Eleazer Adorno Peck
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

CAPTAIN WILLIAM JAMES FLYNN—One of the foremost members of the American Legion since its organization in Rensselaer County is Captain William J. Flynn, whose business activities have for some fourteen years kept him much in the public eye of Troy. With the recent election of officers of the county organization, he was made chairman of all American Legion Posts in Rensselaer County, thus now standing at the head of the organization in this district. Captain Flynn's career is full of interest and during the comparatively short period of his active life, he has risen to a position of large influence and success as president of the Troy Electrical Company. Captain Flynn is a son of John J. and Mary (Coghlin) Flynn, both now deceased, his father formerly active in the granite business.

William J. Flynn was born in Albany, New York, August 3, 1893. His education was begun in the public schools of his native city, but he later attended the Christian Brothers' College in Albany, then at the age of sixteen years entered the world of men and affairs. His first position was in the employ of the Delaware and Hudson Railway Company, then he became identified with the Remington Typewriter Company and it was in the interests of that concern that he came to Troy, opening their office here. He was later placed in charge of distribution of the entire north district of New York for the same concern and it was in this position that the intervention of the United States in Europe found him.

On August 28, 1917, the young man enlisted for service in the World War and was sent to the Officers' Training Camp at Fort Niagara, New York. In November of the same year he was commissioned first lieutenant of the United States Army and was assigned to Company A, 311th Regiment, 78th Division, at Camp Dix. On January 3, 1918, he was transferred and became aid-de-camp to Major General Hugh L. Scott, chief of staff of the United States Army. In February, 1918, Captain Flynn received his promotion to his present rank and thenceforward continued under Major General Scott, until the retirement of that officer. Captain Flynn was then made aid-de-camp to Major General Harry C. Hale and served under him in the office of the secretary of war, receiving his honorable discharge from the service on September 18, 1918, with the rank of captain of the United States Army. Captain Flynn is a charter member of Van Rensselaer Post, American Legion, and was elected its vice-commander, in which office he served until this post was consolidated with the Troy Citizens' Corps and renamed Troy Post American Legion. He was further elected commander of the new organization and his popularity in this connection led to his election in 1923 as county chairman of all American Legion posts in Rensselaer County. He is also a charter member of the officers' division of the American Legion of New York State and ex-commander of this order.

Since the war, Captain Flynn's business interests have followed somewhat different lines than previously. In August, 1919, while still in the service of the army, he bought a controlling interest in the Troy Electrical Company. This concern has a most interesting history, as it was one of the earliest enterprises of its kind, having been formed in 1894, under the firm name of the E. G. Barnard Company. In 1904 the name was changed to the present title, but Captain Flynn first became identified with it as above noted. In September, 1919, immediately following his return to civilian life, he became the active president of the organization and still fills this office with efficiency and ability. The concern has enjoyed marked growth since he took over its interests and now has a very large and constantly increasing business, extending throughout Northern New York State, and its electrical engineering department is understood to be easily the largest in this section. This concern was the first in Troy to take up the distribution and installation of radio outfits and they act as jobbers, retailers and engineers in all lines of electrical equipment and supplies.

Captain Flynn is well known in fraternal circles as a member of Troy Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and is a member of the Troy Club and the Laurette Boat Club. In political affairs he holds an independent position, giving his support to any party or candidate he believes fitted to serve the public welfare, and he has never thus far accepted public responsibilities of a political nature. His recreative interests follow the line of outdoor athletic sports, including baseball, boating and tennis.

Captain Flynn married, on November 4, 1918, Ann E. Murray, of Troy, who acts as his associate in the Troy Electrical Company, holding the only other office and being a director of the concern.

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Debby Masterson

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