Charles Flanagan
(January 1, 1779 - abt. 1840)

'Charles Flanagan & the move to Cloverport'

Charles Flanagan was the third son and fourth child of Whittle Flanagan, and was born on New Year's Day, 1779, as recorded in Whittle's bible in Louisa County, Virginia. On February 2, 1803, Charles married Elizabeth Saunders, daughter of David Saunders. This is established by a power of attorney granted by Elizabeth to her husband, 17 November 1821, wherein she declares that she is the daughter of David Saunders, deceased, of Louisa County.

Charles lived in Gordonsville, Albemarle County soon after he was married. He first appears on the records of Louisa County in the following entry: "Louisa County Court for 13 August 1804, on the motion of Charles Flannagan that Stephan Flannagan pay him two dollars and fifty-four cents for two days attendance and once traveling sixteen miles as a witness for him against Johnson's heirs as the law directs". In another case cited November 11, 1805, Charles is recorded as a witness in a suit of 'Hooper vs. Downing'. In both of these instances it is interpreted that he traveled a one way distance of 16 miles to the Courthouse. The Flanagan land interests in Louisa County at this period were west of the Louisa Courthouse. Sixteen miles west of the Courthouse would at the time mean that Charles lived in Albemarle County.

On December 15, 1808, Charles bought from Elizabeth F. Walker, widow of Capt. Thomas Walker, certain interests in 58 acreas of land with a mill thereon in Albemarle County. It is interesting to note that both Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe also had their homes in Albemarle County at this same time.

Additional records of land transactions are dated June, 12, 1811, again February 29, 1812 and on December 14, 1812 for Charles Flanagan. The last record of Charles living in Virginia is December 1, 1815, when he and his wife sold two tracts of land and interest in the mill property to Meriwether Lewis Walker for the sum of $3,000.00.

There is a record of a "1814 Flannigan House" being built in Joeville (Cloverport), Breckinridge County, Kentucky, by Charles Flanagan. Because of this year I believe that Charles, his wife and their son James Winwright (Wainwright), born September 5, 1805 in Albemarle County, left Virginia and came to Kentucky in 1814. A power of attorney dated 17 November, 1821, from Elizabeth Flanagan of Breckinridge County, Kentucky stated she was not able to come to Virginia to look after her interest in her father's estate, and she was appointing her husband Charles, to act for her. In June of 1823, Charles' father, Whittle Flanagan, gave a Deed of Trust to James Fielding on 100 acres of land and certain personal property in Louisa County, to secure to Ewel Boulware for bail bond of Charles Flanagan. The purpose of the bail bond is unknown.

Charles started the first trading post in Cloverport, Ky, located on the north banks of Clover Creek. A large building made of logs, it was an ideal location to float products down the creek, and to barter and trade goods brought in by big keel boats.

So successful was his business that Charles eventually acquired a flotilla of flat boats on the Ohio River, and each year he would send these flat boats to New Orleans and then return on foot. A few years later, the trading post was moved to the west end of town closer to the river. In 1820, Charles built a new residence, known as the 'Satterfield Homestead'.

The tax records of Breckinridge County for 1826 through 1829 list Charles Flanagan and his brothers Ruben and James, as well as his son James Winwright. Also listed is a Whatley Flanagan. I also have a copy of a hand written letter that refers to a daughter named Caroline Elizabeth Corbin Flannigan.

Sometime after 1829, on one of Charles' trips back to Cloverport from New Orleans I understand that he developed a fever and died. I do not have an exact date.

I have seen several other 'family trees' that list as children of Charles; Louisa Anne, b. 6 April, 1804, James Winwright, Caroline, b. 6 Sept., 1812, and Agrippina A. Flanagan. In these other 'trees' most show Charles died in 1840 in Cloverport.

His wife, Elizabeth Saunders Flanagan, died in September of 1832, and is buried on a hill near the Satterfield homestead overlooking Clovertport, Kentucky.

'James Winwright Flanagan & the move to Texas'

James Winwright Flanagan, born September 5, 1805, died September 19, 1887.

Perhaps no other great grandfather of mine has had more written about him, his exploits, career and political status. The following is taken from our family records and newspaper accounts of his life.

James W. Flanagan traveled with his parents, Charles and Elizabeth Saunders Flanagan, from Albemarle County, Virginia to Cloverport, Kentucky around 1814. He would have been 9 years of age. He helped his father with a successful family business located on the Ohio River, dealing in horses and general goods. The business operated a flotilla of flatboats on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, transporting the merchandise of the Cloverport area to New Orleans.

In 1825 James W. became a lawyer and served as Justice of the Peace for twelve years. He was a member of the Circuit Court of Breckinridge County from 1833-1843, after which he moved to Harrison County, Kentucky for a year.

His first wife was Polly Miller Moorman from Louisa County, Virginia, who gave birth to Webster in Cloverport, KY on January 9, 1832. Around a year after living in Kentucky, James Winwright and his family moved to Rusk County, Texas. The following is taken from a newspaper article presumably published in Cloverport;

'Flanagan had heard of the wonderful state of Texas and yearned to go there. The more he thought of going the more determined he became to go and sure enough decided to leave. The news spread quickly that Flanagan, the biggest and most progressive merchant in Cloverport, had closed a deal with a big New Orleans firm for all the tobacco, bacon and other farm products he could buy, at prices double the prices in those days. Buyers were sent out in every direction with instructions to get the goods regardless of price.

Very soon the roads were lined with wagons loaded with tobacco, bacon and other farm products headed for Flanagan's store. From the hills of Pellville to the rocks and vales of Grayson they came. A tobacco factory stood on the river bank below the Star Roller Mills. Here men were put to work making hogsheads. The sound of the hammer was heard all day and night. Hogsheads grew into the hundreds in number. Men and boys prized the tobacco. Great stacks of bacon were piled high. Flanagan was never more jovial than now. Freely he gave his notes I.O.U. to the farmers. When the returns came in he would always add "I will pay you all in full." No one ever doubted Flanagan. He was as good as gold. You could not get one to discount a note so high was the esteem in which he was held by the people.

Flanagan made a hurried trip to Louisville supposedly to buy a stock of goods as many of the farmers had exchanged their products for merchandise and his stock had run low. But in place of buying goods Flanagan's mission in Louisville was to charter a steamboat. He found a captain, the kind he was looking for, one who did not mind doing anything for the price. So a deal was made with him.

Flanagan arranged with the captain to get the boat in to Cloverport between midnight and daybreak, to ring no bell, and after the boat was loaded to leave straight for New Orleans.

On the date set, the boat came on time and landed at the foot of the street below the Star Roller Mills. The loading was done quickly because the captain had brought a big crew of men to help him. Now Flanagan had not tried to conceal all of the facts about the boat. He had told it to many of the slave owners that he would need all of the help he could get to load the boat, for the sooner he could get the goods off the sooner it would get to New Orleans, and then he and all would get their money. Consequently some twenty-five or more slaves arrived here the day before the boat was due and were housed in a room at the old factory.

As soon as the boat arrived they were put to work helping to load. Long before daylight everything was on board. What tobacco was not prized was packed on loose. In the meantime, Flanagan's family had gone aboard on the pretense of seeing the boat. The final act in the drama took place when a bunch of slaves were sent down in the hole of the boat by the captain to place the tangled mass of hoop poles in better shape.

As soon as they all got down in the hull the door of the hatch was closed and the slaves were prisoned.

Among the men was one white man. He was quite rough and about thecolor of a mullatto so was taken for a negro. But he made such a racket that he was finally released by Flanagan. No sooner was (he) out without ringing a bell headed Elmore (this must have been the man's name) ashore than the boat pulled down the river with Flanagan and all the slaves and the boat loaded with the products which the people never got a cent for except one man.

The next morning the news spread that Flanagan had left. "Oh, but he will come back!" "But he has sold his store house and his family have gone too" another added. But that was the last of Flanagan. Arriving at New Orleans he sold his goods, sold the slaves and went to the wilds of Texas. Many of the old settlers who held his notes continued to believe Flanagan would come back but they went to their graves waiting.

There lived near Pellville a man by the name of Bruner, who was one of Flanagan's customers. Bruner lost his tobacco, bacon, hoop-poles and several slaves. It ruined him. He brooded over his loss as he had no help and no money. One morning he got up, took down his old gun, and loaded it with buck shot. Going to the door he turned around to his wife and said "Good-bye, take care of the children. I don't know when I will come back. May never. But I am going to walk to Texas and get my money or get Flanagan." Headed south, Bruner walked all the way to Texas.

It took some time to locate Flanagan. But one morning as Flanagan and his wife were seated at breakfast in their palatial home, in walked Bruner unannounced. He leveled his gun at Flanagan's heart. Said "I've come for my money, Flanagan." With terror in his eyes Flanagan pleaded for his life. he told Bruner, "I can't get in the bank at this time. Wait and I will get it later in the day." Bruner answered him "Never will you leave that chair alive. Your wife can bring the money. I'll give you ten to start her." He started counting. "One, two, three," and so on. Flanagan saw the gleam in Bruner's eyes. He turned to his wife and gave her instruction as to where to get the money. After she returned with it Bruner said "Count it before my eyes." All of the time he never lowered his gun an inch. When he saw the money was right he started out the door, turning to Flanagan he remarked "Any attempt you make to have me arrested means death to you." Bruner then started back on his long walk to the hill of Hancock, having his money and was the only one who ever got a cent out of the deal.'

So end this published account of 'The James Flanagan Scheme of 1843'. In 2005 the estimated population of Cloverport, Kentucky was 1,262. Looking in the current telephone book, you will find no last names beginning with Fl other than two people named Flood. There are no Flanagans.

In Rusk County, Texas, James Winwright Flanagan practiced law, operated a store, farmed and dealt in land. He participated in the first court held in Rusk County, under a big oak tree. During the 1850's he was editor of the newspaper "Star-Spangled Banner". He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from 1851-1852, and from 1855-1856 he was in the senate. He introduced bills to establish the first insane asylums in Texas, and to charter the Houston, Galveston and Henderson Railroad.

-- Bob Flanagan