COL. THOMAS H. FLYNN, formerly Mayor of the city of Winchester, is a native of Carlyle, Nicholson Co., Ky., and was born Aug. 9, 1821. His parents, Ezekiel and Frances (Hardesty) Flynn, natives, respectively, of the State of Virginia and Kentucky, reared two sons and one daughter, Thomas H. Being the second in order of birth, and the only one now living. The senior Mr. Flynn, a blacksmith by occupation, came to Winchester in 1830, and here with his family spent the rest of his life. He was a soldier in the Mexican War, and died about two years after its close. As a corporal in Company H, 1st Ills. Regiment, he took an active part in the battle of Buena Vista. Our subject was a member of the same company as his father, having gone out therewith as Orderly Sergeant. Just before the battle of Buena Vista he was promoted to Third Lieutenant, and during the heat of the conflict he was, by reason of the death of his superior officer, raised to the rank of Second Lieutenant. With this rank, earned in battle, Thomas H. Flynn returned to the United States, and to avocations of peace.
Under his father, prior to the Mexican War, he learned the trade of a blacksmith and wagonmaker, and at the common schools acquired a fair English education. Soon after returning from Mexico he was appointed Deputy Sheriff; in 1848 he was promoted by election to the office of Sheriff, and re-elected in 1852. From the close of his official term up to the outbreak of the late war he was in the mercantile business in Winchester, and between the years 1866 and 1870 he was Judge of the County Court. He was one of the organizers, and for sometime a Director in the People's, or First National Bank of Winchester, mentioned elsewhere in this volume, but had withdrawn from it before its collapse. In 1870 he established the Winchester 'Independent', a weekly sheet of considerable local prominence, and edited it until 1883, at which time he sold it to the 'Standard' people, who retired it at once from circulation.
Ample and exact justice will scarcely ever be done Col. Thomas H. Flynn as a soldier. Upon the bloody field of Buena Vista he distinguished himself for bravery and was promptly promoted therefor in the very midst of that battle. And when the dark clouds of war hovered over our country, and finally enveloped it in gloom, Col. Flynn became satisfied that to conquer the South was no mere "breakfast spell," and so he responded to his country's call with alacrity, by enlisting in the army, which event occurred at Winchester Aug. 13, 1862. After his enlistment he was almost at once elected Captain of Company D. 129th Illinois Infantry, and on May 25, 1863, at Gallatin, Tenn., he was promoted to Major. In this connection it may be interesting to many who remember the event, to record the fact that in the election for the office of Major, Captain Flynn tied with Captain Beard of Company E. and the matter was referred to Gov. Dick Yates, who, without hesitation, made out a commission for Flynn as Major. On June 14, 1864, in the field, near Kenesaw Mountain, Major Flynn became Lieutenant Colonel.
In all the battles fought by that gallant old regiment, the 129th Illinois Infantry - and they were legion - Col. Flynn took an active part; and at Peach Tree Creek, the battle that made Benjamin Harrison President of the United States, his regiment, then under the command of the Colonel, and led by him personally, undoubtedly constituted the pivotal point and made decisive victory possible. To the men who actually fought that battle it is well known that Flynn earned distinction as a regimental commander, and added fresh laurels to his already exalted reputation for personal courage in the face of multiplied deaths. At Resaca he was a conspicuous figure and leader, and, at the head of his regiment, was the real captor of the fort. So at Averysboro, where a battery captured by him and turned over to Gen. Dustin, was reported by that officer and credited to his own command, while as a matter of truth and impartial history, not even a part of his brigade had participated in its capture. Col. Flynn was with his command at Savannah, Ga., and through to Raleigh and Richmond, and on to Washington, finally winding up in that grand blaze of glory where the victorious army was reviewed for the last time prior to its disbandment.
Of the many brave men remembered in the pages of history for their gallant and heroic deeds during the war so pregnant with peril and death, there is none more deserving nor reaching higher on the list of those who dared to do than he whose name heads this sketch. At Winchester, Aug. 9, 1869, Col. Flynn was married to Mrs. Agnes Burgess, nee Mallory, and the two children born to them at Belle (Mrs. Stephen Lemon) and Thomas H. Flynn, Jr.