When the "Trail
of Tears" came through Potosi in 1838/39 Indians purchased supplies here at
During the Civil War this store was also a witness
to events when Sterling Price's Confederate Army invaded Potosi in September 1864 &
bombarded the Courthouse.
On January 17, 1932, Mr. Frank J.
Flynn, a cashier at a local bank committed suicide in one of the
upstairs front rooms by shooting himself through the heart.
Newspaper article-January 21, 1932
(poor quality - difficult to read - transcribed as best I could)
F.J. Flynn Dies In Potosi January 17th
Our whole community was shocked & grieved Sunday when the news
spread that Frank J. Flynn, Cashier of the Washington County
Bank was dead his death being caused by a gun shot wound
inflicted by himself at his old home on Jefferson Street. Mr.
Flynn's friends had been apprehensive about him for several days
due to his actions but had no idea that he was in such a nervous
state of mind. His health was bad & this is the only reason
that could have prompted such an act. Frank Flynn was one of
___ most highly respected business men. For thirty one years
he had been a faithful & trusted official of the Washington
County Bank & was always active in community ____ _____ ____
last week of his life he attended the ____ ____ & evening at
St. James Church of which he was a devout member. Sunday
morning he left the home of his sister, Mrs. ?? ?Roger or
Boyer? whose ___ boarded saying that he was going to attend
Mass. When he did not appear at church & was not seen by noon
that day Mrs. ?Boyer? became uneasy & with her daughter, Miss
Madeline, started a search for him. They found him in an
upstairs room at the old home on the floor dead with a gun he
had taken from the bank near him. It is thought he died about
8:30 that morning. The body was removed to the Boyer
Undertaking parlors where an inquest was held Monday morning.
Mr. Flynn's death is ___ ___ to his family, the bank, the
church, community & friends.
Frank Joseph Flynn was born in Potosi, August ?? ???? & was
the son of the late John & Mrs. _____ Flynn. He was reared &
educated in public schools in Potosi & soon after graduating
became deputy Collector of the County. In ???? he was elected
assistant Cashier of the Washington County Bank & about fifteen
years ago was advanced to cashier. He was married Oct. ?? 1905
to Miss Madge Dinning & to this union a son, Louis, who died at
an early age & one daughter Miss Rushia Lee Flynn who survives
him were born. Mrs. Flynn preceded him in death on May ?, 191?.
Besides his daughter he is survived by three brothers, ?Benj.?
Potosi, Edmond of St. Louis & ?Lawrence of Bellview, Mo. six
sisters Miss Rose, Miss Lou & Miss. Paula ? Flynn of St. Louis,
Mattie now Mrs. J.B. Boyer of Potosi ____ ___ Mother Gertrude
Flynn of St. Louis & Catherine now Mother Catherine Flynn of New
Funeral services were conducted at St. James Catholic Church
Tuesday morning Mass _____ celebrated by ?Rev.? Father ____
Ginley pastor & the remains were laid to rest in the family plot
in St. James cemetery. There were many beautiful floral
offerings. The funeral ____ was one of the longest ever seen
in Potosi. The pall bearers were Henry ? Flynn, B. ? Casey,
?Paul? ? Casey, Virgil ? Smith, Wm. ? Casey, & Wilson ?Bell?.
We extend our sincere sympathy to the bereaved family.
In September 2007 The Paranormal
Task Force (Missouri Paranormal Research Division) conducted an
investigation at the Austin Store.
People have reported seeing the shadow figure of a man peer at times
from the window in the room where the suicide happened.
the outside have observed a shadow
figure passing by an upstairs window on the inside. Other past
reports have included odd odors as well as unexplainable electrical
problems such as lights and other appliances turning on and off on
their own when this was once an apartment building.
Various odd and unexplainable experiences of
investigators and attendees included:
1. Steven R. - readings of 0.4 milligauss were observed on the Cell
Sensor Electro Magnetic Field Meter upon entry to the log cabin
adjacent to the Austin Store. Readings dissipated upon entry of 5
other people and within 20 minutes of four people leaving and three
remaining, readings spiked back up to the 0.4 milligauss level. An
unexplainable temperature drop from 82.0 degrees F to 74.0 degrees F
also occurred during this period.
2. Various investigators at the Austin Store experienced moving cold
spots at various times within the building as well as odd knocking
and other noises.
The Daily Journal newspaper covered the
Researchers investigate ghost stories
Paranormal investigators research the old Austin store
Note: On Sept. 8 a paranormal group investigated alleged
supernatural phenomena at various locations in Potosi. In addition
to the Missouri Paranormal Research (MPR), a Daily Journal reporter
along with the newspaper’s information technology manager
participated in the investigation. The following is the second of a
three-part series that deals with the investigation.
The Austin-Milam-Lucas Store is believed to date back as far as
1798. Historians believe it was built by Potosi’s founding
father Moses Austin. A rich history and tales of a suicide spark
stories that this one-time store, now museum, is haunted.
“If it was indeed built in that year it would have been present
in 1802 when the Osage Indians attacked Austin’s home which was
a few hundred feet away,” said Esther Carroll, a town historian
and member of MPR. “In 1838-1839 when the Trail of Tears came
through Washington County, Indians purchased supplies from the
store. It was also a witness to Civil War events when General
Sterling Price’s Confederate Army invaded Potosi in 1864.”
Carroll researched the alleged suicide that occurred inside the
store and found an article that was published On Jan. 21, 1932
in the Potosi Weekly Independent that she believes was the
suicide. The headline read “F.J. Flynn dies in Potosi January
According to the article, Frank J. Flynn died of a
self-inflicted gunshot wound in an upstairs room of the store.
At the time of the suicide, the store was a private residence.
Flynn was a cashier at the Washington County Bank. The article
said Flynn’s friends had been apprehensive about him for days
leading up to the shooting, but they had no idea he was in such
a nervous state of mind.
“I’ve heard old ghost stories,” said Jerry Sansegraw, president
of the Mine Au Breton Historical Society. “Some of the
old-timers used to say when they would walk by the store they
would see somebody looking through the upstairs window where Mr.
Flynn shot himself. Others would say they saw a light flicker in
Judy Myers, a sensitive investigator with MPR, said she picked
up on several spirits inside the store.
“There is a child in here running from me,” Myers said. “I think
she was battered by a woman. I feel that the child is afraid of
me. It’s a very overbearing feeling. I also sense that a man
hung himself in here and that another shot himself. I am also
picking up that there is the spirit of an African American woman
During an Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) session in the
upstairs room where Flynn allegedly shot himself, MPR
investigators got what they believe to be startling evidence
that paranormal activity does exist inside the historic
A voice on an EVP track produced by MPR said what sounded like
“The Old Austin Store produced what I believe to be the
disembodied voices of spirits as well as other potential
evidence still undergoing analysis and evaluation which includes
an odd "black" orb about door knob size traveling in a room of
the old store,” said MPR President Greg Myers. “Our sensitive
investigators, Matt Hendrix and Judy Myers also had several
experiences in both the Long-Banta Home and the Old Store as
well. They also sensed a suicide at the Old Store which was
later validated through research.”
During an investigation of the exterior of the property, an old
cabin that is being constructed next to the store seemed to be a
hot bed for electromagnetic activity.
“The EMF (Electronic Magnetic Field) meter never went off once
inside the store,” said Steve Rusbarsky, an MPR investigator.
“It went nuts in the cabin. EMF meters an be set off around
circuit breakers and breaker boxes, but there is no electricity
Paranormal investigators believe that supernatural entities can
cause fluctuations in electromagnetic activity.
“When an entity manifests it can cause an increase in
electromagnetic activity,” Greg Myers said. “When there is a
strong base in electromagnetic activity, the entity can also
draw from it and cause a decrease.”
A follow up
investigation was done at the Austin Store as well as The Long-Banta
House in Potosi on June 28, 2008 & evidence from that investigation
is still being analyzed.