Friday, June 17, 2011

The Flack Years (1893-1900)

The beard belongs to one of my great, great, great grandfathers.  John Corrigan was born in Pennsylvania in 1833.  On October 8, 1847 a flood struck the Corrigan family's home in Morris Township, Huntingdon County.  One of John's most vivid memories would always be running back into his house as the flood struck to save his books, only to trip and drop them as he ran to higher ground.

John was the middle child of seven.  Trailing him by three years was his sister, Ann Corrigan.  Despite nearly twenty years researching my family history, I don't know much about Ann Corrigan beyond the basics.  She was born in 1836, married in 1860, and died in 1903.

Oh, and from 1893-1900 she and her husband owned my house.

Wilson and Ann (Corrigan) Flack were both in their fifties in 1893 when they bought the Einsel House. Two of their eight children were already married with growing families of their own.  But the remaining six children - George (29), Clara (25), Francis Albert (21), Mary (19), William (18) and Augusta "Gusta" (13) - surely provided plenty of help running the family's new 100 acre farm.

A local atlas published in 1896 outlines the Flack land:

Although property lines have obviously changed, the physical features portrayed on the above atlas remain remarkably unchanged.  The old Baptist church and cemetery are noted at the crossroads north of our house.  The square shaped woods beginning by the 'k' in Flack are still standing undisturbed.  With only one possible exception, every house shown on this atlas is still standing today.  (Although J. Mesnard's home is barely standing.)  The one black square that I'm unsure of is the one just east of the Mesnard property, along the creek on Abraham Cox's property.  That's a good distance off any road, and if any house remains at that location it has been long deserted.

But for me one of the most interesting similarities between this 1896 atlas and a theoretical contemporary atlas is that the newer version would have the same black squares in the same locations with no new squares.  This 1896 atlas clearly shows that every house in our neighborhood is at least 115 years old.  I like that.  : )

Turning back to the Flacks, by the time they reached their early 60s, Wilson and Ann must have decided that retirement sounded better than maintaining a 100 acre farm.  The deed recording their sale of the Einsel House to David Dellinger was recorded on March 31, 1900.  Three months later the Flacks were enumerated for the 1900 census while living in a rented house in the 'township seat' about 5 miles away.  Wilson's occupation was recorded as "retired farmer".

A post-script of sorts to this post is that as I was explaining this family connection to the house, my grandmother interrupted me to ask, "Did you say 'Flack'?".  Turns out she can vaguely remember as a child going with her own grandmother (John Corrigan's daughter Lulu) to Bloomville to visit "the Flack sisters" (who were Lulu's first cousins).  I still don't know a whole lot about the Flack family - their personalities, or their reasons for buying and later selling the Einsel House - but regardless I like the fact that I have a family connection to this house. 


  1. Did you know about this family connection when you bid on the house? I think it's wonderful!

  2. Yes, Kate, I discovered this connection in the spring of 2009, probably about 4 months before the sheriff sale.

    I told Charles at the time (only half joking) that it was "a sign" we were supposed to live here. :)