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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Richard Joseph Flanagan - Part 2

I have written about a historical home in the Carneros Region of Napa, California, a few times.  It was and is still known as the Flanagan House.  You can read all about in this very blog.  To hear Dick talk about it when I was a child, teen, and young adult offered a different perspective as his Flanagan family home.

Dick grew up in Napa, California.  His family lived in town on Stockton Street (which is now Palmer Street).  The house is still there but I can never seem to pinpoint it exactly when I drive by.  Dick's grandparents, Pat and Kate Flanagan, owned the house on the corner of Seminary and Stockton Streets.  Jack Flanagan, Dick's father, grew up in the Seminary Street home before the family's home in Carneros was completed.  It is not clear when the Seminary Street home was sold by the Flanagan's.

In about 1918, Dick's uncle, Ignatius (Nash with a long "a"), passed away.  He had been running the Flanagan Ranch for his mother, Kate.  When Nash died, it was Jack's (Dick's father) turn to run the ranch.  It does not sound like Jack and his family moved out to the ranch immediately.  Since Kate lived there, and that was her home, it was not until some time in the 1920s that Dick, his parents and siblings moved to the Carneros home.  Kate died in 1928.  By then, Dick was living at the Flanagan house in Carneros.

As one can envision, the Flanagan Ranch fields were dominated by vineyard.  Dick recalled his younger years at times when he would help maintain the vines.  This included fending off birds and other small creatures from attacking the grapes and future harvest.  Armed with a firearm which could have been a BB gun or something more powerful, Dick would have the opportunity to keep these animals at bay.

Richard Joseph Flanagan being held by his mother Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin Flanagan in the vineyard at the Flanagan Ranch, Carneros, Napa, CA - Circa 1913

Other memories of the ranch itself seem to evade me, except one.  Dick's father, John "Jack" Francis Flanagan, was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).  I am not sure when it was determined that Jack had this terminal illness or how long it took for it to progress.  What is interesting is that Dick was on the road playing minor league baseball when he received word that he needed to come home to say goodbye to his father.

Upon receiving this news, Dick immediately headed home to the Flanagan house in Carneros.  He did, in fact, make it home to say his goodbyes to his father.  Word in the family has it that Jack held on so that Dick could see him one last time before he passed away.   Jack died on May 20, 1936, in the Flanagan house on the Flanagan Ranch in Carneros.  As part owner, Jack had held responsibility of and managed the Flanagan Ranch for eighteen years (1918-1936).    My mother recalls being told that Jack passed away in a first floor bedroom of the house.  The current first floor of the house does not really resemble its original appearance at this point in time.  Upon the death of Jack, his ownership in the ranch passed onto his surviving siblings.  Mary (Aunt Mary), Richard (Uncle Dick), and Louis (Uncle Louie) were the living children of Patrick and Kate Flanagan by 1936.

How close was Dick to his father, Jack?  They were close.

To be continued.......................

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