L. Flonzo Flynn
of Navarro County, Texas


Biography Index


L Flonzo Flynn
Aug 30, 1888 - Jul 30, 1975

I was born on August 30, 1888 in the 2700 block of West 2nd Avenue of Corsicana, Texas. My father (James William Flynn) was a carpenter by trade and consequently our family moved frequently from place to place in and around Navarro County, Texas. We moved to McGregor, Texas when I was a small child. Work played out there pretty soon and we came to Waco, leaving there when I was five years of age, to Blooming Grove, Texas where we lived 2-3 years, and then back to Blooming Grove in the fall of 1898. In February 1899, we had perhaps the coldest spell ever occurring in this County. The temperature got below zero and a man froze to death in the livery stable not many blocks from our house.
We moved from Blooming Grove back to Zion’s Rest, Texas in the fall of 1900 where we lived until the fall of 1901. My father tried farming about this time. It was a droughty year. He was sick in the spring and unable to plow so I had to do that. It was my first trial at plowing and a most difficult task with a fiery bay mare and a slow, stubborn mule hitched to a turning plow. Due to dry weather, the crop was a failure and we moved to a place of my half-brothers (Dozier brothers) on the Cow Head Road between Corbet and what was then called Drane, Texas (in Navarro County). My father and I cut cord wood in the winter and worked for farmers in the fields the rest of the year. My father would get a house to build occasionally and I went to school a few days out of each school month.
When I was 16 years old (1903), we were forced to move again. It looked as if we had no place to move to as my father was a very poor provider since he and work didn’t get along together and found it not easy for someone to hire him. About that time, though, a neighbor who had bought a seven-acre strip of land and had started and almost completed a small house on it, decided to sell and move away. He offered to sell it to me for a very low price with $25 down and $75 due in January which was about three months away. I had saved $20 and managed to get $5 more and bought the place for $25 down payment and note for the balance. We moved into the house and fortunately I was able to meet the note installments of $100 each after the first $75 note.
I well remember that winter of 1903-04. I had no coat, but paid 50 cents for a very pretty cotton sweater which I wore to the parties. I rented 30 acres of land in 1906 (age 18) and planted it in cotton. The landlord furnished the land, team, tools and feed. I received only half of the crop. I made a good crop, but just when I started picking the cotton I took sick and was compelled to hire help to pick all of the 10 bales of cotton picked. I barely made enough to pay the land note on our home. The next spring, I rented a small creek-bottom farm and worked it with the old horse I bought cheap. I made a good crop that year though I had very few acres in. The following year, 1908, I bought a team of black horses. Although I was only 20 years old, a friend took me to the bank to borrow the $300 to buy the team. The banker said he could not loan me the money because I was not 21 years of age, but my friend being a stockholder in the bank, said I could have a mortgage on the team and he would sign the note with me. Where upon the banker made the loan to me. I made a good crop that year and the year following, but like many country boys of that day, the city had its attractions. I was out of debt now with a home for my parents and a few dollars to spare. I gave my father my team, cow, hogs, etc. and left for the city (Corsicana) to get a job. I got a job at the bakery in Corsicana, but I was only there a few months when the bakery and three or four other businesses burned. I was now out of a job.
When I left the farm I said to myself, “If I had no money, I would manage somehow.” So I had previously deposited $500 in a savings account at the bank. I had something like $30 or $40 now and after walking and looking for work for a few days, I landed in Dallas where I got work at a furniture store. I didn’t like the workers I had to associate with there and decided to go back home, take my money out of the bank and go off to school. I landed in San Marcos in September 1911 (age 23). There I entered what was then Southwest Texas Normal School. Having gone no further than the seventh school in a one-teacher school, and it was 5 years since I had any schooling, I was quite rusty, but during the time I was out of school, I had read all the books I was able to get anyone to loan me. This helped me a lot. I had never heard of algebra, but my college work in algebra started in my second year. I was in deep water. Sure enough besides algebra, I had English, drawing, biology, history, geography, music, woodwork and spelling.
I had never been healthy. From as far back as I can remember, I had sick headaches and suffered from indigestion both day and night. It was an ordeal to sit in the classroom with high school graduates who were familiar with what the teacher was saying, but to me it was Greek. I absorbed enough to pass in most subjects, but not enough and was forced to attend summer school. At the end of summer school, I received my second grade certificate to teach school. I secured a teaching job in St. Elmo just across the Navarro County line in Freestone County near Winkler. I taught one term there, worked some that summer and then entered school again that fall and attended summer school and received a First Grade Certificate at the end of summer school. I secured a teaching job at Whitset, Texas. I was there two years , but attended school each summer. (During this time, Fonzo Flynn married Edna Eleanora Coers on October 31, 1915). My next job was in Houston where I taught in 1917-18 (age 30). I then came to Corsicana where I taught in High School for six years (1918-24). (Fonzo’s and Edna’s children were born between 1918 and 1928). I resigned at the close of the 1923-24 (age 36) school year to spend all my time writing life insurance. I had done a little part-time insurance selling the year before.
Times were good for a couple of years. The Corsicana oil boom was on and I made much more selling insurance than I did teaching, but then my health failed and it was difficult for me to produce any volume of insurance business. By the time my health had improved, the Depression was on and in 1932 I ran for Tax Collector (Navarro County Tax Collector), but I lost. Defeated, broke, in debt and sick again with stomach ulcers, we rented our house in Corsicana and moved to San Marcos where we rented a house in town and undertook to farm part of Mrs. Coers’ place (Eugenia Coers, Fonzo’s mother-in-law). Due to others wanting to do the same thing, I got only a small patch of land which I worked with a little mule I bought. We made some corn and some garden stuff. I suppose though I over worked myself and had ulcers again – intestinal hemorrhaging. On advice from the doctor I spent several weeks in bed and was unable to work for sometime afterward. With four boys to feed and clothe, something had to be done. So my wife did washing for a few friends and neighbors to keep things going. The older boys, Gene and Jack, delivered circulars for a grocery store and made a little money. My health improved enough for me to go to work again.
We moved back to Corsicana in August 1933. The tenant in our house had moved out after getting ten months behind in his rent, and in the meantime, the loan company had foreclosed on me and took the place, but agreed to rent it to me for a nominal rent, but of course it was up for sale while we were renting because the loan company was liquidating. I had originally purchased the house for $5,000 and had paid it all but $1,800. When they foreclosed I had a dear friend who was head of the loan company. He disposed of all of the other property the loan company had leaving mine to the very last, and although he would keep coming down on the price of my place, I still was unable to buy it back even at a low price. Finally he was forced to sell it to someone and he offered it to me for $700. Of course it had to be cash and after being turned down by some rich men whom I had seen, Mr. C.B. Haley told me he would see a man who was a friend of his and also one of mine. In a couple of days he told me the man was Robert Stell and that he had talked to him and Stell said for me to come see him. I did and after Stell inspected the property he loaned me $800 on the condition that I would paper and paint the house. I had it papered and painted for $100. Stell paid the loan company $700 and the place was mine again except that I had a note to pay each year for five years.
I sold my car and worked very hard selling life insurance, and was able to meet my note payments each year until all were paid. I was also able to pay five creditors a total of $300 for debts I had made during my race for Tax Collector. Each time I sold a policy, I would use some of the money to pay a little to each creditor I owed. In less than a year I had paid all I owed and in the meantime I bought a used car. Before the end of five years I had the old home paid for. The Depression was still on though and I found it hard to make a living by only selling insurance. So when I was offered a teaching job at the State Home, I accepted and taught there for one year, but my stomach was giving me much pain and I was more or less too nervous to deal with the boys, so I resigned and put all my time into selling insurance. I later opened a furniture store which I operated for three years, but sold it and returned to the State Home where I taught another year after which I opened and operated a general insurance agency until my health got bad again and in 1954 (age 66) sold out to Clark Butler, took my Social Security and after doing nothing for a couple of years, bought a farm and some cows and worked with that until I got my health back. The farm was too far away though to be very profitable, so when we were offered a good price for it, we sold and partially retired (~1960).
I don’t feel that I have accomplished much in life. If I have had any success at all it has been in bringing up the four boys and I give my wife all the credit for that. We both have been blessed in that none of them ever gave us or anybody else any trouble and thankfully the marriages of all four boys have all been a success – four of the loveliest and sweetest daughters-in-law that anyone ever had.
I feel so thankful for the many blessings I have received. God has been very kind to me. When I was young and during the time our children were with us, we attended church and Sunday School regularly. After they had married and moved away, we quit attending church and I spent much time with lodge work, but later on I grew tired of that too and cared little about going anywhere. I still believe in church and, of course, the lodges have their place too. The bible is the greatest book ever written, but I doubt if its writers were more divinely inspired than many writers before or after the book was written. I was taught when I was young there is a hell for the wicked to be sent after death, but I am unable to believe it. Neither do I believe there is a heaven like I was taught when I was a child. I believe God is everywhere and the heaven and hell are both on this earth. If we wish, we can see the beauty and feel the love of people. All nature shows the handiwork of God. I sometimes feel like all of man’s troubles are brought about by disregarding nature. Perhaps there would never have been what we call sin had man not violated nature. While man has succeeding in bringing about improvements, such as relieving himself of much labor by the invention and discovery through science – engineering, chemistry, etc., some have progressed very slowly from the savage stage. With all of our so called enlightenment through training, experience and education, together with all the sermons preached and churches built, some still try to correct their differences through killing. Individually the enlightened have succeeded in nearly all cases by correcting their differences without killing. But as a nation, the heads of governments go to war to kill and destroy and when one nation has overpowered the other, a truce is made and both the victorious and the conquered sit down at the peace table and sign agreements. Agreements that could have been signed before the war started just as well and lives and property spared.
Intelligent individuals settle their differences either by agreements or in court. It is a reflection on the intelligence of the heads of governments of any country that goes to war. Even the dogs have been bred to the point where when strange dogs meet each other, they smile and play but not fight. This was not the case many years ago. At that time when a boy and his dog met another boy and his dog, there was usually a dog fight. Not so now.
We are reminded in the Bible to not kill. How far have we advanced? Most all, if not everyone, who heads a government belongs to a church or society that teaches to not kill. Where is the power of our teachers and preachers? Have they not stood in the pulpit and preached “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and then be the first to help in carrying out war between their country and another – killing each other’s sons. I wonder if this would happen if it were left to the mothers to decide? I wonder if it would happen if even the heads of governments had to do the fighting? Did we have to fight the Indians? Could we not have traded them commodities for the land we wanted? Could we not have furnished schools and teachers to teach them? Does a country benefit by depressing certain ones? Would it not be better to enlighten all? Have we saved money by not educating only to spend billions for jails to put the criminals in who came from the under-educated and unenlightened class, or from the poor? Perhaps because of greedy persons who gained wealth by making the poor poorer?
I don’t believe it is right to deprive anyone of his rights because of color, creed or religion. Someone has said,
“People and pens are useless when they lose their heads.”
“ One should be ever careful lest he mar someone’s character by some remark made.”
“Every lawful activity is conducive to good or it can be perverted to evil.”
“Prosperi ty is not always a mark of divine favor. It could be the result of shrewd promotion by others.”
“We live in a world that has narrowed into a neighborhood before it has broadened into a brotherhood.” Lyndon B. Johnson
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living; the world was here first.” Mark Twain

dorrejw added this on 15 Apr 2012


L. F. Flynn
Services will be 11 a.m. Friday in the Griffin Chapel for L. F. Flynn, 86, who died Wednesday in Memorial Hospital. The Revs. Jack Riley and Wesley Howard Jr. will officiate. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery.

He was a retired school teacher and insurance salesman. He was a lifelong resident of Corsicana.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Edna Flynn of Corsicana; four sons, Eugene L. Flynn of Fort Worth, Jack E. Flynn of Corsicana, Paul T. Flynn of Fort Worth, and Bill Flynn of Dallas; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Pall bearers will be Marvin Speer, Elbert Prince, Seth Montgomery, Leland Kattner, Bug Paschall, and Joe Nelson.


  • The Corsicana Daily Sun - Thursday, July 31, 1975
  • Submitted by Diane Richards
  • h/o Edna Eleonora (Coers) Flynn married Oct. 31, 1915;  s/o James William Flynn & Jemima Elizabeth (Palmer) Dozier-Flynn

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