Historical figures

One of the most prominent figures in the history of Richmond County, and Arichat in particular, is Edmund Power Flynn, politician, merchant, and Richmond County’s first coroner.

He was the son of John Flynn (1789 -1839) and Mary Power (1794 -1849), both born in Dungarvin County, Waterford, Ireland. Born on August 19, 1828 in Arichat, he was educated in Cape Breton and became a merchant in Arichat. In 1852, Flynn married Mary Ann Barry (she died in 1862) and then married Ellen Phelan in 1865. The two marriages produced 12 children.

Flynn was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia as a Member of the Legislature for Richmond from 1867 to 1874 as a Liberal-Conservative. During his time in the Nova Scotia Legislature, he was a Minister without Portfolio in the Executive Council from 1867 to 1871. He was made Commissioner of Crown Lands from 1871 to 1874.

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The election for the Twenty-Fourth Assembly was held on May 16, 1871. Edmund Power Flynn was re-elected, but resigned his seat to contest the federal election.

In 1874, he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as a Member of the Liberal Party for Richmond. He was re-elected in 1878 and 1887 but was defeated in the elections of 1882 and 1891. Flynn was widely considered one of the ablest orators in the House of Commons.

He was coroner for Richmond County from 1863 to 1900, as well as Customs Collector at Arichat from 1897 until his death there in 1900 at the age of 71.

The Flynn-Cutler-Robichaud House is valued for its close association with Edmund Power Flynn and for its association with the Cutler family, who for most of the 20th century used the house as a residence, hotel, and telephone exchange.

D’Auvergne Cutler first operated a livery stable and then turned the house into an inn, known as the Commercial House. The livery stable was discontinued in the early 1930s, however, the hotel remained in operation until the late 1950s. From the house, his wife Elizabeth and then their daughter Laura operated the town’s telephone exchange beginning in 1911. The exchange remained in operation until 1971 when a dial system was introduced in Arichat.

The Flynn house was built on what was then Arichat’s main street in 1860 and is one of the very few pre-1914 buildings of architectural merit left in Arichat.

The house was then occupied by Dr. l’Esperance of Quebec, followed by J.A. Gillies, K.C., Barrister and Solicitor and federal representative for Richmond back in 1911. It was he who brought the first automobile to Isle Madame in that same year, and it was he who sold the property to Mr. Phillip J. Fixott, a Jerseyman in the employ of the Robin, Jones, and Whitman firm in the 1920s.

He, in turn, sold the property to D’Auvergne (1865-1932) and Elizabeth (Crichton) Cutler (1869-1958 and married in 1848). There were three children: Hilda (1902-1993), Ralph (1899-1972), and Laura (1903-1972).

The home was bought by Ed and Betty Robichaud in 1973 and declared a heritage property in 1989.

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Don Boudrot is a retired English teacher, currently an author and historian living on Isle Madame.