Early Life of My Father
HIRAM FLANDERS, my grandfather, I never knew. He died in 1879 "somewhere in Canada," according to the record. He married Mary Alexander of Compton, Quebec, in 1845. The record shows that his first two children were born in Grantham, New Hampshire, but died in infancy in Compton. Probably the travel back and forth was due to the wanderlust of my grandfather. He would stay at home for a while and then leave suddenly, to be gone for weeks, or months, or even for years. My father related that Hiram once went as far afield as Elkhorn, Wisconsin, where he bought land and proposed to move the family. Like all his projects, this one fell through, and Grandma bore the family burden alone.
My father has told me that as a small boy Hiram waked him one morning before daylight and set off with him for Canada. For the boy the journey was full of wonder. Not only was it his first ride on a train, it was his first sight of a train.
Because of Hiram's irresponsibility, the early married life of Grandma Flanders was spent in poverty. She had in all seven children of whom four -- my father ( Albert Wellington), Henry, Ella and Avis -- lived to maturity.
It was impossible for Grandma Flanders to keep the family together. My father, at least, was "bound out." That means that he was turned over to a farmer as an unpaid hired man, for his