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Looking Back: Flaigs came to Danville in 1800s

November 16, 2003|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

Edward Flaig planned to live in Danville where his ancestors have roots, but after World War II ended, he settled in Arkansas.

He descends from the Flaig family who came to Danville in the early 1800s from Baden-Baden in southwest Germany. The fourth-generation Flaig has lived in Arkadelphia, Ark., for 61 years.

He was a great-grandson of the first Edward Flaig, a silversmith and jeweler in Danville, and his wife, Julia Young (1847-1936). She was a daughter of Judge Thomas Young (1816-1892) and Mary E. Moran Young (1823-1893). The Flaigs were the parents of five sons, Raymond (grandfather of Edward G. Flaig of Arkadelphia), Thomas, Julian, Frank and Edward Jr.

Raymond Flaig (1871-1944) and Clara Pennington Flaig had one son, Edward G. Flaig, who married Lucille Crow (1895-1984), daughter of Robert P. and Louise Crow of Danville. Edward G. Flaig of Arkadelphia, is their only child.

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The elder Edward G. Flaig graduated from Emory College in Atlanta then became the youngest major in the Army during World War I. After the war, he married Lucille Crow, who lived on a large farm outside Danville. She went to a girls school in Danville and University of Kentucky. Edward G. Flaig was a sales manager for appliances companies in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Mich., and St. Petersburg, Fla.

Edward G. Flaig, now 83 years old, enlisted in the Air Force after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As a youngster, he spent summers with his grandparents and great-grandparents in Danville. He always thought he would return.

"I had planned to live in Danville, but after World War II came along and after getting a commission, I ended up at Ouachita University where we trained 1,300 young men to fly," Edward G. said in a letter. "With the school giving them their academic training, we had a flight coming in each month and one leaving after five months of training."

He also served 13 months in Guam and was ranked as a major when he came out of service.

Edward G. married Neno Nowlin on March 25, 1944, and moved to Arkadelphia to open a Buick dealership. They had twin daughters, Gay and Gail, on Dec. 11, 1948, and another daughter, Linda S., born Feb. 23, 1954. All have master's degrees from Ouachita University.

His wife, Neno, came from an old Arkadelphia family who operated one of the largest flour mills in Arkansas. She earned a master of administration and was dean of women at Ouachita University.

Two of the daughters went to Baden-Baden and learned that several hundred people with the last name Flaig live there, but they didn't find any relatives, according to their father.

None of the Flaig family currently live in Danville and the old Flaig house was torn down several years ago.

Thomas Flaig moved to Texas and became a jeweler; Edward Flaig Jr. (1877-1931) was a librarian at Centre College; and Julian Flaig was a dentist.

Frank's life is a mystery for Edward Flaig, but there is a Frank Flaig, who died Jan. 20, 1950, in Lexington, listed in the Boyle County cemetery book.

In addition to being a dentist, Julian F. Flaig, born June 20, 1874, in Danville, was a scientist in Pottsville, Pa. He graduated from Centre College and Philadelphia Dental College. He was a Mason, Methodist and served as minister for a time. He died in Feb. 27, 1938, in Pottsville. Julian married Mary Gillars of Pottsville, and they had four daughters, Edna, Isabelle, Julia, and Mary, and a son, J. Vincent Flaig.

A house at 416 West Walnut St., was known as the Flaig House, according to Calvin Fackler's Early Days in Danville. The long, frame house even had a bit of brick in it, Fackler wrote. The house was built in the 1820s by Edward Shipp, then sold to Mahlon Bowers in 1829, and in 1837, Dr. Jefferson Polk, was living there. Later, the house was bought by Thomas P. Young, Edward Flaig's father-in-law. The house was torn down in the fall of 1940.

Edward Flaig's jewelry and silversmith shop is believed to have been located on Main Street just east of Trinity Episcopal Church.

Edward G. Flaig has fond memories of Danville. Another memory that never leaves his mind is when the Great Depression hit.

"We were moving into a large house with a swimming pool in St. Petersburg, Fla., when the Depression hit," he said. "We lost the house and the next thing I knew my folks put me on a train with a big box of fried chicken and chocolate cake with a big tag sending me to Danville."

He spent two years with the Flaig and Crow families.

Flaig spent many hours with his grandfather, Raymond Flaig, on Herrington Lake and Dix River. He remembers that Thurman Funeral Home was on the corner of Fourth Street and he rode a pony with the Thurmans' daughter.

"My memories of Danville are wonderful," he said.. "I would eat at the Flaigs at 11 o'clock and then again at the Crows at 12 o'clock."

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