Miscreants and Ne’er-do-wells

  • John Thomas Flavell was a man of many aliases – Johnny the Rat, Little John, William Harris, &c. &c. John was born in Toronto (when it was known as "Muddy York") in 1864. He was the eldest son of John Flavell (c.1834–1888) and Anne Gilmore (1835–1879), both of whom had emigrated from the parish of Drumcree to Canada West in 1858. After his mother died and his father took up housekeeping with his late wife’s sister, John Thomas embarked on a career as a notorious criminal. He started off small in 1883, getting caught for filching money out of his employer’s till, and doing the time accordingly. After serving her Majesty’s pleasure, John Thomas ranged farther afield into Michigan and Ohio (and perhaps other states) in the U.S, acquiring crooked aliases and a reputation to match.
  • Thomas Henry Flavell of Corbrackey, parish of Drumcree, was third in the line of descent from Thomas Flavell (c.1783–1866) of Corbrackey to bear the name, Thomas. He was the only son of Thomas Flavell, jun. (1826–1912) of Corbrackey and Elizabeth Conn (c.1837–1901) of Kilmoriarty. Thomas Henry got into plenty of trouble with the Petty Sessions authorities in Portadown, and harried and harassed his ailing, elderly father nigh unto the old man’s death in 1912. As it happens, Thomas Henry was a first cousin to John Thomas Flavell (b.1864) of Toronto, above.

Return to Notorious Characters index page.

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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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