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

Friday, September 30, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary Days 12, 13, and 14

Dec. 19, 1941.  Friday.  12th Day.
     Am to get a pass at room 302, from our Japanese supervisors.  Hope to go out this p.m.
     Am told to return my hotel bill to the hotel desk and have it referred to Room 302.
     Motor cars, except for favored few, to vanish next week,  Mon.  22nd Dec.  I should worry.  I have no car.
     12:15 p.m.  Got the pass.  At 1:45 p.m., went to my Capt. (Apt.?) and got some items, then bought some, and back by 4:45.  No news.

Dec. 20, 1941.  Saturday.  13th Day.
     5 p.m.  Nothing much to report.  JBS and I are 1-1 on Rummy.  Hear J.B. Powell, an American newsman, pro--Chungking, has been "taken".  I had expected it.
     JBS beat me at Rummy.  Then went to bed.  And, did he snore!
     Had a nice shave and bawth.  We get hot water now 7-9, 12-2, and 7-9.  Hope fuel holds out.

Dec. 21, 1941.  Sunday.  14th Day.
     Let's see---wot 2 rite?  Well, Christmas is next week.  Won a game of Rummy off Mr. Landon.  That's something.  Can't go to the concert (He enjoyed the culture of Shanghai and regularly attended certain concerts, etc.)   Mail notices in paper say "To U.S., uncertain".  News is all against U.S.A.  All "hopped up" a la Heinie (German) type.  Japanese claim Hg ? is "in the bag"--almost.
     A M  ( ?)  called 2:50 p.m.  Played several Rummy games in lobby.
     Vice Consul Shirakuro approached me re taking over my Apartment end of Dec. 1941.  I counter proposed Jan. 31.  Will likely decide tomorrow.  He informed me we (American Staff) would not return to our flats and Su confirmed.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary Days 10 and 11

Dec. 17, 1941.  Wednesday (I think).  10th Day.
     Sunny.  No headlines.  Maybe "things" ain't going their way.
     Played cards;  Solitaire and then some 2 or 3 hours of Rummy in p.m. with Mr. Landon, a 2nd cousin of Governor Landon's.  No news coming in.  Well, we figure "no news is good news" so should the enemy win a victory, they'd certainly "splash it'.   So what?

Dec. 18, 1941.  Thursday.  11th Day of Captivitiy
     Nice and sunny.  I try to get a "pass" but many other prison mates are ahead of me.  Am to get one tomorrow the 19th.  Will play Rummy with Mr. Landon, if he returns from some outside errands.
    Chan came over and got my laundry.  Bill for Ch. $417.69 plus 41.76 equals 459.45!  Are prisoners to pay their own keep?
     One week to Christmas!  Tra la.  I doubt if Santa'll find me this time.  Yeah, I believe in Santa. Don't you?
     Just across the street tonight I saw   ?  Those venetian blinds ain't enough.  "Life" marches on.
     Motor cars growing less and lesser.  Gas is scarce.


WR Lynch WW II Diary Days 8 and 9

Dec. 15, 1941.  Monday. 8th Day
      Glory Be!  I stay in Room 309.  JBS moves in;  sun shines today.  News?  Oh, yeah!  He's a fresh air fiend.  Opens windows.  So do I, but within reason.

Dec. 16, 1941.  Tuesday. 9th Day.
     Cash!  Finally got Ch. (Chinese) $350.00.  Bank balance is Ch. $9.71.  We are limited to Ch. $500.00 withdrawals per  (day)  ?  or per ?  But that can't bother me.  See my balance.  But I think I'll get by--if  "black market" holds up.
     I gave US $10.00 to Stanton to give to Mr. Ruben ?.  This $10.00 is in my safe marked  "I. O. Miss Lee US $10.00."   It is in Govt. money.  Mr. Stanton is to tell Miss Lee (Phillips).
     Bought  Vicks Cough drops--Ch. $4.00.  News meager.  "Scuttle But" seems maybe the fortunes of war aren't favoring the enemy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary Days 6 and 7

Dec. 13, 1941.  Sat, 6th Day     
     Colder.  No sun. Registrations seem to be finished.  News?  Chiefly in reverse.
     5:27 p.m.  Awful drab day.  Not even wild rumors to enliven existence.
     Hotel posts a notice requesting its "esteemed guests" to refrain from spreading rumors. 
     Pop "D" got "tipsy" and made an "ass" of himself at dinner table.  Rest of us disgusted.
     Weekly gazettes (Emporia Gazettes?) July-October 1939 came when I was in States.  Am reading them. 

Dec. 14, 1941.  7th Day Sunday.
     Cold, rainy, dreary.  Hum-drummy.   Propaganda:  we get lots of it as news.
     Moving.  I am to move to 316 with Mr. D.  I object and am to remain in 309 and JBS from 401 is to be my mate.  I offer to help him move now, 7 p.m., to make sure no cancellation as 309 overlooking the street gets some sun.  I am hoping my bestest.
     Gave Mr. Groves, Commercial Attache, a crib (cribbage) lesson proper.  "Skunked" him. 
     Lots of rumors.     

WR Lynch WW II Diary Days 4 and 5.

Dec. 11, 1941,  4th Day 
     Insomnia.  Heard Customs Clock strike 3 a.m.  Put some mentholatum in nose.  Sunny crisp weather today.
     7:30 a.m.  Awake.  Streets almost deserted.
     2:40 p.m.  My phone in hotel room 309 is sealed.  Now, ain't that sumpin?
     My, what line up to register across the street this morn.  Line reached a whole block at times.
     I hear my boy (man servant) has disobeyed and did not stay in my apt. or rather was not in this a.m. about 10.  I'll bawl him out.   Am informed the "Swastikas" are appearing in large quantities.

Dec. 12, 1942.   5th Day
     Up betimes, about 7:30.  Breakfast 8:30 a.m.
     Apply for a pass to go to my apt. about 3/4 hour this p.m.  Guess I'd better prepare, so will, I hope, do some packing, just in case.
     2 p.m.  Got pass.  Go across street to apt.  Pack clothing, just in case.  Bring back some duds and reading.  Turn in pass at 5 p.m. to our "overseers" at room 407.


Monday, September 26, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary Day 3

Dec. 10, 1941.   Wednesday.  3rd Day
     Heard Custom House clock strike 7 a.m.  Broke my vow and shaved, hot bath, and dressed.  Wonder what the day'll bring forth.
     3. p.m.  Several of us were "escorted" to Consulate offices to get personal belongings.  Two Japanese Consular officials (minors) and a booted and armed gendarme went along as guards. Broke seals to room 409 and to my safe.  Got my 65.00.  Back to Hotel by 5:00 p.m.
     Lost Casino to Collins  3-2.  Dinner at 8 p.m. in basement dining room, a sort of Rathskeller of a place.
     I've got Sydney Lafoon's LIFE for Oct. 6, 1941.. Would like a late issue of TIME. 
     11:59 p.m.  To bed.  Can't sleep, darn it.  Must be insomnia.  My conscience is clear.
     Long lines of British and Americans across the street to register today.
     Registration by J. authorities is in Hamilton House.  Property declaration is required.  Likely is a prelude to ????
     I hear J. Navy gave American Navy YMCA one hour to clear out.  Rev. Kline on Dec. 8th told me they had to clear out of Moore Memorial Church building on Yu Ya Ching Road.  J. were going to take over Foreign YMCA but apparently Sec. Hines talked fluently and convinced Japanese it was international, and staved off any action.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary Day 2

Dec. 9, 1941. Tuesday, 2nd Day in Detention.
         Have told Chan, my "Boy". to camp in my flat, just across street in Hamilton House.  Sent a friend over to get a needle and thread and ASPRO (asperin).  Had put on heavy winter suit and keys had last year worn a hole in pocket, right side.  No news, except lousy propaganda, and U.S. Navy wise acts at Honolulu.  Seems U.S. Navy got caught with its "pants down".  Wet and rainy.  
     We hope our captors will relent and let us walk around outside--unless some damn fool "patriot" in U.S.A. goes amuck and hurts some Jap.  Local newspapers much reduced.  China Press and N.C.D. News suppressed.  News shows that USS OKLAHOMA and another got bombed  and sunk at Pearl Harbor.
     All British and Americans are to be required to register with Japanese military.  Played cards.  Played Hinke for a beer but he took a cocktail at 7:70 vs. 1.65!  Never again with him.
     Haven't been able to return to my flat, darn it, but friends report all is well.
     My whiskers grow but I vow I won't shave "for the duration".
     Confinement and no work is tiring and irksome.  One fellow, Brookhart, stepped out on hotel entrance and a Jap. guard was immediately at his side.
     US $ was reported at Ch. $11.50 vs CH. $30.00 on Sat., Dec 6, 1941.
     Jap. flags are on American Club, about a block away.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary Day 1

I found this posting among my unpublished diary entries.  If it is a duplicate, I apologize, but did not want it to be omitted.    Roselyn

Will Lynch WW II Diary
Click on picture to enlarge

Dec. 8, 1941  Monday. 1st Day in Detention

       Awakened 4:30 a.m. by explosions.  Viewed from my window, 7th floor, Apt. 712, Hamilton House.  I knew it was gun fire, owing to noise and tracer bullets.  Donned pants over pajamas, removed pants and went back to bed.  More firing so dressed partially and went to top of building and beheld the sight.  Could not tell whether Japs were firing at Hunt's Roosevelt Terminal or possibly at the 55 Morazan, a Panama vessel.  I could see lights on USS WAKE, so knew it had not suffered.  Returned to bed, as it was rainy.  My boy (Chinese man servant) "no come" so I made coffee and had jam and some cold muffins.
      8:45 A.M.  To office.  All were agog.  Got my gang together as was anxious to get Nov. 1941 accounts finished.  Shortly, Nippon soldiers with fixed bayonets with iron helmets, and news spread over office to close by 1:00 p.m.   Put all correspondence and accounts in safe, removed 610.00 and locked safe.  Staff vanished.  All Americans left office by noon.  Commissioned officers told to return by 5:00 p.m. with one or two hand bags, for further instructions.  I had a snack at home, which boy had prepared.  Listened to radio XGRS (German) station and did they "lay it on".  Packed suitcase and went to Metropole Hotel, and thence to Room 509 of Consulate Office and doors and safes had been officially sealed by a Jap. circular seal.  Codes and confidential correspondence had been destroyed in morning.  I am in room 309, Metropole Hotel.  We are not to leave the building.  We seem to be held as hostages.  Are guarded by armed Japanese Gendarmes.  They don't molest us, as we are all on our "good behavior".

Friday, September 23, 2011

W.R. Lynch WW II Diary Introduction

Will Lynch was on the Baseball
Team at Emporia State Teacher's
 College in Emporia, Kansas.
Click on photo to enlarge.
 Will Lynch was the second son of Caroline and James Lynch.  He was born in 1885 in Lyon County, Kansas, and grew up on the family farm.  Unlike his brothers, he was not interested in farming and wanted to go to college and see the world, which he did. 
      After graduating from Emporia State Teacher's College in Emporia, Kansas, where he played on the school's baseball team, with a degree in Education, he went to the Philippines to teach in about 1912, then to China and soon was in Shanghai working for the American Consular Service.   Shanghai at that time was unlike the rest of China.  It was very cosmopolitan and European in flavor with quite a modern culture.  He enjoyed the ballet, symphony and other events.  He liked his work there and only came home every three years for a long visit before returning to China.  He came by ship which took three weeks, I think.
     His visits were exciting for us as China seemed (and was) clear around the world.  He would visit his Mother, Caroline Lynch, and other relatives.  He gave talks at schools and other groups.  At home, he always wanted to act like a local when he came home and would embarrass my teenaged years with the way he acted and things he said.  I tried to never let him meet any of my boy friends!
     He wrote home often and his letters were legendary.  He always had a way with words, and was sometimes a little acidic in his views, but it was a treat to receive one of his letters.  I built quite a stamp collection from his letters from China.   
     In those days, communication was slow.  Letters went by boat and took nearly a month to go one way.  There was nothing like email or long distance phone calls.  I am not sure when telegrams came in but they were only used for emergency and government mail.     
     He was never home at Christmas but his presence was always felt.   When we went to Grandma Lynch's house on Christmas Eve, there was always a sack of apples, oranges and nuts for each of us grandkids.  When I was younger, I thought he had sent them clear from China.  Later, I realized he sent money to Grandma who bought all these things for us!  I know he was a little homesick at Christmas, though he enjoyed his work in Shanghai and had many friends among the American community there.
     On December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day) the Japanese not only bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, but captured Shanghai the same day.  America joined World War II.  When this happens, each government takes the opposing country's diplomat's prisoner.
     The US State Department in Washington DC took the Japanese Diplomatic Corps prisoners and Japan did the same thing, meaning that Will Lynch was arrested by the Japanese Army and taken as a diplomatic prisoner on December 8, 1941.
    He kept a diary on an old fashioned stenographers pad for nearly a year--something that I am sure was against the rules, but he was never one to go by the rules. The diary is in small script on an old fashioned stenographer's tablet.  In 1945, I had just graduated from high school, and typed it out  after World War II ended when he came home.  Some entries are long, some only a few lines.  He wrote nearly every day.
     I will write them as he wrote them but will omit what I cannot read of his writing.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Civil War Letter Page 3

On August 12, 1862, James Lynch enlisted and joined the Company G of the Illinois Volunteer 74th Infantry on the side of the north in the Civil War.  It is likely that many of the boys named in this letter joined about the same time.  Some of the battles they fought in were: Cableorchard (the first one), Peachtree Creek, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Francisville, Liberty Gap, and Perryville.  James was never wounded, but a bullet hit his canteen and he lost all of his drinking water.  He and his comrades were hungry many times.  They were sent out to forage from the farms around them. Once he and another soldier tried to robe a bee tree, with many stings and little honey.  After the war, he was discharged at Nashville, Tennessee on June 10, 1865.  The veterans probably scattered to various places after that.  I doubt the Reunion he suggested ever took place. James was blind and not in good health when this letter arrived.  But I imagine he really enjoyed hearing from his old friend. 

     Now James, I think this is enough for this time.  It may be that Kind Providence will permit us to meet again, henceforth.  I hope so, anyway.  I only live 50 miles north west of Des Moines, Iowa, and Remember that the G.A.R. National Encampment meets there next fall.  I hope you will be able to come and see me then.
     I want you to answer this and tell me how and when, if you and Prescott and Jess and myself will be able to get to Des moines next fall.  We will make arrangements to have a genuine old Reunion  at Yale in the State of Iowa.
     You see that I am getting (anxious/nervous?) that you cannot read it, if I should write more, so I must close.
     Hoping that this may find you and Yours all Well.
     I am as ever, Your Old Comrad,
                      J. E. Francis
                      Yale, Iowa

     Say, Jim:  I still love honey.  But I don't think it is a good plan to try to carry it off in the hive--bees and all.  How is it with you? 
     That was no laughing matter at the time.  But I have had many a laugh all by myself since that time. 


Civil War Letter Page 2

     It will not take you long to run over the list.  You will see that there is not one left of Company B.  I can't realize that out of 1,000 boys, only 83 are left.  
     I have not been to Illinois for over two years.  John Waldie and High Cox are the only ones left of boys in Oregon (Illinois).  John is the same Waldie as of old and can "holler" Lighthizes and Freeby Jane as of old.  High Cox is living in Oregon but is badly crippled up by rheumatism. Kanodle I see is still living.  I have never seen him but once since we disbanded.  Prescott and Nie Burroughs are the only one of the Lynville (ILL) boys left there, and are living in Rockford, Ill.
     Charlie Wade is living in Rochell yet, as I see by the list.  I saw him two years ago.  He was looking fine and had not shown his age much at that time.  The only change I could see was that he had grown fleshy and was lots heavier than he used to be.  He inquired about you, but I could not give him any information.
     Aunt Rosannah Hubbard and (can't read) Hubbard are still alive and are living at Rockford.
     I have not been in Lynville for 30 years.  There is none of the old settlers left, a few of their children are left there yet.  Cash and Frank Perry and John Chishier are living there yet,  Rob Chestnut is dead.
     Now as to myself, everyone says that I am the youngest old man in the country.  I can do a fair day's work yet if necessary.  I have always been blessed with good health.  Married a girl living near Johnstown (?) in 1870, and no one was ever blessed with a better wife.  It will be three years next month since she died.  We had two children--both girls, and they are both at home with me now.  
     I have never got very rich although we have enough so that I am not worrying about going to the Poor House.  We have a good farm 1 1/2 miles of a smart R.R. town.  We moved off of it two years ago and moved into this town, but if I was 20 years younger, you would not find me living in town.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Civil War Veteran Letter Page 1

This letter to James Lynch is from an old Civil War comrade.  It was written in 1922, about a year before James died.   James Lynch was living in Illinois when the war began in 1861.  Roselyn

Letter from a Civil War Veteran written in 1922
Click on letter to enlarge
Yale, Iowa
June 13, 1922
James Lynch, Miller Kansas

Dear Old Comrad,
     After 57 years, I think that it is about time that we begin to renew old acquaintance. Don't you?  I have been a poor hand to write letters, and it is very seldom I write to anyone.  Jess Moore and I have managed to keep track of each other most of the time, although we have been lost a couple of times.
     Finally, Jess wrote me that he had heard from you and gave me your address,but before I got around to write you, I lost the address, so never wrote although I have often thought of you as well as the other old Comrads.
     I received a letter from Jess about two months ago and in that letter, he spoke of you and said that he had not heard from you for a number of years, and that he feared that you had gone over the Divide.
     A few days after, I got a letter from Prescott.  He had sent to the Pension Department and got a list of the names and Post Office address, of all of the Boys now living that belonged to the Old 74th.  I cannot express the joy I felt when I saw your name listed therein and that is how I found out where you were located.  Knowing that Jess would be anxious to hear from you, I went immediately and had two copies of that list of names typewritten one for you and one for Jess, as I knew you would be glad to know how many of the Old Comrads were left on July 4, 1921  Find enclosed, the list.

Monday, September 19, 2011

James Lynch Biography Part 6

This final part of the James Lynch Biography tells of his children and of his and Caroline's death.  When they married, Caroline was barely 17 years old and James was 44 years old.  Roselyn
Caroline Dunmore Lynch age 17 years

James Lynch age 44 years

Carrie Lynch and Family
Back Row--Will Lynch, Carl Lynch, Floyd Lynch, Frank Lynch, Vic Skonberg
Front Row--Myrtle Lynch (Carl), Hazel Lynch Skonberg, Caroline Lynch,
Mae Lynch (Floyd), Inez Lynch (Frank)

James and Caroline Lynch had five children:  Carlos James lynch (November 8, 1862), William Reuben Lynch (June 5, 1885), Floyd Thomas Lynch (February 6, 1894, Franklin Benjamin Lynch (March 20, 1896) and Hazel Lucile Lynch Skonberg (July 11, 1904).
     James Lynch died at his home in Miller, Kansas, (where they had moved after he list his sight from cataracts) on April 8, 1923.  Caroline died at that same home on January 11, 1941.  James was 87 at his death.  Caroline was 77, lacking eight days of being 78.
     Burkes Registry records that the name of Lynch came from the O'Loingsigh family and was the Gaelic way of spelling.  It was anglicized to O'Lynchy in the 1500's, then to just Lynch.  This name was first recorded in the Irish Counties of Galway, Antrim, and Down.  It was translated as "Sons of the Navy Man",  They were one of the original "Tribes of Galway".  The Lynch Shield was a blue shield with a gold chevron between three rosettes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

James Lynch Biography Part 5

Part 5 of James Lynch's biography tells of his marriage.

     1874 was a terrible year for farming.  In August, the grasshoppers came like a cloud and ate everything until the ground was bare.  Many tales are told of these times and of how devastating these grasshoppers were,
     1876 was another bad year.  A flood that year wiped out all of the shocked wheat in just a matter of six or seven hours.  Two feet of water covered the whole farm.  There was a similar flood in July of 1908.  The water was in the cellar, so that Mother's geese swam in and out of the windows.  Men were waist deep in water on the road between the houses.  Now this year of 1982, there has been a similar flood.
James and Caroline Dunmire Lynch
Wedding Picture March 3, 1880

On March 3, 1880, James Lynch married Caroline Eliza Dunmire in Emporia, Kansas.  She was the daughter of Reuben and Susanna Cannon Dunmire.  Caroline was born in Fulton County, Illinois on January 19, 1863.
James and Caroline Lynch Wedding
Page from Old Family Bible

Saturday, September 17, 2011

James Lynch Biography Part 4

In Part 4, James lynch builds a house, farms and talks about the Indians who lived in the area.

     On weekends, James walked to Burlingame and back to get supplies (fifteen miles one way).  He bought lumber in Burlingame to build a one-room house east of where the present house is and later added another room.  These he moved to where Inez and Frank Lynch later lived  (Hazel's brother and wife).   These are the south rooms.  He added a large room on the north in later years, which became the kitchen.
James Lynch in later years in front of the house he built
(The picture at left is of the house much later.  James Lynch is sitting in front of the house he built, along with the chickens. I remember visiting Uncle Frank and Aunt Inez and their son, Melvin as a child).
     The Condell's lived in the middle of the field south and east of James' land.  The house is gone now.  In later years, it was reached by a lane that came in from the east.  Condell expanded his land to enclose what later was the Miller Ranch.  (The Miller Ranch is now the Porter Ranch, owned by Richard Porter).  He planted trees (hedge, I think) all around the perimeter.  Mr. Condell and Mr. Cunningham were kind  to James and took care of him when he was ill with ague.  It was a form of malaria, with chills and fever.  It came on regularly each afternoon, so he could only work in the mornings.  (Roselyn--I am wondering if James contracted malaria when he went through Panama on the way to California to pan for gold.)
     There was only one house between his place and Emporia, the county seat of Lyon County.  That house was the Phillips rock house.  It was a stage stop and inn between Emporia and Burlingame, a distance of thirty miles.
     There were many Indians near his land, but they gave no trouble.  They camped in the timber south of his house and came begging.  He would dig a hole in the ground to hide his meat and other foods they wanted, so they couldn't find it.  In 1868, the government rounded up the Indians in that timber and sent them to a reservation in Oklahoma.  Some wandered back and stayed around.

Friday, September 16, 2011

James Lynch Biography Part 3

In this 3rd part of his biography, James becomes a naturalized citizen.

James Lynch Naturalization Certificate
     After his discharge, he returned to Illinois and worked for a Mr. Countryman at Linnville, Illinois.  He liked Mr. Countryman very much and had letters from him after coming to Kansas.  At Ogle County of Illinois in the town of Oregon, he applied for naturalization papers and became a citizen of the United states on November 9, 1886.  Two witnesses wee present--John Rutlidge and E. F. Dutchen.  The residing judge was M. N Heaton. 
     James stayed in Illinois until November 1867, when he went to Kansas after getting letters from former neighbors.  One neighbor was Mr. Phelps, who had bought the farm later known as the Shepherd farm, and after that the Kaniper Place.  The other neighbor was Mr. Cunnngham, who owned the farm right across the road from where James later built his house.  In later years, James bought that farm, and it was my brother Carl's home.  Cunningham moved to Emporia and was County Treasurer.
These neighbors had written to him that he could buy cheap land in Kansas.  He took the train to Topeka and the stage to Burlingame and visited these friends.  He bid on and bought 134 acres at four dollars per acre.  He then went to live with his younger brother Thomas (who lived between Lawrence and Lecompton) and worked there that winter to get money to farm with.  his brother died there of pneumonia, I think, and was buried there.  Mae and Floyd Hazel's brother and wife) took Mother there once to find and decorate his grave, I remember.
     The next year, he used a breaking plow hitched to a pony and an oxen and worked for Mr. Condell to pay for the use of them.  He made posts and used smooth wire to fence his land.  He later bought two oxen.  The grass was shoulder high.  His land was next to Elm Creek, with running water and shade.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

James Lynch Biography Part 2

Continuing the biography of James Lynch by his daughter Hazel Lynch Skonberg.    Roselyn    

     They then went to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and the boys did farm work.  Later sister Ellen married James Main.  They lived at Oak Grove and later at Juneau, Wisconsin.  Sister Mary married Alonzo Wagner in Beaver Dam and later moved to Reading Kansas.
     In January 1854, James, Thomas and Patrick left from New York for California by the Nicaragua Route.  They sailed the Atlantic to the Isthmus of Panama and then rode across on mules to the Pacific side.  The Atlantic trip was rough, but the Pacific side was smooth sailing.    
     They panned for gold around Sutter's Mill (Coloma), Yuba City and Marysville.  Life was dangerous, and robbing and killing for gold was common.  Supplies were scarce and expensive. A plug of tobacco was five dollars and boots fifteen dollars.  Gamblers took over.  James panned almost $2000 in gold nuggets and gravel.  He kept it in a leather pouch tied around his waist at all times.  His brothers had almost as much as he did but lost it all when the bank president left fort New York with all the depositors' money.     
     In 1859, James and his brothers returned by the same route to New York.  James then went to Illinois where he got work as a farm hand.

James Lynch in Union uniform
     On August 12, 1862, James enlisted and joined the Company G of the Illinois Volunteer 74th Infantry on the side of the North in the Civil War.  His commander was General Thomas, whom he liked.  Some of the battles he fought in were:  Cableorchard (the first one), Peachtree Ceek, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Francisville, Liberty Gap, and Perryville.  He was never wounded, but a bullet hit his canteen and he lost all of his drinking water.  He and his comrades were hungry many times.  They were sent out to forage from the farms around them.  Once he and another soldier tried to rob a bee tree, with many stings and little honey.  
James Lynch's discharge paper from the Union Army of the Civil War
     After the war, he was discharged at Nashville, Tennessee on June 10, 1865.

James Lynch Biography Part 1

Hazel Lynch Skonberg interviewed her father and wrote this when she was 17 years old. She was not very interested in family history at that time and filled out the outline he gave her.  Later she did write it all down for us to have.  Some dates may be off.  The famine and unrest in Ireland made it difficult to keep good records.  As part of a family of teachers, I will add maps and pictures to this biography.  I am sure my Teacher Mother would approve!  Roselyn

By his daughter, Hazel Lynch Skonberg, 1982
     James Lynch was born in the village of Clonmel in the County of Tipperary in the Country of Ireland on March 16, 1836.  His father was Thomas Lynch, and his mother was Johanna Pendergast.  They were poor farmers who rented for a lifetime.
     Most land was owned by English nobility, and there was no chance to ever own it.  The land was rolling and grassy.  The family owned a horse and a cow.  (Roselyn--We had thought they were very poor but I was told by an Irish historian that if they owned any animals they were not destitute or considered "peasants")
     Houses were made of clay and straw mixed and roofed with thatch.  Farms were very small and the population was dense.   Roads were of broken rocks, of which there were plenty.  Rent was high.  Taxes were also high and ten percent of the taxes went to the Catholic Church.  James' only chance was a little schooling up to the fourth grade.  The only schools were in the Catholic Church, taught by the priest.  The desks were shelves nailed to the wall around the room and students stood up to them.  There were no recesses.  The priest was harsh and whipped often.  His main interest was in good penmanship, and Mr. Lynch learned to write very well.
     His parents died during the potato famine caused by a potato blight, and the family split up.  James was only twelve years old when he and his two brothers and three sisters decided to go to America, where they had heard there was great opportunity, and better prospect to make a living.  His older sister, Katherine, her husband John Deeves, and their daughter, Carrie, left also and went to Australia. There was one letter from them sent to Ireland and resent to the family in America, but there no address so they lost track of each other.  (Roselyn--I did some research in Australia and found what happened to them and will write of that later)
Red marker shows Waterford, Ireland. Look closely-
 Clonmel is just northwest of Waterford
     On March 16, 1848, James and his brothers, Patrick and Thomas, along with sisters Ellen, Mary, and Julia, sailed from Waterford for New York on the English sailing ship, Sir Harry Smith.  It was a 400 ton, three-masted brig with 400 passengers.  There was an auxiliary motor which was some help.  (Roselyn--the same Irish historian said that if they came on such a sailing ship, they were not destitute, since they had to pay for their passage)  They encountered a fierce storm just three days from New York and were blown a long way off before the storm abated.  Food got scarce.  They were strapped down most of two weeks and were seasick, also.  They finally caught some sea turtles and were glad to eat them, because they were hungry.  They arrived in New York on May 2, 1848.
     When they came to America, they started working in a cotton mill in Fall River, Massachusetts. (A mill town south of Boston). James was given the job of putting the wooden spindles of thread on the pegs.  He was given the job for one day to see if he could do the work.  He did it so well that he was given the job permanently.  That was when he was still twelve years old.  He earned six dollars a month and stayed for a year.  The three brothers and three sisters lived together in a frame tenement house that was barely furnished.  They slept on the floor.  Some worked nights, some days.  The work shifts were twelve hours.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Letter from China in 1921

A primary source for historians, this letter is from "Uncle Will" Lynch in Canton, China dated 1921.  He is telling his little sister, Hazel Lynch, to ask their father, James Lynch, many questions about his life.  James is an old man but his mind is clear and she records what he tells her.  Uncle William Reuben Lynch was an interesting person who spent many years with the American Diplomatic Corp in Shanghai, China. Very intelligent and enjoying culture like music, the ballet, etc., on his furloughs home in his later years, he loved being a "local", his ample body and bald head dressed in bib overalls and a very large straw hat.  His letters were legendary with their (sometimes) ribald humor and descriptions of what he was doing and seeing. More about him later.   The letter is printed in its entirety, exactly as we have it.  Roselyn
Will Lynch in 1922

Canton, China
May 31, 1921

Miss Hazel Lynch
Miller, Kansas, USA

Dear Miss Hazel:
     You are a wise little bird.  You are a junior in the High School.  You've written biographies of all the poets, generals, and whatnots in all of your school books.  You've paraphrased poetry until you have butchered it all out of shape.  You can knock the socks off'n a Latin verb.  What you can't do to mathematics is not worth doing.  I'll bet you still say "I have went" and "I seen it" but did that little head of yours ever jump into a real live up-to-date task?  No, it never did.  So now after getting such a "Bunk of an education", let me put you to work on something that is real, something that has some value to it, a touch of human interest to your own blood and flesh.  Thusly, and in this wise, 'tis thus I would speak and have words with thee.
      Did it ever occur to you to write a biography of a member of your family?  I rather think not.  So I enclose a skeleton outline, rather sketchy, I'll admit, but on the whole it should give one of your education an idea of my general drift.  I want you to take it as a sort of a guide and pump Dad for all the information you can get out of him on the subject of his origin and general wanderings and experiences during his hectic life.  You ought to get a pretty big bunch of exceptionally interesting data.  If you have a facile pen (and I think you should possess such an article after these past three years of high grade instruction) you should be able to write a composition, or rather a biography, that will have the "human interest" factor in it to the nth degree.      
     While sticking to cold facts, it should at the same time cause one's imagination to run riot, for Dad's been "around quite a bit", despite the fact that ever since I knew him, he's been "around home" chiefly.  Besides giving you a work out on a real live subject, this will have the added value of preserving in writing a few events effecting yourself.  One is, and should be, always interested in his "Family tree".  Some people call it "lineage".  So, here is your job.  Hop to it.
     I'm sending this outline in duplicate.  You may retain one copy and forward the other to me.
     Thanking you, I beg to remain,
                  Your obedient servant.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Lynch Clan

     The original Lynch name came from France in Normandy, which was settled by the "North Men" or the Vikings.  James is probably part Viking and when pictures of James Lynch from Ireland and my great grandfather, Jonas Victor Swenson from Sweden, are placed side by side, they look like they could be brothers, or at least closely related.  
     The name Lynch came from the O'Loingsigh family (the Gaelic spelling), then became O'Lynch in the 1500's and finally just Lynch.  They were one of the original "Tribes of Galway" and there is a Lynch Castle in Galway, that now houses a bank. (Picture below is for those of you who have always wanted your very own castle).
Lynch Castle
Click on picture to enlarge

Caroline has ancestors that go back to Scotland and the Cameron Clan in the Western Scottish Highlands who fought and lost to the English at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.  They fled to Ireland, then married the Irish Millers before coming to America.  Her German ancestors, the Dormeyers/Dunmire's came from the much fought over land between Germany and France called Alsace.  They left to avoid being conscripted to fight the constant battles between the two countries and arrived just in time for the Revolutionary War.  They promptly volunteered!