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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Patrick Flanagan Part 1

Sometimes I don’t feel like I know much about my great-great grandfather, Patrick Flanagan. Then I remind myself of all the information that I do have about the Flanagan’s and how Patrick fits in there. He is the key to my Flanagan Family line. He’s the link from my Napa Flanagan’s to my Flanagan’s in Ireland. Without him, the story is incomplete.

My perception of this man is one of admiration. He worked hard, had few complaints, and was a family man, a farmer, and a winemaker. As I write winemaker, I think about how elegant that sounds by today’s standards. I actually know a winemaker in the Napa Valley in St. Helena, California. He works hard for sure but with technology, science and winemaking being what they are means that things are definitely different nowadays.

Where do I begin with Patrick? He was born in County Louth, Ireland, in 1834. I have the very specific location but will refrain from posting it on a public blog like this for good reason. He must have been smart. I’d like to think that my Flanagan Family had above average intelligence for the day. You can see this with the writing skills in the Flanagan letters. They were definitely educated. I’ve read letters to indicate that his uncle, Rev. Richard Flanagan, encouraged John and Anne Flanagan’s 11 children to practice and develop their writing skills. I am assuming that “Uncle Priest”, as they called him, was very well educated. I can’t imagine my life without education. It is one of the keys to making your way in and understanding the world around you. I value that gift every day.

This Flanagan Family Line had such a strong sense of family, religion (mainly Catholic), and faith in God. You can see that these elements of their lives are what kept them going through the years and has been handed down from generation to generation.

So right now I am going to quote some living Flanagan Researchers and make sure that I give them credit here. Their foreword about the transcribed Flanagan Letters is so touching.

“…You can’t escape the fact that family had a deep personal and spiritual meaning for all. Yet Fr. Richard was only the centre, in time, of the Flanagans in (Co. Louth). Almost one hundred years before Fr. Richard wrote the first letter in this volume, there were Flanagans living a similar lifestyle in (Co. Louth).” -- Fr. John Murphy and Donald Murphy

Back to Patrick…..All of this “Flanagan Philosophy” as I call it must have had a great impression on Patrick. This Flanagan Family is also known to be great record keepers, farmers, and businessmen (ok, women too!). Several of them have been caught doing Good Samaritan work on more than one occasion too. That’s right; they paid it forward just because it was the right thing to do.

So was Patrick perfect? And are any of us? Probably not and he made comments about that himself. In my opinion, and I think in the eyes of many, he was a great man in real Flanagan style.

To be continued……….

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