Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

February 10, 2014

‘Uncle Dick’ was loyal to the Union

CROSSVILLE — Our article from Feb. 24, 1897, continues. When the war of 1862 broke out, Richard Flynn, “Uncle Dick,” expressed himself as being loyal to the Union but preferred to stay at home with his family to going to the battlefield. As the war progressed, Union sympathizers in the South were forced to seek refuge behind union lines in Kentucky. The Cumberland Mountains gave a passage that was not heavily guarded by Confederate troops, but they needed a guide to take them through the wilderness of the mountains.

“Uncle Dick” and other loyal men organized themselves into a corps of guides and established a guide line then known as the “underground railway.” One of the guides was stationed at the southern end of the mountains a few miles north of Chattanooga. He would take charge of the fugitives and conduct them to “Uncle Dick,” who would conduct them further north to another guide who would take them on to Kentucky.

The Confederate forces became aware of this and made raid after raid trying to catch him all through the war. So easily did he elude them that they nicknamed him the “Red Fox” and he was known by this name all through the war.

"He is now living within three hundred yards of the spot where he was born, and says he will be buried within forty yards of the same spot. Though in advanced age he is still hale and hardy. He has been a member of the Christian Church for twenty years and all who know him as being an industrious kind hearted Christian gentleman."

April 19, 1905, Capt. Jim W. Lowe, who was writing the “Landmarks” articles in the Chronicle, wrote a long article regarding Richard L. “Red Fox” Flynn, now aged 88. Some items in this article repeated those of the 1897 article. Items of additional interest will be excerpted from the Landmarks writings.

Aunt Zilpha Flynn is here mentioned as being two or three years older than Uncle Dick, but to see her walking from you, you would not take her to be over 20 or 25 years of age. Her carriage is erect, and her step quick and elastic. She always meets you with a smile on her motherly face and a hearty greeting to all. Both old and young are made to feel welcome to this happy home.

“Uncle Dick” was a Jeffersonian Democrat, believing that governments derived their just power by, and with, the consent of the Union. He voted “No Separation,” as well as the other 65 voters of the Third District, but the state was declared out of the Union. He held that the state had not derived such power by his consent or the will of the governed.

When he was gone to take a train load of men into Union lines and another group arrived at their home, his son, W. L. Flynn would take care of them until his father returned. More to come.

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