The subject of this review, who is now filling the responsible office of county treasurer, is a man to whom has not been denied a full measure of success, standing as he does distinctly as one of the representative citizens of Greenfield and recognized as a factor of importance in connection with the business political and social affairs of Hancock. He is a native of Virginia and a descendant of a French soldier who came to America with the Marquis Lafayette and bore a distinguished part in the war of the Revolution. This ancestor, Henry Flippo, was the subjects grandfather. After the war he settled in Virginia and became a wealthy planter, dying in that state a number of years ago. He had a family of two sons and three daughters, one of the former being Henry Flipp, who was born in Virginia and there married Catherine Graham, whose family was also among the early settlers of the Old Dominion state. Henry and Catherine Flippo were well-to-do people and spent all their lives on a large plantation in the state of their nativity. They had children as follows: William, Mary, James A., Henry and Levi, all of whom grew to maturity and became well settled in the world.
James Alfred Flippo was born in Culpepper county, Virginia, on the 26th day of July, 1835. On his fathers farm he received his first practical experience in life, and when a young man he turned his attention to carpentry, at which he soon became an expert workman. He remained in his native state until 1853, at which time he came west in search of a location and being pleased with the advantages of Greenfield., concluded to make the town his permanent abiding place; accordingly, in December of that year he settled here and at once began working at his trade, which until recently he followed with such success as to win for him the reputation of one of the leading contractors and builders in Hancock county. For a number of years he did the bulk of building in Greenfield and the evidences of his handiwork are seen in many of the principal business blocks and public and private edifices of various kinds which now adorn the city; not only in the town but throughout the county are numerous buildings erected by him and as a mechanic he easily ranked with the most skillful and enterprising contractors and builders in this part of the state.
In his political adherency Mr. Flippo is a stalwart supporter of the principles and policies of Democracy and for years has been a potent factor in forwarding party interests in Hancock county, being an active worker and displaying the same practical ability which has conserved his success in private affairs. About the year 1888 he retired from active work at his trade to enter upon his duties as treasurer of Greenfield, having been elected to the office in the spring of that year. Previous to that time he held various minor local offices and for a number of years was seldom without some public position to which his fellow citizens elevated him. His ability and fidelity to these various trusts and the unselfish interest which he displayed while serving the public, in due time brought him greater recognition and in November, 1900, he was elected treasurer of Hancock county. As an official Mr. Flippo displayed ability and acumen which demonstrated his peculiar fitness for the responsible position he holds, while his personal honor and integrity have won him the confidence of the people of the county, Republicans as well as Democrats. In his business habits he is very accurate, and as custodian of the public funds he manifests a careful conservatism that proves him to be the right man in the right place. For a period of years he served as a member of the city council and while a member of that body took a firm and decided stand for municipal reform and stood for all measures calculated to improve and beautify the town and promote its material interests.
Mr. Flippo is largely a self-made, self-educated man and the measure of success which has attended his efforts since he started in life upon his own responsibility stands not only to his honor and credit, but is also an evidence of his ability, assiduous application and singleness of purpose. Financially he has met with encouraging results, and in the acquirement of information upon all topics of interest he has been an intelligent student, until now his mature years are crowned with that wide understanding which reflects the success of a well-ordered and well-spent life. In all, he has held official positions for over twenty years, during which time his record has been free from adverse criticism and no one has ever called in question the rectitude of any of his acts or intentions as a servant of the public. Mr. Flippo is a member of the Masonic fraternity and for some years has been an Odd Fellow of high degree, belonging to the subordinate lodge and encampment at Greenfield. He was married on the 26th day of July, 1858, to Miss Eliza Jane Leary, of Franklin county, Indiana, of which part of the state his father-in-law was an early pioneer. Thomas J. Leary, father of Mrs. Flippo, was also an early settler of Hancock county, moving here from the county of Franklin during the pioneer period and entering a tract of government land, from which he developed a large and valuable farm. He was a successful agriculturist and stock dealer, took a leading part in developing the resources of the county and died some years ago on the homestead which he located.
Mr. and Mrs. Flippo have not been blessed with any children of their own, but three homeless little ones have found with them that home influence, comfort and training otherwise denied then. They are Lida Leary, a niece of Mrs. Flipp, who was taken as an infant, reared to womanhood, and is now the wife of William Davy, of Henry county, Indiana. Two of her six children are now residents of Mr. Flippos family. Several others have found homes with them for a greater or less length of time, all having been given the care and attention that would have been due their won offspring. The subject and wife are members of the Christina church, but from this fact alone is not to be estimated the breadth and depth of their Christian character; rather let them be judged by the man kindly deeds quietly performed and from the estimation and respect n which they are held by their numerous friends and acquaintances.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 364-366.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI September 24, 2002.
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