Dr. John Carroll Flinn
Susan McGuire Flinn
by Effie Dean Rogan Giles | Edited by Marvin Schubert

We start with John Carroll Flinn's father, Isiah O'Flinn/OFlyn. He was born in Tennessee in 1805 and later changed the family name to Flinn. Isiah married Rhoda Wood Teague, who was originally from Mechlenburg, North Carolina and together they had five children, William Henry, Sarah Angeline, David Franklin, Elizabeth Jane and John Carroll.

Dr. John Carroll Flinn was born near Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee, on Thursday, October 1, 1829.

His father, Isiah, was reported to be a breeder of fine horses, and accumulated quite a bit of cash during his lifetime. This was rather unusual for that day and age in the Western District of Tennessee. Money was very scarce, and few people had any of it in their pockets or in the banks. The pioneers took their cotton, pelts, beeswax, etc. to the stores, and the merchants accepted them in exchange for the staples, medicine and clothing that were needed. Thus it was that people could live without the possession of or circulation of much currency. Recently we have found that Isiaiah Flinn was a bondsman, trustee and banker of sorts in Bolivar in the 1830s. He provided loans to settlers in need of cash and was reported to be gentleman and scholar. Isiaiah was reported to be well educated and fluent in Latin and Greek.

Who Isiah descended from is still being researched at this time. Some information, based on statements made by genealogist, John H. Love, seem to support the notion that three brothers, William, Frank, and Jasper came to America together from Protestant Northern Ireland in the early 1800s with Jasper as the father of Isiah.

Other family members, cousin Felix of Steele, Mo. said that Jasper was born here rather than having immigrated. He is noted as having said that Jasper was born near and lived around Nashville, Tenn. in Bedford.

Effie Dean Rogan, daughter of Sallie Flinn, who did some research on the family held the belief that Isiah's father's name was Isiah O'Flyn.

This conflicting information will no doubt be resolved some day we hope. But for now, back to the story.

John Carroll had a congenital deformity of the foot, and was not able to do prolonged physical labor although this did not restrict John. John and his mother and younger brother and sister were living with his Grandfather, John Teague, in the 1850 census. John Carroll is identified as a Saddler by trade. John evidently worked making saddles and latter it appears he bought the business.

As he grew older, John found he had an interest in medicine. He and his family agreed that he should pursue a career in medicine. He went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., where he soon graduated with a degree in medicine. Years later his own son, Joseph Franklin Perry Flinn, was a student at the same school and a pupil of one of John’s old classmates.

Shortly before his 27th birthday, Dr. John Carroll Flinn married Miss Susan Frances McGuire.

Susan had lived with her cousin Hardie Parker who was 5 years older than her as a child. He too became a Dr. and it may well be that John Carroll Flinn and Dr. David Hardie probable relationship as physician lead to John Carroll and Susan's meeting at a later date.

Susan Frances McGuire, daughter of James McGuire and Rachel Bailey, is said to have been born in Medon, Madison County, Tennessee on Saturday, February 11, 1837.

After the treaty with the Chickasaws had been completed in 1818, settlers began to pour into the Western District of Tennessee. One winter a big blizzard blew up and a hunter sought refuge in a hollow tree in the vicinity of what is now Medon. He froze to death and the location became known as Frozen Oak. The first settlement in that part of the country was made about 1825, and the town was established nine years later. The post-office was called Clover Creek instead of Frozen Oak. That name did not please the citizens and they finally chose the name Medon, and it has remained the same ever since. The story goes that Mike a popular Irishman and handyman, had the habit as he finished working at the end of the day or on a job of throwing down his tools and announcing: "Me done". This caught the fancy of the natives, and became a by-word among them. They decided to name their town Medon and the first thirty-nine lots were plotted and sold in 1834. Among the first purchasers were Peter Swink, James McGuire, Henry Sharp Parker.

One stormy day in 1847, Rachel Bailey McGuire was standing near the fireplace in the kitchen She was skimming milk and placing the rich, thick cream into a crock churn. Suddenly a bolt of lightening crashed against the side of the house and Rachel was instantly killed. This accidental death was to haunt her descendants through the third generation. During the next hundred years her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had to train themselves not to have a mortal fear of thunderstorms and lighting.

Susan Frances McGuire was ten years old at the time of her mother's death. Susan was one the four McGuire children who were placed in the care of relatives. Why the children did not stay with their father has always puzzled me. Documents suggest that Susan's father James' McGuire was probably dead by the mid 1850s or before. I have wondered if did not go west with the 49ers in search of Gold while leaving his children with family members. He may have been distraught at the loss of his Rachel and chose to seek his fortune with the many other men who rushed to the West in hopes of quick riches. For what ever reasons, the children were placed with other family members. Susan and her brothers, George and David Perry McGuire went to live with their maternal grandfather, Ishmael Bailey, while her sister, Mary, went to live with her paternal aunt, Martha nee McGuire Blair, whom they called "Aunt Mat"

After Grandfather Bailey's death which occurred in the fall of 1854, Susan went to live with the Parker family for about a year n half before she married in August of 1856. Henry S. Parker according to some family reports had married one of Susan McGuire's aunts. Henry S. Parker and family had lived in the Medon community since 1832. Their son, Dr. David Hardie Parker (b. 1832 –d. 1901) was to become Susan’s favorite relative. He graduated from Botanical Medical College in Memphis in 1853 and returned to Medon where he continued to live the rest of his life. He was a progressive citizen, an active member of the Methodist church, and, a successful physician and farmer. The Parker family according to Godspeed, below lived in the Medon community of Madison County, Tennessee. The fact that Hardie Parker was the executor of the estate of Ishmael Bailey may suggest that David was his nephew by marriage. ( also see the Parker page where Ishmael is identified as a bussiness partner with Henry S. Parker)

(Note: See Godspeeds notes on Dr. David Hardie Parker)

It may be noted that Susan thought kindly enough of her Cousin Hardie that she named one of her children after him. Subsequently one of her Grandchildren was named Hardie, Hardie Hutto, and the name remains in use in the Hutto family through the 5th generation.

The wedding of nineteen year old Susan Frances McGuire and Dr. John Carroll Flinn was solemnized on Wednesday, August 13, 1856. Nine months and one day later their first child, Mary Jane " Jennie", was born, the father of Hardie Hutto. Fifteen more children were born to them during the next 23 years. Three sons died in infancy, but the rest of the children grew to maturity. One of them, Effie May, died in her 29th year, but the other twelve lived long and active lives. The hardiness of the brood was due in part, at least, to the fact that Susan Frances was so fond of "pot-liquor" as she called it. She never threw any of the water away in which vegetables, meat or fowl had been cooked. Therefore, long before the awareness of a pre-natal necessity for vitamins, Susan was well fortified for her constant childbearing.

Modern day nutritionists insist that homemakers save all liquids from their cooking since it actually contains the most food value and vitamins. Susan, without knowing it, was many decades in advance of her times. She was particularly fond of the "pot-liquor" from cabbage, turnip-greens, mustard greens and collards - all of it simply oozing with vitamins and minerals.

Susan Frances joined the Methodist Church when she was twenty years of age.

The Methodist Church had a strong foot hold in western Tennessee, and the people enjoyed their religion. They were very strict about such things as dancing, card playing, horseracing, drinking, and riotous conduct. However, much of their social life centered about their meeting houses and a glorious, soul-saving revival was held each year. People were moved by the songs, sermons and prayers; they flocked to the "mourner's bench" to ask forgiveness for their sins; they shed tears of joy for the promise of salvation; they gave vent to their emotions by loud and prolonged shouting. Her grandchildren used to tease Susan Frances, about being a "shouting Methodist". She would grin with a knowing look, and never once denied the charge.

Besides the pleasures of the church-life, Dr. and Mrs. Flinn enjoyed the logrolling, quilting-bees, hunting, corn husking, fish fries, muster-days, house-raisings, and barbecues. The barbecues were a popular means of entertainment. They were used to celebrate the 4th of July, a great occasion when speeches were made and the Declaration of Independence read.

The ladies would carry baskets of homemade bread, pastries, preserves, pickles, and bowls of garden-fresh vegetables. They would spread clean cloths on the ground or on long, crude tables. When the heaping pans of barbecue were passed around the feast was complete. In the afternoon, the children either romped or slept on quilts spread under the trees, the men talked crops and politics, the women sat waving their turkey-tail fans and catching up on the latest obstetrical folklore. Sometimes they went home at "early candle lighting"; sometimes tarried at the picnic grounds and enjoyed the bright moonlight. Some of their more ungodly neighbors loved fist fighting, horse racing, shooting matches with the betting that accompanied these sports.

They were not restricted by the Methodist precept about not dancing, and they tripped "on light fantastic toe" whenever the opportunity presented itself. Sometimes they held "bran dances " out in the open. The name of this particular kind of gathering ring was derived from the fact that the ground had been sprinkled with husks of Indian meal. There was much practical joking hard drinking and occasional stealing among the rowdies of the neighborhood.

Dr. and Mrs. Flinn were living in Henderson County, Tennessee, when the Civil War broke out on April 12, 1861. Less than two months later, on June 8, 1861, Tennessee seceded and from then on Dr. and Mrs. Flinn were loyal Confederates though there were times they had to hide it - especially after the Union troops gained the area surrounding their home. American Civil War Tennessee Map of Battles

Note : Bolivar in Hardeman County Tenn. was occupied by Federal troops from 5 June 1862 until 9 June 1863, and, from July 1863 until October 1864, the town was subjected to raids and occupations by both sides. The Flinn family lived in Henderson County during the war near Lexington. ( Read here about the Henderson County History during the Civil War.Henderson County

The "river war" began in Western Tennessee early in 1862. It was Ulysses S. Grant's firm conviction that the main attack on the Confederates should be made along the Mississippi River. He felt that control of the river would cut off part of Louisiana and all of Texas and Arkansas from the rest of the Confederacy. If the Union forces could control the Mississippi, it would enable the Yankees to start at any point and move eastward through the Southern states of

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Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Most of the best Confederate generals were occupied with the situation in Virginia, and this helped Grant's cause in the West. He had to cope only with lesser Confederate generals and troops not so well trained or disciplined as those in the East.

During the next three years Dr. and Mrs. Flinn suffered acute anxiety and many hardships, never knowing what the next day would bring. Susan, already the mother of three children when the war started, bore three more babies before the conflict stopped on April 9, 1865. They were:

John William - born on Monday 4, 1861.

Sallie Bet - born on Thursday, July 23, 1863.

Thomas Henry - born on February 4, 1865,

Continued Dr. John C. Flinn and Susan McGuire

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