store. He made us feel grown up as we spend our nickels.
When depression hit our country, it wounded us all. Pat was out of work as was the owner of the grocery where Pat worked. No one could or would work harder than Pat, but no work of any kind was to be had. Black gloom fell over the country. Some men left their families to find work, and many never returned. Shame kept them from home.
FDR created jobs for his fellow Americans. Pat was put on as foreman of a road crew, building roads, and up-dating others. He had to go to Louisiana, but he had work, and could care for his family. It was his kind of life anyway, and he enjoyed it greatly. The men worked together, ate together and slept out under the stars. Pat rode a horse to check on all road work and keep the men busy.
Pat loved to tell the story of laying road next to a posted watermelon patch. His crew murmured over the tempting watermelons and spoke right out about the posted sign. Pat gathered them together and told them that if they would obey the sign and not even eye the tempting melons, he could promise it would not be long before they had melon dripping from their mouths. Three days went by, when at last the farmer came to Pat and praised his road crew. In the hot sticky weather he could but imagine their thirst and want of a melon or two. The farmer gave permission for the entire group to help themselves as long as they worked near. What a feast! When Pat told this story, one could see the black seeds of a Black Diamond watermelon and see the inviting red meat of the center. Pat said he never got enough watermelon, and he would only eat the center and throw the seed part away!
Another story came from his work in Louisiana, a story not told often, but would be with him the rest of his days on earth. For some reason his horse threw him and he broke his right leg at the knee. A crew member rushed to the nearest town and got a doctor. Oh, how he needed his brother, Joe, for this doctor set his leg wrong, giving him a limp and eventually requiring him to use a cane the rest of his life.
When Pat's grandson was asked what he remembered about his grandfather, he remarked about his large bones and big hands. Certainly his crippled leg was mentioned, but most of all, his memory pictured a head of snow white hair... the envy of all. Pat was always a good looking man.
After the road job was finished, Pat and Leta were back in the darkness of depression. These were the days families stuck together. Holman rented a two bedroom, one bath house on River Road in Pleasant Valley, just north of Amarillo. His family of five lived there along with a sister-in-law, her husband and son, who brought along a milk cow. Holman heard of his parents problem, and sent them money to come live with the rest of the clan. Holman had a job, they now had a milk cow, and Pat planted a garden. Not just any garden but a GARDEN!! Pat, having four little children with nothing to do, put a large fence around his garden. Then he called the children to his side. Looking very sober, he told the four that they must never play in the garden. With pointed finger, he stressed this rule over 'n over. (Ever give a child an idea by telling him what NOT to do?) You got it, the children played games of waiting for Pat to be in the house, then they rushed to climb the fence and hide between rows of corn. All of these plants were new to the kids, and they were enthralled with the wonders the garden held. They also quivered and knew fright when Pat would enter the forbidden gate to start looking over his crops. As he passed one row, we sneakily stepped to the other side. The nervous giggling never caught Pat's attention. Wonder why? He may have been a ogre to us, but he enlivened out lives in a manner never forgotten. What fun he must have had, as we thought we had pulled the wool over his eyes! Not long after, the cow and her family moved to City Lake, just outside of Amarillo, to manage the lake, boats, etc.
A bit later Pat and Holman found another two bedroom house in Amarillo, at 303 Mississippi. There we learned of Pat's love of dominos! Goodness me, the time spent 'shaking the rocks' and of laughing and having good family fun.
Ollie was transferred to Amarillo buy the Santa Fe, and Mildred found two apartments side by side. Yep, one for Pat and Leta.
Across the street from his apartment was a perfect place for a restaurant. It was at 6th and Florida. (later 6th street became Highway 66). Pat named it the Blue Bonnet Cafe. Naturally, he had a story about the cafe he loved to tell. A customer came in for breakfast and asked him if he could make pancakes. "The best" answered Pat. The man asked if his pancakes were done in the middle? Pat made him a promise that if he found fault with any of the food, the man would not have to pay. Pat smiled as he told us how much the man ate and how well he enjoyed it!
Pats cooking helped him when, after W.W.II, he ran the market in a grocery store one block from his apartment. One day of the week he made chili, another day he made Bar-B-Q. It was just after W.W.II and women had a bit more money to spend, and his orders for chili 'n Bar-B-Q grew in numbers.
During all this time in Amarillo, Pat and Leta saw to the Christian side of their grandchildren's lives. We all attended the San Jacinto Methodist Church on 6th Street. Again, another of Pat's favorite stories. The children were each given a scripture to memorize and give the following Sunday in Church. His grandson was not too interested in memorizing, but all worked with him through the week. Early Sunday morning, he was put through his paces again. He did very well. Then came the time to face the congregation and recite. He pulled his little shoulders back and said, "I was glad when the Lord said unto me git in the house." Pat's laughter rang out so loud the Baptist and Christian churches could hear him.
Speaking of loud voices....as I grew up sitting beside Pat and Leta, I was soon to realize that Pat had a marvelous voice. As I grew older I was asked to sing with the church choir. The time came when I sang a solo with the choir. My voice boomed just as Pat's did! Mercy, I could bellow, but I bellowed on key. One of the men in Pat's Sunday School Men's class asked Pat if I would join him in his quartet next Sunday. Pat was pleased and they gave him the choice of hymns. It was really no challenge, for his favorite hymn was, " In The Garden". Next Sunday found me in a new world of the Church. The men had coffee and doughnuts, during their service. (All I ever got was a tiny cup of grape juice and a bit of cracker once a month, called Sacrament!) When we stood to sing, the two other gentlemen let me stand beside my Pat. They thought perhaps the kind thing to do was sing softly. Pat and I boomed, where applicable, and they did too. Our voices blended into a lovely quartet. The number was sung with such feeling that I needed to cry, so I left after the the song was over. Pat hugged and kissed me, and I stood outside and cried for happiness.
Mildred's husband passed away, and she and her parents decided to buy a home, then later build a home to suit them better. With a home came a yard, and one can see Pat with a push mower in front of him and his cane helping him mow.
Later in life Pat found time heavy on his hands. Mildred worked and Leta had her house to keep her busy, but Pat sat in his room listening to the radio or thinking of the good old times. His leg gave him quite a bit of trouble, and I can still smell the horse lineament he used on himself...perfume to me.
My family lived in the small town of Happy, Texas, about 35 miles south of Amarillo. We often drove into Big A, and asked Leta if Pat could come play with us. She never disagreed. The fun we had over a set of dominos! The talking we did!
Pat's good cooking came in handy.. but not to me! Ask him what he wanted to eat and it was always the same answer, oatmeal for breakfast, dinner for lunch and lunch for dinner! With dinner came his favorite food, GRAVY!! I told him I couldn't make gravy and he told me it was the easiest thing in the world. Not so, let me tell you! I would follow his instructions and put in a dab of this and a dab of that and end crying, "it's too thick! or it's too thin!" His response was always the same, "just the way I like it!".
The time came when Pat was having difficulty remembering which 'rocks' had been played and which were still out to play. He was at our home in Happy, when he became so frustrated he slammed his dominos face down and said he had better give up! I know his blood pressure was high, I made as light of the situation as I could, but nothing seemed to help. The next day we took him home to Amarillo, as planned. Our telephone was ringing when we returned to our home, and Mildred told us he had had a stroke. His speech was poor, but he made it clear he wanted to be in Canyon's hospital, exactly half way between Amarillo and Happy. We met the ambulance at the emergency entrance to Nesbet hospital. The doctor let me stay by his side while he made his examination.
All the family met us outside the examination room, where the doctor told us Pat had had a major stroke, from which he could not recover. He agreed to hospitalize him, but told us nothing could be done for him. We had someone with him day and night. His son and I were with him when he passed from this world. He died so silently and with no pain.
Patrick Hardy Flynn died on 29 April 1965 in Canyon, Randall County, Texas, and was buried the first of May, 1965, in Llano Cemetery, Amarillo, Potter County, Texas.
I love him...I miss him... I am sorry you couldn't know him as I did.
HE WAS A VERY GOOD MAN
notes by Michael Maurice Flynn Pulsipher, granddaughter, July 1998
Patrick Hardy Flinn/Flynn was the son of Dr. John C. Flinn and Susan McGuire. He was born in Williamson County. One of 13 children that John and Susan had.
Patrick Hardy Flynn
1 Patrick Hardy Flynn b: June 22, 1877 in Hutto, Williamson Co. , Texas
.. +Clara Leta Vaughan b: March 19, 1883 in Whitt Parker, Texas m: January 02, 1906 in Colorado City, Mitchell, Texas
... 2  Patrick Holman Flynn b: October 19, 1906 in Hutto, Williamson Co. , Texas
....... +Velma Cleo Cazzell b: August 19, 1904 in Denton, Denton County, Texas m: September 20, 1924 in Canyoun, Randall County, Texas
... *2nd Wife of  Patrick Holman Flynn:
....... +Elma Sanders m: August 01, 1947 in Memphis, Hall, Texas
... 2 Laura May Flynn b: 1908 in Floydada, Floyd County, Texas
... 2  Mildred Francis Flynn b: August 10, 1909 in Floydada, Floyd, Texas
....... +Philip Lee Johnson m: February 22, 1928 in Amarillo, Potter County, Texas
... *2nd Husband of  Mildred Francis Flynn:
....... +Ollie Alex Walker b: March 18, 1984 in Texas m: July 04, 1936 in Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas
Flinn Family |
Dr. John C. Flinn and Susan McGuire |
Several pictures of Patrick can be seen here
Framed Picture of Patrick
Pictures and links to pictures of the Flinn Family
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Marvin's Midi Page
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