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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WW War II Japanese American Relocation Camps. By Roselyn

    As you have been reading this diary written by Will Lynch during his captivity by the Japanese as an American diplomatic prisoner in Shanghai, China, you will have noticed he sometimes refers to the Japanese as "Japs".  This was very common during World War II, as Americans expressed a fear and mistrust of both the Japanese and the Germans.  And of course, he is very unhappy and somewhat fearful to be kept a captive, awaiting repatriation and the exchange of the diplomats between Japan and the United States.  
     After the Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, there was much suspicion in America of the Japanese Americans.  It was felt that they could pose a danger to America, though they may have been model citizens who had never done anything to cause suspicion. 
      The sad result was "in February, 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order, authorizing the federal government to relocate all people of Japanese ancestry who were living on the West Coast.  At great financial and emotional sacrifice, more than 100,000 people, many of them native-born Americans, were uprooted and sent to ten desolate inland camps.  Some 10,000 went through the gates of Amache, located near Granada, Colorado."  (Sandra Dallas in her book Tallgrass).
     It should also be noted that many of these Japanese American men volunteered and served in the armed services for America and some lost their lives in that service.     
     So, all the time Will Lynch was a captive in Shanghai, Americans of Japanese descent were also held captive in "camps" in several parts of the middle of America.  
     There have been many scholarly books and reports written about the Japanese relocation.  The book Tallgrass, by Sandra Dallas, is an excellent and very readable historical novel based on research about Camp Amache, (which she renames Tallgrass), the setting for this book.  It is told from the perspective of a local girl who lives on a nearby farm.  
     Another easily read book is Hotel On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by James Ford.  This book, also historical fiction, is set in Seattle, Washington, and gives the point of view from Japanese Americans in that area.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 77 and 78.

Will Lynch watches a large show of Chinese, directed by the Japanese.  There is an Avenue Voyron in France, so presumably this tea room on Voyron was in the French Settlement.  Roselyn

February 22, 1942.  Sunday.  77th Day.
     Mr. A. Lincoln's birthday.
     Cloudy but warm.
     At 3:30 tried to get tickets to Lafayette cinema for Jungle Cavalcade, second run.  Too late.  All sold out.
     Consul H.H. Smith has the mumps.
     Had Chinese tea and food at King Kong on Avenue Voyron.  Quite good.
     No good news yet.

February 23, 1942.  Monday.  78th Day.
     Wet and colder.
     Changed books at Foreign Y.   (A library?)
     Big--10 or 15,000 people, Chinese, directed by Japanese, gathered inside race course, waved paper flags, ostensibly a Wang Ching-Wei (A Chinese politician who supported the Japanese) demonstration.  Plainly inspired and forced rather than spontaneous, but if the Chinese mob psychosis had stirred, the situation could have been fraught with much possibilities.
     9:50 a.m.  Much thunder and lightening.  I thought the town was being bombed.  Rain was heavy.  Town got washed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 74, 75 and 76.

The Chinese New Year celebration goes on in spite of the war.  Will Lynch is to get a passport.   Roselyn

February 19, 1942.  Thursday.  74th Day.
     Chinese still celebrating their New Year.  Ought to finish today.
     Sunny and warm.
     Japanese are to shoot off fireworks at race course tonight to celebrate their recent victories.
     No good news yet.  Except got an invite to Chinese chow at M.J's for Saturday p.m.
     Played cribbage with Mr. Groves, 3-3, but one was a "skunk" in my favor, so I have the "edge".

February 20, 1942.  Friday.  75th Day.
     Sunny and warm.  
     A.M. and I saw "All That Money Can Buy" or "The Devil and Daniel Webster" at Cathay.  Heavy stuff. (drama).  I prefer it not.  It's the old story of "selling one's soul for money".  
     Brookhart won 3-1 in Rummy, from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. session.
     War News:   All bad.

February 21, 1942.  Saturday.  76th Day.
     Fine weather.
     Chowed, 3:00-5:00 p.m. at Mr. J's with 3 others.  Had a scare.  Had changed suits and forgot a leather coin bag.  Gosh!  But all is O.K.
     A.M. gave me an important and interesting scientific book.
     Beat J.B.S. 1-0 at Rummy.
     Will get my passport number and date.  Probably has some angle on repatriation for use by Swiss Consulate.

Monday, November 21, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 72 and 73.

Shanghai, China, was a Cosmopolitan city that contained an International Settlement called "The Bund" before World War II.  It had been that way for years.  European countries settled in that area, in order to do business with China.  Areas also included embassies, etc.  Will Lynch speaks of the "French Settlement" and there were others for the U.S., British, German, etc., each with their own cultural customs.

February 17, 1942.  Tuesday.  72nd Day.
     Warmer but cloudy.
     Radio stated repatriation arrangements about OK'd., that we are to go via Portuguese East Africa ere long, but no definite time set.
     Mr. (Consul) Weil "threw" a cocktail party in his room 906 at 7:00-8:00 p.m.
     Owing to bombing terrorism in International Settlement, no passes are being issued by our "Captors", but to compensate for it our "restricted" district in the French Settlement has been enlarged, temporarily, I'm told.

February 18, 1942.  Wednesday, 73rd Day.
     Cloudy.  Not cold.
     Saw a Japanese van bearing WAKAMOTO (a sort of yeast) sign, going east on Joffre, emitting machine music of sorts.  Pamphlets were scattered.  Am told they were propaganda re Japanese victories.  Populace seemed indifferent.
     News now is that Japanese are pressing on.  
     We apparently can walk around the French Concession unrestricted.

Friday, November 18, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 70 and 71.

Will Lynch hears that Singapore has fallen.  There is a lot of worry and concern among the hostages.   Roselyn

February 15, 1942.  Sunday.  70th Day.
     A bit warmer.  Sunny.  Most of snow melted.  
     Had a pass.  Went to Ballet Russe at Lyceum at 11:00 a.m., with Dr. A.M.  Then to chow at a "dump" called European Restaurant.  Chow was "working man" type.
     Then about 4:00 - 5:00 in my room.  Then for a long walk.
     I hear there have been more bombings on Nanking Road and am requested to "stay away" from there.  JBS says his pass was cancelled on account of it.
     Radio says Singapore capitulated this evening!  Ye Gods!
     Chinese New Year.  Chinese will celebrate about a week, as per usual.

February 16, 1942.  Monday.  71st Day.
     Warmer and sunny.
     Bad news about Singapore.  Wonder what the U.S.A. now thinks?  Our pacifists!  Gosh!
     Wonder what is the status of our repatriation.  Some of the gang, both British and Americans, say we are here "for the duration".
     Looks like the Allies will have to get busy.
     "Blue funk" here is thick.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 68 and 69.

Will Lynch is approached by a "strange" character trying to get back to America.  Roselyn

February 13, 1942.  Friday.  68th Day.
     Coldest so far.  Woke about 4:00 .m. and had to don a pair of "longies" and close window tight.  
     At breakfast the talk was chiefly by staff who have lost personal cars to Japs and how to get paid.
     On returning to my room, was met in the corridor by Dr. Erben, a naturalized strange character.  Said he wanted to "get back to U.S.A." on a Portuguese passport he could buy and wanted advice whether such might "queer" (give problems) to his American nationality.  I declined to advise, and JBS told Erben to register first at Room 927, Japanese liason office, before he, JBS, could talk with Erben on the subject.  It is a strange case, and I wonder what is Erben's real purpose.
     A.M. called in afternoon.  Darn.  News gets worse.

February 14, 1942.  Saturday.  69th Day.     
     St. Valentine's Day.  I got no Valentine.
     Snowed.  Good omen, per Chinese, as tomorrow is Chinese New Year, via lunar calendar.
     Cold, cloudy, overcast.  Hard on the beggars.  Many perish.
     Beat Mr. G. 3-2 at cribbage.  Beat Brookhart 2-0 at Rummy.
     Much conviviality at dinner tonight.  Had turkey.
     War news is bad.  What next?  Is it via the Russia of 20 years ago?  God forbid.
     Had roast turkey on tonight's menu.  (Games to pass time and food were important to the captives--Roselyn)

Monday, November 14, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 65, 66 and 67.

Will Lynch gathers bedding for destitute Americans in Shanghai.  Roselyn

February 10, 1942.  Tuesday.  65th Day.
     Cold.  Walked in morning and afternoon down Cardinal Mercier to Rue LaFayette, thence to east end of French Park and back, a total of about 2 1/2 miles.
     Am still reading "G.W." by R. Hughes.
     Beat JBS 2-0 in Rummy.
     No news re repatriation.  Japs claim their troops have landed on Singapore Island, and will ere long take Singapore.  If they do, it'll be bad for the Allies.
     German radio local broadcast claims they are winning in North Africa and Europe, but their claims are a bit too one-sided to my mind, to be all truth.

February 11, 1942.  Wednesday. 66th Day.
     Sunny but very cold.  My room is cold, and I have to keep on my overcoat.
     Walked out both morning and afternoon.  Beat Brookhart 3-0 in hard fought Rummy.
     Radio claims Singapore about to fall.  American dollar is quoted at 17.20, highest for some time.
     Shanghai American School (SAS) is being readied to care for destitute Americans.

February 12, 1942.  Thursday.  67th Day.
     Cold, sunny and nice--if warmly clad.  
     Got a pass, got some bedding from my gear in room 406 at Consulate, to wit:  3 blankets, 2 or 3 towels, 4 sheets, 3 or 4 pillow cases.  Brought them to Rte. Legendre, Passage 316, House 3, for A.M., a refugee.  
     Walked many miles.  Am tired.   War!  looks bad.  Apparently Singapore has fallen to the Japs.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 62, 63 and 64.

Will Lynch visits an American school that is making preparations to take in Americans who need a place to stay.  Picture of him was taken a couple of years before he became a diplomatic hostage in Shanghai, China.    Roselyn

Will Lynch ca 1939
Click on picture to enlarge

February 7, 1942.  Saturday.  62nd Day.
     Excellent Chinese chow at 4:00 p.m. at M. J's, 10 Petain.  Four femmes (females) and me.  I omitted chow at hotel at noon, and by 4:00 p.m., I was ready.  Ate my fill--plus.
     Visited American school near our host's house.  Preparations being made to take in Americans who are "up against it" against their agreement to pay later.
     Rainy and cold.

February 8, 1942.  Sunday.  63rd Day.
     Sun out a little in morning.  Saw Japs helping (looting) brothel of Akron O.--American--at foot of Cardinal Mercier, near LaFayette.  Weil was with me.  
     A bit cold.

February 9, 1942.  Monday.  64th Day.
     Nine weeks ago this morning began this fracas.  Japs claim to be winning everywhere.
     H. Smith in 812, "threw a party" 7:00-8:00 p.m.  Much demon liquor.
     Walked out in the "free zone", both morning and afternoon.
     I am to get bedding next Thursday at 10:30 a.m., from room 406 in Consulate for use at American School.  (It was opening for Americans needing a place to stay).  
     I am reading Ruper Hughes' "George Washington".  Very interesting.  Old George was a human and a bit of a sport.
     Talk of repatriation seems pessimistic.


Friday, November 11, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 60 and 61.

Will Lynch writes that they are given a little more freedom.  Is reading an interesting book about medical research.    Roselyn

February 5, 1942.  Thursday.   60th Day.
     Cold and sloppy.  Walked a bit.  Called  (??????-can't read).  
     Seems we can now go to Cathay Cinema without a pass.  Several today saw "Alamo of the South Seas", a la Dorothy Lamour.
     Lost cribbage today to Mr. Groves, but nearly missed skunking him one game.
     News?  American via KGEI would indicate Navy is active but local Domei (Jap) Havas (French-German controlled) and Transocean (German) show Axis powers are winning.  Corregidor still holds--so does Singapore.
     Am reading a most interesting book, "Microbe Hunters" by P. deKruif.  I have lots of reading time on my hands--more than my eyes can stand.

February 6, 1942.  Friday.   61st Day.
     Cold but no rain.   Cloudy.  No sun for many days.
     Walked about 2 miles or more today.
     Local radio and papers claim Japs and Germans are still winning but give hardly any news of what Allies are doing.
     Our "free zone" is now extended to two blocks more west on Joffre.
     Finished "Microbe Hunters".  A most interesting book.
     Turned in my census card today.  Seems a census of Shanghai is being taken.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 58 and 59

Will Lynch goes out on a pass to eat and see a movie.  Hears that they may have repatriation in the ocean outside of East Africa.  Not pleased.   Roselyn

February 3, 1942.  Tuesday.   58th Day.
     Very cold.  Bought a large bottle of Listerine for Chinese $22.50.  Had "liberty" today.  
     Sold binoculars for Chinese $250.00 (about US $14.00), and gave Langley Chinese $20.00 for putting the deal over.  Originally cost, in 1936, Chinese $70.00 or about US $21.00.  I can use the present money better than the binoculars.  They were not strong enough, to wit, 6 x 30   E. Leitz, plus leather case.
     Had Chinese chow at Sun Ya with A.M.  We'll likely have Chinese chow again next Sat. Feb 7th, at May James'. 
     Saw movie today at Nanking, "Father Takes A Wife". A. Menjou and Gloria Swanson, fair comedy.
     JBS won at Rummy 2-1.

February 4, 1942.  Wednesday.  69th Day.
     Cold and sloppy.
     Paper says arrangements for repatriation via Lourenco Marques, East Africa, progressing.  Some of the gang don't relish such a long trip and possibilities of being sunk, to say nothing of shark infested waters.  Ugh!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 56 and 57

Will Lynch and other Consular people are put in the top floors of another hotel.  Roselyn

February 1, 1942.  Sunday.   56th Day
     We're still (settled?).  British have 6,7 and 8th floors.  They have wives and babies.  Americans have 9th floor.  All of us are fed in one small dining room.  Some eight of us Americans have put 3 or 4 tables together and dine "a la gang" (meaning together).
     Met two British gals today.  Seem to be governesses--and an affable sort.  
     We have a free zone of several blocks, including French Park, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Otherwise, must get a pass, applying a day in advance.
     Food is better here at Cathay Mansions than at Metropole Hotel.  Dining room is on the 11th floor.

February 2, 1942.  Monday.  57th Day.
     Walked this a.m., alone for an hour, and in p.m. with Brookhart in the "free zone".  Drizzily this morning.  Beat Brookhart badly at Rummy in afternoon--much to his chagrin.
     Am going out on a "pass" tomorrow.
     Colder.  Lots of beggars perish on the streets.
     Papers say Marine, formerly at Peking and Tientsin, are to arrive shortly.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

WR Lynch WW II Diary re Japanese Take-Over in Shanghai China. Days 54 and 55

As you can see, Will Lynch was an avid game player and was not a gracious winner!  He spends time packing for the move to another hotel the next day.   Roselyn

January 30, 1942.  Friday.   54th Day
     Sloppy out, but streets dried by night.  
     Beat Mr. Groves 4 straight at cribbage.  Three were "skunks".  One was 3 holes short of a "double skunk".
     Move tomorrow to Cathay Mansions.  Packing tonight.  Dambdest job.
     Finished packing about 12:00 midnight.  Shaved.  No hot water.  Heard Customs clock strike 2:00 a.m.
     Set my Baby Ben for 6:50 a.m.   ( From Roselyn--Baby Ben was a small alarm clock.  I took one to college with me and still have it).

January 31, 1942.  Saturday.  55th Day
     Alarm clock alarmed as per 6:50 a.m.  
     Baggage smashers called 8:00 a.m. and got my nine pieces of baggage.
     I had tiffin (luncheon) at Metropole and with 2 Consular Japs and 4 or 5 others of U.S.A.
     Consulate came by crowded French bus to Cathy Mansions and arrived about 3:00 p. m.  My room is 903, too small.  Stanton says he thinks he can arrange to change to 605, a much nicer room.  I'll inspect first.
     A.M. called.  
     Inspected 605, but it seems to be occupied.
     Opened a can of Chesterfields, 50s.  (Cigarettes?).  I'd had for over 2 years.  Were in good condition.
     Registered at hotel desk and filled in several cards.  Required to show my occupation.  So I put down "diplomat".