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The FLINT Brothers in England, Canada, Indiana and California

The Flint Papers

I am fortunate in having copies of letters to or from, and other documents pertaining to, some of my Flint relatives and their families. Among my Canadian mother’s treasures as I was growing up were some old letters from her mother, Mary (Flint) Baker, and her mother’s Flint relations. Among these papers were three letters from Mary’s father, Pirney Flint, written about the time he had gone to California in the Gold Rush. Sad to say, these letters were never found among my mother’s effects after she passed away in 1985. Luckily, however, I had photocopied them in 1969.

About 1987, I corresponded with my third cousin, Lloyd Blinn of London, Ontario, another Flint descendant. In this exchange he sent me a copy of another letter and a photo of the painting of the Flint brothers’ parents.

In 1994 my son and I, along with more than 900 others, attended the "Markham/Berczy Settlers Association" celebration just outside Toronto, marking the bicentennial of the settlement there of more than 100 Germans. The Flint Brothers’ wives were among their descendants. Each settler surname was assigned to a genealogist. I visited the table of the Elson genealogist, Marion Lewis of Stouffville, ON. A gentleman there was pointing to a picture of Pirney Flint and saying, "That’s my great-grandfather". So I said, "That’s my great-grandfather, too". That's how I met my second cousin, Doug Older of St Thomas, ON. Doug turned out to have a number of Flint letters and other documents, 1824–1880, and he kindly provided me copies. His large contribution comprises the majority of my Flint papers and it inspired me to begin transcribing all of them, a project that was carried out during 1995 to 1997.

Still another Flint letter was made available by Lloyd Blinn to a San Luis Obispo County, CA, historian, and a transcription is on pages 255–256 of The Lands of Mission San Miguel, by Wallace V. Ohles (1997).

Included among these documents are:

> The 1824 will of Robert O Flint, of Hempnall, England.
> An 1843 letter to Robert O’s son in Canada, Robert G Flint Sr (c1784–1859), concerning property still owned in England.
> Two letters (written in 1851 and 1854) from Robert G Sr and his wife, Hannah (Pirney) Flint (1788–1865), to their son Pirney Flint (c1824–1891).
> Four letters (1844–1854) from Pirney, in Indiana and later in California, to his parents.
> One letter (1849) from Pirney’s brother, Robert G Flint Jr (1816–1885), (in Indiana) to their parents.
> A letter (1863) from Robert G Jr (in California) to his mother after his father’s death.
> Nine letters (1855–1880) from Robert G Jr (in California) to Pirney, at first in California, later in Canada.
> A letter (1856) from a William S Jones (California) to Pirney (Canada).
> Two letters (1934 and 1941) from Robert Jr’s daughter Eliza (“Lyle”) Flint (California) to my mother and her sister.
> One letter (1941) from Pirney’s daughter Frances (“Fanny”) (Flint) Granacher (California) to my mother.
> One letter (1892) from Pirney’s daughter Mary Flint (Canada) to an unidentified friend named “Louise”.
> Four letters (1908) from Pirney’s daughter Mary (Flint) Baker (California) to her daughters (my mother and her sister) and Mary’s husband Arthur Baker (all in Canada).

This account is primarily about my great-grandfather, Pirney Flint, and his brother, Robert George Flint Jr. The letters referred to above are not presented in full in this document; rather, I have mined them deeply to exemplify the tale of the two brothers.

Robert O Flint

Robert G Flint Sr

Emigration to North America

Settlement in Canada


Trip to California




Cattle Business

Rancho San Juan

San Juan Capistrano y el Camate

Rancho Nacimiento

Ferdinand Frankenheim

Pirney’s Farm in Canada

Marriages and Children

Elizabeth Elson

Death of Robert G Flint Jr

The Careers of Robert’s Sons

Robert G Flint III

The Fate of the Flint Properties

Flint Misunderstandings

Flint Genealogy

Elson Genealogy


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