Introduction to Lynch Clan

My Lynch ancestors from Ireland came to America in 1848. The group included my Grandfather James Lynch and his five siblings, ages 10 to 18, who sailed without their parents to New York City. Soon they were living in a tenement house in Massachusetts working in a textile mill. From there they gradually migrated west. This blog will contain information gathered by my mother, Hazel Lynch Skonberg from her father, giving details of the trip over and life in America. There is also a diary written by his son, Will Lynch, who was with the American Consular Service of the State Department, and was taken hostage on Dec. 8, 1941, by the Japanese Army who had captured Shanghai that day. I hope you enjoy this blog about the James Lynch family in America.
To receive these blogs by email, sign your email address in the space called Follow By Email, provided on the right hand side of the page. Roselyn George

Sunday, April 8, 2012

WR Lynch, American Consulate in Shanghai, China

These are the obituary and eulogy for Will Lynch, who spent nearly 30 years with the US State Department in the Consular Service.  I have enjoyed his company through his diary--his lifetime interest and curiosity about all things, his sense of humor, his intelligence and my memories of him when he seemed to be a larger than life presence during his times home from China.  He was certainly a relative to remember!


     William Ruben Lynch, son of James and Caroline Lynch, was born on a farm north of Miller, Kansas, June 5, 1885, and passed away in his home in Long Beach, California, on July 14, 1956.
     He was a graduate of Kansas Normal College of Emporia, (now Emporia State University), and taught in Kansas  schools.  In 1913, he went to the Philippine Islands as a government teacher.  Later, he took a position in the United States Consular Service in Canton, China.  From there he went to Shanghai, China, where he became Vice-Consul.  He remained there until he was taken prisoner by the Japanese in World War II.   
     After he was released in the prisoner exchange, the United States government sent him to Cairo, Egypt, for a year and to Istanbul, Turkey, for a year, before he was returned home when the war was over.
     After furlough, he was sent back to Shanghai to reestablish the Consular Service, where he remained until his retirement in 1950.
     He was united in marriage to Miss Christie P. Campbell, who survives.  Besides his wife, he is survived by one sister, Mrs. Hazel Skonberg of Osage City, three brothers, Carl Lynch and Frank Lynch of Miller, and Floyd Lynch of Reading, all of Kansas.  He is also survived by many relatives and friends.
     Mr. Lynch was a member of the Congregational Church of Long Beach and was a Mason.


William R. Lynch--
     His early boyhood was a typical pioneer life--chores at home and an ambition for an education for a useful life.  During his recent retirement he recalled his high school and college years with these words:
     "I swept the dormitory, washed dishes and tended furnaces for my board and room, and thought I was a lucky fellow.  I didn't know I was underprivileged".
     This philosophy of work and self improvement continued throughout his life.  His political curiosity was world wide.
     After he graduated from Emporia State Normal, it was his first teaching assignment in the Philippines that gave him his first taste of life in the Orient and led to his interest and life long connections with the government foreign service.
     He served in the American Consulates in Canton and Shanghai before World War II and was interned there during the Japanese Occupation.  Upon release he was assigned to Cairo and later Istanbul, before returning to Shanghai after World War II ended.
     The gentler side of his nature was evidenced in his love of fine music and his companionship with little children.

Hazel Lynch Skonberg, sister of Will Lynch.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

WR Lynch and American Consulate in Shanghai, China

This is information from the US Department of State Web Site:

Rebirth and Renewal 
American Consulate in Shanghai, China

     Shanghai itself came to symbolize the normalization of Sino-U.S. relations in 1972, with the issuance of the Shanghai Communique'.  On April 1980, almost exactly 30 years after it closed, the United States Consulate General in Shanghai reopened at its present location at 1469 Central Huai Hai Road.  A member of the old Consulate's Chinese staff later presented Consul General Donald Anderson with the same flag that his predecessor had lowered three decades earlier.  It now hangs in the Consulate's reception rooms as a symbol of the historic ties between the old Consulate and the new.  
     The current Consulate property was built in 1921.  The main house is a villa in the French Renaissance style.  It sits on three acres, and includes several outbuildings, an orange grove, a Chinese rock garden, and a carp pond.
     As Shanghai continues to grow, and Sino-U.S. relations develop deeper and broader linkages, the work of the u.S. Consulate General in Shanghai also continues to grow and expand.  Shanghai has again become a major center of commerce and trade, and is a potent symbol of China's rising status.  American businesses and citizens have returned to the city in large numbers.  The Consulate General's large staff works to support and promote American interests, assist U.S. companies and private American citizens, and promote exchanges and dialogue between Chinese and American individuals and institutions.  Much has changed in the past century and a half since the United States established a consular presence in Shanghai, but much has also remained the same:  the relationship between the Consulate and Shanghai is as vibrant, dynamic and durable as Shanghai itself.

     Will Lynch did not live to see the reopening of the Consulate in Shanghai, but I know he would be pleased to see what is happening in that city at the present time.  I will print a little more about him and his obituary in the next and last post.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

WR Lynch and American Consulate in Shanghai, China

     The American Consulate General in Shanghai, China, is among the oldest American diplomatic and consular posts in the Far East, and the second oldest in China, dating to the mid-nineteenth century, following the conclusion of a treaty of "peace, amity and commerce" between the United States and the Qing Dynasty in 1844.  American businessman Henry Wolcott--local agent for a Boston trading company--raised the Stars and Stripes above his company office near the Bund and became the first Acting U.S. Consul in Shanghai.
     In 1854, the United States Government appointed Robert Murphy the first professional American Consul in Shanghai.  His offices were located at 36 Huangpu Road, in the area that would soon become the center of Shanghai's American Settlement.    
     By the early twentieth century, more than 1,500 Americans called Shanghai home.  The American Community contributed to the economy and life of the city, founding businesses, hospitals, schools, and educational exchanges.  In 1916, the Consulate General moved to new buildings at 13-14 Huangpu Road.  These buildings--at a cost of $355,000, were the most expensive U.S. Embassy or consulate in the world at that time.  By the 1930's The Consulate General hosted a staff of ten State Department officials, (Will Lynch was there beginning in 1921) a trade commissioner from the Department of Commerce, and an agent from the Department of Agriculture, as well as the U.S. Court for China, a jail, wharf, post office, and a parade ground for visiting Navy and Marine detachments.
     In the years prior to World War II, Shanghai was the seventh largest city in the world, and had become the financial and commercial center of Asia.  Years of trade and interaction with the West were thrown into disarray, however, beginning with the 1932 Japanese attack on Shanghai's Zhabel District.  In 1933, events pushed the U.S. Consulate General south of Suzhou Creek, leaving the old American Settlement for the first time in nearly 80 years.  By December 1941, however, Japanese advances into Shanghai forced the closure of the Consulate for the duration of the war. 
(Taken from "The Consulate General of the United States Shanghai, China")

           As you have read in the diary, Will Lynch was taken prisoner in 1941 and repatriated in 1942 off the coast of Portuguese East Africa.
 During the rest of World War II, from 1942 to 1945, Will Lynch served in posts in the American Consulates in Cairo, Egypt and Istanbul, Turkey.  As the War was ending, he returned home, married and expected to be sent to Belgrade Yugoslavia.   Instead when the war ended in late summer of 1945, Will and his wife, Christie, moved back to Shanghai, where he was instructed to reopen the Consulate there.   
    They found Post-war Shanghai a different city; the foreign settlements had been abolished and civil war soon engulfed the country.  No letters from Will Lynch to the family remain, but I can remember reading letters from his wife Christie saying that she feared for his life.  Inflation was so bad that employees were paid daily, with large trucks filled with bags of worthless cash for their pay.  The Communists were becoming a strong force in the city, and Will Lynch became very frustrated with having to deal with them.     
     On May 1949, the People's Liberation Army entered Shanghai.  The new Communist government did not recognize the diplomatic status of the Consulate staff, and on April 26, 1950, Consul General Walter McConaughy lowered the American flag and closed the Consulate.  
     In 1950, Will Lynch retired from his nearly 30 year career in the American State Department Consular Service, and he and Christie lived in Long Beach, California the rest of their lives.
     The Consulate was not reopened until April 28, 1980, almost exactly 30 years after it closed. 



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

WR Lynch WW II Diary

     Sometime near the end of World War II, Will Lynch was able to come back home to America.  He had a surprise for us.  The confirmed bachelor announced that he was being married, and we all wondered who could "tame" this adventurer.  The family lore was that he had been engaged to a young woman after college, but that when he decided to go to the Philippine Islands to teach school, she refused to go.  He was unhappy, but at that time the Philippines were newly opened to the world and it was like going to the moon. 
     Christi Campbell was a good match, retired from teaching and happily living in California with a busy life and many friends.  They may have met just before the war when she was on a tour of China with a group of retired teachers.  I assume the American Consulate had some kind of event for them in Shanghai, and they met there.  He did mention in his diary, shortly after the war began, wondering what the "California teacher was thinking".  They had apparently argued about the intentions of the Japanese and she seemed sure the Japanese would not attack.
     The whole family liked this very independent spirited outspoken lively retired teacher who was the perfect match for Will Lynch.  She could match wits with him and even beat him at some of the games they played.  They had similar cultural interests, both enjoying classical music, ballet, etc.  I am not surprised that he was drawn to this woman, who was not the least intimidated by him.  My parents visited them at their home in Long Beach, California, several times.
Letter from Will Lynch to his sister (My Mother) Hazel Lynch Skonberg

Monday, March 26, 2012

WR Lynch WW II Diary Days 241 and 242.

The last diary entries by Will Lynch, telling of his experiences when the Japanese took over the American Consulate in Shanghai on December 7, 1942.   He receives his British visa, so is able to travel in Africa and to Cairo for his new post at the American Consulate there.  I will write more of the years after the war.  Roselyn

August 5-6, 1942.  Wednesday and Thursday.   241st and 242nd Days.
     Got British visa on 6th.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

WR Lynch WW II Diary Days 236 to 240

Will Lynch arranges for more passports to include Africa and Near East.  His language shows the racial attitudes of those times.  He finds he has lost about 5 pounds.  Roselyn

July 31, 1942.  Friday.  236th Day. 
     Darky boys are coal black. 
     They bring strong tea to my room each morning.
     Got passport amended to include Africa and Near East.
     Must get a "Union of S.A." visa so we can go to Kruger Park and a return visa for Portuguese East Africa.
     Weighed 189.5 pounds--down from 195!
     Had some dental work done.

August 1-3, 1942.  Saturday,Sunday and Monday.   237th to 239th Days.  August 4, 1942. Tuesday.  240th Day.
     Dental bill Escudos  300.00 or about US$12.00

Friday, March 23, 2012

WR Lynch WW II Diary Days 233, 234, and 235.

Will Lynch moves to a hotel nearer the Consulate.  He can't leave until Lisbon gives permission.  Roselyn

July 28, 1942.  Tuesday.  233rd Day.
     Warm. Sunny.
     SS Gripsholm is anchored "in the stream". 
Moved to Hotel Cordoza, nearer the Consulate, and weekly rate is Escudos 450.00 vs. 700.00 at Polano.  Effective at noon.     
     Got a glimpse of ship slowly putting out to sea at 3:00 p.m.
     Don't know how long I'll be here, as I can't leave until Lisbon permits.
     However, it's nice here.  Hotel is on upper level, some 200 ft and overlooks busy port and city below.
     Bought 2 straps for my suit case to replace some "taken" by Italian 
"gentleman" (sic) on the CONTE VERDE-the dern thief.  Cost was Escudos 27.50.

July 29, 1942.  Wednesday.  234th Day.
      Still at Lourenco Marques--L.M.

July 30, 1942.  Thursday.  235th Day.
     Aired and sunned clothing.  All is o.k.
     Heavy wind about 7:00--8:00 p.m.