Thomas FLINT John FLINT Charles FLINT Margaret BRUCE Amelia FLINT Mary Hutchison FLINT Alicia FLINT William FLINT Betsy FLINT Martha FLINT Amelia HODGES treeI119.gif

Thomas FLINT

1818 - 1857

Life History

1818

Born

1848

Birth of son Charles FLINT

1848

Death of Margaret BRUCE

1857

Died

Other facts

 

Married Margaret BRUCE

EVELYN: Uncle Tom Your grandfather. Aunt Alicia's beloved brother, her favourite of them all, and, I should think, the one with the sweetest nature.

He too was a schoolmaster and very good looking. We have a silhouette of him. I don't know what exact position he held, when in this country, before he went to Australia, but I am sure he left the country much earlier than you think. His idea was to start a good boys' school out there, and he went into partnership with another man. He must have run this school for some years before his death, but it was not the success he hoped for. He was probably of too gentle and scholarly a temperament to cope with the Australia of those days. I enclose a copy of a pathetic letter [see below] written to John just six weeks before his (Tom's) death - which seems to have been from tuberculosis. This disease was frequent and easily contracted at that time. The school failed - his partner may have let him down. There were many queer "adventurer" types in Australia then.

I don't know anything about his marriage. Mother told me he wasn't married, but that might not be true. She could only have heard about it from Aunt Alicia, who adored Tom and was always very bitter about your grandmother. Aunt Alicia was 29 when Tom died. I tried to find out if Charlie was born in Edinburgh from the Register House, and enclose their reply. It may not mean anything but that he was not registered at birth. Very many were not registered in those days, even in Edinburgh, and if he was born in Australia it would be even less likely. I always thought he was born in Australia but have no evidence for this, only surmise.

Your father must have been about 9 years old when his father died - his mother presumably having died previously - and our grandmother took him to live with her at Kelvinside. We have a photograph of the family of about 1857-58 - Grandmother with her son Willie on her knee, aged about I year; our grandfather with an arm round Amelia aged about 5; Adelaide standing behind grandmother, aged about 3 and Charlie standing behind grandmother, aged about 9. A very good looking but sad looking boy.

NAENA: Tom was very good looking with a charming nature. Nothing much is known about Margaret Bruce and their marriage. Tom and his elder brother John, also a school master, together compiled and published 'Flint's Arithmetic' [I have a copy published by David Robertson, Glasgow, 1862 “new edition” - see below.] which I am told was quite a notable book on the subject in its day. It's not known what became of Margaret Bruce but their son Charles Bruce Flint was born in 1848 soon after arrival in Australia. John had lent Tom money to start a boys school in Adelaide. The school was not the success he had hoped for. His partner in the school may have been one of the many adventurers in Australia at the time but letters to his brother imply mismanagement of the whole business. He died 6 months after this failure of T.B. in 1857 leaving Charlie an orphan of 9.

Copy of the letter written by Tom Flint to his brother John, from Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide dated August I7th 1857

My dear John,

Enclosed I send you the second Bill of Exchange for eighty pounds. I have nothing to add to what I said in my last except that I hope to be able to send to you in the course of the next twelve months between two and three hundred pounds which the institution drew from the business either in the shape of money or goods; but as my doing so is contingent upon another event taking place over which I have little control, I cannot say positively that I shall be able to do so within the above period. Besides this I am selling by private bargain my pictures, books and whatever other little things I have the proceeds of which I shall remit to you.

My health is still in a precarious state and I am unable at present to do anything. Should it however be God's Will that I recover from this illness I do not expect to have the slightest difficulty in obtaining a situation from the salary of which I shall be able to save one hundred pounds a year, but this of course is contingent upon my recovery. In the meantime I should feel obliged by your sending me an abstract of all the consignments sent from the beginning, the prices being those actually paid, together with the charges to Adelaide My late partner's a books are now in the hands of a man of business for examination so that I hope that by the time I next communicate I shall be able to say how the bulk of the consigned proceeds has gone.
I know what you must think of my mismanagement of your business here from first to last, but I have no excuse to offer. I only hope to be yet able to save you from ultimate loss. With love to Catherine, the children and yourself. Believe me, dear John,

Ever your affectionate brother,

Tom Flint.

The copy of Flint's Arithmetic - how that phrase must have struck terror into the hearts of 19th century schoolboys! is as follows: The Art and Practical Application of ARITHMETIC by John and Thomas Flint. New Edition. Glasgow David Robertson 1862. It is a small 8vo volume in stamped cloth covers 144 pps. After its study one is expected to be able to answer questions such as this. “If 37.8125 grains of gold are required to gild a ball which weighs 1331 ounces, how many grains will be required to gild a ball which weighs 512 ounces?”