The collection consists of letters written between various members of the Flinn family between 1847 and 1873. The majority
of the letters are addressed to Samuel Flinn from his brothers, nieces, and nephews. Major topics covered in the correspondence
include western expansion and travel, farming and agriculture, Michigan and Ohio state politics, national politics, land tenure
and the settlement of estates, Ohio state banking laws, the practice of ophthalmology, religious revivals in Ohio, the Spiritual
Knockers movement in New York state, emigration to California, and family relationships, including courtship and marriage,
in New York, Michigan, and Ohio.
The Flinn brothers were the sons of Peter Flinn (1780-1850) and Castilla Richardson (1786-1854), residents of Union Springs,
New York, and early settlers of the Cayuga reservation. The eldest brother, Samuel Flinn (1806-1873) was a farmer in Springport,
New York, who inherited his father’s homestead. He married Mary J. Penny and had two surviving sons, Glenn (b.1860) and Edward
(b.1867). Morris Flinn (1811-1891) lived in Rushville, New York, and served on the New York State Assembly. He married Harriet
Amelia Whitney (1818-1900). Chester Flinn (1818-1900) was a sometime surgeon who spent time farming with his brothers in Ohio
and Michigan. John Flinn was an ophthalmologist and farmer who lived in Springfield and Norwalk, Ohio, and Albion, Michigan.
Abram Flinn farmed with John in Norwalk and Albion, and may have owned land in Missouri in the 1850s. Edward Flinn departed
New York for St. Louis before dying of fever while on a trip to New Orleans in 1850. DeWitt Clinton Flinn (b.1825) emigrated
to California before a series of failed investments led to his returning home, destitute and ill, to live with his brothers
in 1873. The Flinns also had two other brothers, Edwin and James, and a sister, Louisa “Lizzie” Clark, whose son John moved
later moved in with his grandfather Peter.
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual
materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the
Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as
owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain
permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the
Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights.
Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the
Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to the following