Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Flanagan, John

by John D. Neville, 1986

6 Feb. 1829–10 July 1902

John Flanagan, manufacturer, was born in Pitt County, the son of Thomas Flanagan (d. 1831) and Sophia Turnage (d. 1829). After completing his apprenticeship at the Nelson Carriage Factory in Greenville, Flanagan worked in Washington where on 5 Dec. 1855 he married Mary Wise Gaskill (24 Aug. 1841–24 Apr. 1926), daughter of John Stanley Gaskill (1817–48) and Mary Ann Liverman (1818–81). In 1856 he moved to Hamilton where he set up his own business. Six years later he enlisted in the Seventeenth North Carolina Regiment in which he served until the end of the war. His business having been destroyed in General J. G. Foster's raid, Flanagan in 1868 moved to Greenville where he established the John Flanagan Buggy Company. By 1896 the company produced an average of one vehicle per day; it also manufactured and sold coffins.

Active in local affairs, Flanagan served terms as Greenville town commissioner and Pitt County commissioner, tax collector, and treasurer. Elected mayor of Greenville, he declined the honor because he did not have time to devote to the post. He was the father of eleven children: John Gaskill, Florence (Mrs. George Dancey), Sophia (Mrs. Edward H. Shelburn), John William, Laura, Charles, Roy Chetwynd, Edward Gaskill, Blanche (Mrs. James F. Davenport), Anna Doris (Mrs. Benjamin E. Patrick), and Lela. A Baptist, Flanagan was buried in Cherry Hill Cemetery, Greenville. A charcoal portrait of him is in the possession of the family.


Greenville Daily Reflector, 5, 29 June 1896, 11, 12 July 1902.

Additional Resources:

"John Flanagan Buggy Company Celebrates 90th Anniversary." The E.S.C. Quarterly 14, no. 3-4 (Summer-Fall 1956). 90, 120. (accessed March 4, 2014).

North Carolina: Unforgettable Vintage Images of the Tar Heel State. Chicago, Ill.: Arcadia Publishing. 2000. 61. (accessed March 4, 2014).

John Stanly Gaskill Family Bible Records. State Archives of North Carolina. (accessed March 4, 2014).

"An act for the relief of John Flanagan, Treasurer of Pitt county." Public laws and resolutions of the State of North Carolina passed by the General Assembly at its session of 1893. Raleigh [N.C.]: Josephus Daniels, State Printer and Binder. 1893. 438. (accessed March 4, 2014).

Illustrated City of Greenville, Pitt County, North Carolina. Richmond, VA: Central Publishing Co., Inc. 1914. 12.
North Carolina Collection, Joyner Library, East Carolina University. (accessed March 4, 2014).

"The John Flanagan Buggy Company a Greenville landmark being torn down." Raleigh News and Observer, June 4, 1967. I 14:3.

Origin - location: