Friday, April 21, 2023

Lynch Mob


TOF's grandfather's grandmother, Ann Elizabeth Lynch, was born in Burlington VT, in Jun 1847. according to said grandfather, "two days after her parents arrived in America." She was , which tThe travel-savvy Reader will understand that Burlington was no two days travel from any seaport in 1847. Yet, the Liber Baptismorum of Rev Jeremiah O Callaghan confirms the date and place. It is likely that her parents came up the St Lawrence River to Grosse Isle quarantine station by Montreal, thence downLake Champlain to Burlington. 

There were no immigration laws back then. Had there been, the Know Nothings would no doubt have put the Famine Irirsh in cages at the border, The Know Nothings held that, unlike the old immigrants, these new immigrants, being Catholic, could never fit into Anglo-Saxon, Protestant America. TOF's ancestress is thus [in modern lingo] the anchor baby of wetbacks.

The Irish Famine was st its height, and Daniel and Bridget, Ann's parents, no doubt thought it was a good time to get out of Dodge. The Dungarvan food riots were answered by dragoons firing into the crowd. Dungarvan was just down the Waterford coast from Stradbally, where the Lynches lived. The ships on which the 1847 Irish migrated to the border often arrived with typhus fever rampany and enough dead on the voyage that they were called "coffin ships."

The ice on the St Lawrence broke up late that year,and May 1847 “started with ice an inch thick - and the first vessel to arrive, the Syria, arrived at Grosse Isle Quarantine on 17 May. She arrived with 84 cases of typhus fever on board and nine deaths on the voyage. Less than a week later the catastrophe had taken place and was beyond control…. Four days after the Syria, on May 21, eight ships arrived with a total of 430 fever cases.” (Cecil Woodham-Smith, The Great Hunger. 1963)

As many as 10,000 people died of the typhus, including heroic Canadian doctors who stayed to treat them. For Ann to be born in Burlington in early June, 1847, her parents would have had to arrive at Grosse Isle between late May and early June, and been in the thick of things.

Daniel Lynch and Bridget Barry - came from Co Waterford. Family lore named the place Bannalynch. But there is no such locale. There is a Ballylinch in Stradbally Parish. [Stradbally, An Sraid Bhaulle, means "the (one) street town"]. The Tithe Applotment Book (in which occupants of rural properties were assessed to support the Church of Ireland, even if they were Catholic or Presbyterian) does not name any Lynches in Ballylinch, but does list a Daniel Lynch in neighboring Ballinvalloona. (Don't ya luv Irish place names?) But since Ann's father was only a teenager the year of the assessment, this is not him. 

Daniel's age in US Census records put his birth in Jan 1819 and, lo! such a birth appears in the records of Stradbally Parish. Daniel Lynch, born in Jan 1847 to John Lynch and Joann Whitty. But under the Rule of Two {"Where there is one, there is likely another."] we find in Jul 1819 another Daniel Lynch baptized in Stradbally. The parents of the second Daniel are Patrick and Catherine. So which is it to be?

The Irish custom of the time was to name the first-born boy and girl after the father's parents, the second-born after the mother's, and the third-born after the parents themselves. Daniel and Bridget named their first daughter Ann and their first son John, and none of them Patrick (They did christen last daughter  Catherine.) So John and (Jo)ann seem the likely parents. However, the naming custom was only a custom, not a law of nature, so this is an educated guess.

 TOF found a marriage record for John Lynch and Ann Whitty in Feb 1817 in Stheirtradbally Parish. Since Daniel was born in Jan 1819, he was likely their first-born and hence, John's father was likely Daniel, possibly the one listed in the Tithe Applotment Book. Scouring the parish baptisms for Stradbally, we find the following children born to John and Ann: Daniel (1819), Bridget (1822), Mary (1824), and James (1834). The ten-year gap between Mary and James is suspiciously un-Irish, but as it stands, John's parents may have been named Daniel and Bridget. After that, the names of John's children's match those of Daniel jr. But the handwriting in the parish book is horrible and despite finding 28 Lynch baptisms between 1815 and 1835, TOF may have overlooked some!

Ann Lynch Flynn (2nd from right) visiting her son Daniel (r).Others: d/law Tillie, grd/law Blanche (in back) and grandson "Uncle Dan" (kid) with hair!


Thursday, April 6, 2023


 "Don't bug him about the blog," writes a commentor with the mysterious and ominous name of Unknown, "he's busy WRITING stuff for you."

For those who may be wondering what TOF is writing, the following is a some-ary; that is, some of what is in progress. Several of them have appeared intermittently as Opening Passages here in this vast wasteland known as the TOF Spot. 

  • The Shipwrecks of Time. Set in Milwaukee WI during the early 1960s. This concerns the search for a mysterious medieval text known as the Peruzzi Manuscript. The danger does not so much lie in finding it as in being known to be researching it. Somebody may not want it found.
    This novel is complete and has already been rejected by one publisher. 
  • In the Belly of the Whale. Set in a multigenerational starship two centuries into a thousand-year transit to Tau Ceti. The challenge was to find an approach to the subject that has not been over-done. They forgot they were on a ship? Aldiss did that wonderfully in Starship, FTL makes their trip meaningless? Done and done again.
    This novel is also done and is now in the hands of the publisher who requested it. 
  • "Adventures in Mythistory." Fact article. How history is recast as myth, with special attention to the Hypatia Myth and to fiction-writing. This article is complete, but languishes in uncertainty as to what to do with it.
  • "The New World." Short Story. A small flotilla of junks, sent by Srivijaya to find the southwest passage around Africa to the fabled land of Tai Ch'in. This is complete, but as it is a section in a longer, collaborrative work that may or may not see daylight, needs a little tweeking to enhance a standalonr, Currently steeping.
  • "The Journeyman: On the Mangly Steppe." Teodorq sunna Nagarajan accompanies a scouting party setting out to the 'serving tray' to assess its suitability as an observation post to keep an eye on the mangos of the steppe. The party is led by an imperial from the Nooby Empire and includes a troop of imperial rangers, as well as a handful of settlers from the frontier settlement of Stubborn Man plus one local [i.e., pre-settlement] who is unafraid of the ghosts said to haunt the serving tray. Nooby has more advanced technology than Cuffy or Yavalprawns: cap pistols, chuffers anf the singing wire. In Progress.
  •  "Red Clay Man" A short story in which a H. erectus discovers how to think. In Progress.
  • "The Laws of Science and the Ignorant Chicken." A fact article on the Dappled World of Science. In Progress.
  •  "Hunter's Moon." Mickey, the POV from "In Panic Town on the Backwards Moon," finds a mysterious death at the Hadley Ran above Falcon's Landing on the Moon. Idle.
  • "Mayerling." Kronprinz Rudolf contemplates suicide at his hunting lodge near Mayerling. Idle.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

The Journeyman: On the Mangly Steppes


The Journeyman: On the Mangly Steppes

by Michael F. Flynn


For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.

-- Robert Louis Stevenson


a tall one, warm

Teodorq sunna Nagarajan the Ironhand sat on the patio of the Turf and Peak and enjoyed a schooner of beer. Or he would have enjoyed it had it been chilled rather than warm.

“If yer honor wisht it cold,” the serving wench told him when he complained, “come ye back in winter, though I doubt ye would like it then. The winds offen the steppes fetch tolerable deep snow outen the east.”

Teo grunted at this wisdom and fell to considering the eastward vista. To the northeast, the Mangly Steppe rolled away, enough like the Great Grass of his home to stir a twinge of memory, though the grass here was short and yellow.

To the southeast, mountains heaped upon mountains like stallions upon mares, reaching their apotheosis in the snowcapped peaks lining the horizon. He wondered if the sight triggered nostalgia in the heart of his boon companion, Sammi o’ th’ Eagles, a hillman from the mountains west of the Great Grass.

He rather hoped the surer route to Varucciyaman would be across the steppes but suspected for that very reason that Fate would send him into the mountains.

While he pondered these things, he had been watching also the approach of a rider loping from the steppe. No one else in the saloon or its patio seemed to pay mind, although some had laid casual hands on their sidearms.

When in Cuffy, the saying ran, do as the Cuffs. He had left Cuffland in his horse’s dust, but if this was the way the locals greeted visitors, he would go along with the gag. He hooked his foot around his duff, pulled it close, and unfastened its thongs.

The rider proved to be a man with a sun-burnt face and a hunched-back. He galloped up to the hitch-rail before the patio and leapt from his saddle in a billowing of his dirty-white robes Teo noted a battered old musket in a saddle scabbard, a short, curved sword in another, and a recurved bow tucked behind the cantle. When he strode into the saloon, the rider left this arsenal behind, and Teo supposed from this that he bore concealed arms. That the stranger was unarmed was too risible a notion to entertain.

The hunchback brushed close by Teo and, not to be outdone by his eyes, Teo’s nose detected the strong whiff of sweaty horse and sweaty rider and the suggestion that the rider had not bathed in a very, very long time.

Curiosity – and prudence– twisted him in his seat to watch.

The rider breasted up to the bar and croaked in the local djabbah, “Wishkaybah. Long and hard be the ride that lieth behind my horse’s hooves.” At least, Teo thought he said that. He was still learning djabbah.

The barkeeper, a tall, gangly man with prominent eyes, stretched his frame to maximum height and said from that lofty altitude, “We don’t be sarvin Mangos here.”

Teo made no sense of this, inasmuch as the stranger had not ordered a mango. He wondered if the stranger and the barkeeper were having two different conversations. Others in the saloon were taking notice, and another patron at the bar said, “Get this smelly huncher outta here,” which, save for the effect of bad odors in confined spaces, struck Teo as inhospitable.

But the stranger said nothing. He studied the faces in the room and, harvesting visages ranging from the merely curious to the openly hostile, shrugged and departed with an arrogant stride. Teo opened his duff. He could not have said why, but as they said on the Great Grass, the fool builds a shelter once the storm has passed.

When the stranger reached the patio, he whipped a knife from under his robe and completed the motion with a swipe across the throat of one of the drinkers seated at the tables there. The man fell gripping his throat, blood spurting between his fingers, and the stranger leapt upon his horse with a yelp of triumph. Guiding the steed with his knees, he pulled his bow from behind the saddle. He knocked an arrow in one smooth action, twisted in the saddle as he galloped off, and loosed it into the heart of another drinker.

Teo thought this an intemperate response to the previous snub and retrieved his own bow from his duff. Unstrung as it was, the bow curled in a tight circle, and Teo’s shoulders and biceps bulged as he pulled the limbs back to fit the bowstring to the nocks.

A tall man with short, sandy hair had come to stand beside him. “That thar Mango’s a-galloping off,” he said, returning his sidearm to its scabbard.

Teo looked up, saw the receding figure and the plume of dust in his wake. He nodded. “Yah.” He pulled an arrow from the quiver in his duff.

“He’s outta range,” the sandy man suggested helpfully.

Teo looked up again, nocked the arrow to the string. “Nope.” He loosed his shaft.

It struck the distant horse in the rump, and the steed bucked and reared until the rider flew off and struck the ground head-first. The horse continued to buck, trying to rid itself of the pain in its hindquarters.

“Damn,” said Teo. “I missed.” 

(c) 2023. Michael F Flynn

The New World - Opening passage


 The New World

by Michaelmf Flynn

  Đặng Văn Denizci, puhāvam of Golden Wind for Sriwijaya’s Palembang, stood in the bow of the junk and studied the eastern horizon through his farseer, praying to the Buddha that he would raise land before the crew grew more mutinous than it already had. After a long voyage across seas both strange and hazardous, a bit of solid land would not go unappreciated. Fleshpots would be nice, too.

He had the fleet’s latitude and, if old Kartawidjaja’s cartographers had known their craft, it ought to be close to that of the fabled Tai Ch’in; but he had lost his longitude and had no idea how distant the exotic “Far West” might yet lie along this latitude. It was all very well for Farūq to say “Hug the African coast north to the Pillars,” but not when coast, wind, and current all conspired to bend his course west to the balmy isles of the Orang-Awok.

Four weeks westing before he had found favorable winds and currents. But he had been five weeks now on his easting and it seemed as if he had somehow misplaced an entire continent.

Văn Denizci kept his glass level by long practice, absorbing the rolls with his knees and hips. This Western Ocean was choppier than the seas that lapped the Home Islands; but he was more than grateful to be out of the terrible swells and ferocious winds of the Southern Ocean and would accept this rough chop with gratitude.

A following wind tousled his long, black hair, blowing it forward into his face. He brushed it back impatiently and adjusted his headband. Then he straightened and blew his breath out, lifting his drooping moustaches, and handed the farseer to first officer Budhiharto, who stood beside him.  \

“What do you make of that cloud on the horizon. Four points sisi kiri.” He pointed off to the left. The Melayu tongue was not tonal like Yüeh or Min-dong, but Deni hailed from the kingdom of Mìng-uŏk in Fukien and, like most Turco-Yüeh, he spoke Melayu with a habitual sing-song. The old Empire had gone out like the tide now these many centuries since, but such legacies had been left behind in the South like the flotsam of a great wreck.

Budhi was the opposite of Denizci in every way: short and round where the captain was tall and lean, blank where the captain was thoroughly inked, and possessing a guileless face where the captain owned the look of a hungry sea-eagle. He stared at the indicated spot for several minutes before lowering the glass. “Black smoke…,” he said. “Storm cloud? Volcano, maybe.”

“Maybe. Volcano means land, though.”

Budhi shook his head. “But smoking volcano means bad land. I remember when Tandikat blew his top… I’d say wide berth, bapak.”

Deni retrieved the farseer and studied the cloud once more. A smudge, barely discernible, hugging the nearly invisible horizon. “Might be only a rain cloud,” he temporized. Was it a large cloud far off or a small one closer in? Distance was hard to judge with nothing but the trackless ocean for scale. He sniffed the air but could taste no land in it. 

(c)2023 Michael F Flynn

In The Belly of the Whale: Publisher's Weekly Review & Pre-Order Links

 Hello Fans of Michael Flynn. I am pleased to let you know that Dad's novel In the Belly of the Whale will be released by CAEZIK on July...