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A Lynch Family History
Alan T. “Al” Burr
The information in this book is intended for the private use of those doing family research and is not to be used for commercial purposes. Reproduction of this material for profit is strictly forbidden.
Table of Contents
Until I started doing research for this book, I never realized that there are so many Lynch families across America. Some of the families are related, some are not, and the rest are not sure. This book focuses on the family of my grandfather, Norman Clark Lynch, and his ancestors.
Like other genealogical studies, it strives to document family lineages as accurately and objectively as possible. Sometimes there are public documents such as wills, census reports, etc. that can be used to prove relationships with little doubt. Unfortunately, in some cases, there is little evidence, leading to subjectivity on the part of the researcher. My approach in this writing is simply to state the facts as I know them and to tell the reader how I formed my conclusions. Other researchers may have different opinions and they are certainly welcome to them.
To the extent possible, this book is based on records from the circuit court, county court, chancery court, census reports, deeds, wills, marriage certificates, death certificates, and other documents in the public domain. In cases where I have relied solely on the word of others, I so state.
Like most genealogical studies, I started my research with the current generation and worked backwards. However, presenting the information in that sequence is awkward and more confusing to the reader so I chose to present the material in chronological order.
Several times throughout this book, I caution the reader that many names were repeated over the years, which makes tracing lineages very confusing. Because of this, I have presented a summary at the end of the book which should help to put things in perspective. If at any time you lose track of the lineage path because of the amount of detail presented, it might be helpful to look ahead at the summary to get back on track.
Many of the given names of the Lynch ancestors were spelled inconsistently over the years. Quite often, this was brought about by the person recording the name, not the person supplying the data. When referencing a name from a document, I tried to spell it as it appeared in the document. Otherwise, I tried to spell it in the manner that the evidence best supports. No doubt, there are cases where I did not follow my own rules.
Our story starts with William Lynch who was born around 1752 in Brunswick County, Virginia. Some researchers state that his father was also named William and that his grandfather was named John. I am just taking their word for that because I was not able to find enough supporting data to either prove or disprove this with certainty. There were many Lynch men named William and John and it is difficult to sort them out that far back. As you will see, there were also many other names that were repeated many times over the years as well. At the risk of getting ahead of myself, some of their names were Gray, Grief, Anselm, Jarrett, and Adin. Each of these names also has numerous variant spellings such as Grey, Anslem, Jarett, and Aden and little, if any, significance should be paid to the different spellings. My only reason for mentioning their names now is to alert the reader to pay very close attention.
The 1810 census for Brunswick County, Virginia listed several Lynch families. I have numbered them on the census excerpt above to make them easier to spot. They are somewhat hard to read, but in order of the numbers they are William, Aden, Syon, and Syrach. Unfortunately, the early census reports only listed heads of household and summary information about the ages of the other household members. The only information that can be gleaned from the 1810 census is that William was age 45 or over and that Aden, Syon, and Syrach were somewhere between 26 and 44 years old. As you will read a little later, Aden, Syon, and Syrach were sons of William.
In 1827, the Virginia General Assembly passed an act exempting William Lynch, Senior from paying taxes. The act read:
it is represented to the General Assembly that William
Lynch, Senior of the County of Brunswick, is the father of
Thirty-four legitimate children, of whom twenty-seven are now
living; that he has been the husband of four wives, the last
of whom is now young and healthy and gives him every assurance
of an increase of his numerous progeny; that he was a soldier
in the War of Rebellion and has been through life and upright
and useful citizen, but that age and the support of his numerous
family have at last rendered him infirm and poor:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY that William Lynch of the
County of Brunswick, shall be hereafter exempt from the payment
of any public or county tax, levy, charge or contribution
whatsoever and it shall not be lawful for any court, sheriff,
deputy sheriff, coroner or other public official within this
Commonwealth to demand or receive of the said Lynch any such
tax, levy, charge or contribution. This act shall be in force
from and after passage thereof.
The role that William played in the Revolutionary War is uncertain. Although the Daughters of the American Revolution list him as a patriot, there is little or no written evidence of his service. He apparently traded with the Revolutionary forces and was a sympathizer. In 1781, he sold some beef to the forces. A receipt which appears in the Exhibits (Courtesy of Roy Lynch, Jr.) reads “Brunswick Co. I do hereby certify that I have received of Wm. Linch [or Lintch] one beef I judged to weigh two hundred and fifty pounds including the fifth quarter. given under my hand this twenty ninth day of October 1781 Chas [Charles] Edmund”. On the bottom toward the middle of the receipt, the notation “£9-2-6” appears. This is a convention used for displaying English currency and it means 9 pounds, 2 shillings, and 6 pence. Based on some currency conversion rates that I have seen during that approximate time period, that would equate to $ 22.81.
William died in 1837 and left a will. I tried my best to transcribe it verbatim but as in the case of most old handwritten documents, there are always a few words that are difficult to discern. In these cases, I offer alternate choices in brackets [ ] to alert the reader of my uncertainty. Occasionally, I also use brackets to clarify or explain items. This convention is used throughout this book on transcribed material. My transcription follows:
the name of God Amen, I William Lynch of the County Of Brunswick
And State of Virginia, being in my perfect senses and memory, and
believeth all mankind are born to die, think proper to dispose of my
worldly estate in manner and form as follows:
To wit: First I desire that all my just and lawful debts and funeral
expenses to be paid out of my estate and the balance I give and
bequeath in the following manner (viz) I give to my wife Eliza Lynch
one cow and calf called fillpail and one womans saddle to dispose off
as she may think proper. Second I give to Laxton Lynch one dollar,
Third I give to Clack Lynch one dollar. Fourth, I give to Jarrat
Lynch one dollar. Fifth, I give to Grief Lynch one dollar, Sixth, I
give to Gray Lynch one dollar. Seventh, I give to Molly H. Lynch one
dollar, Eight, I give to Meredith Lynch one dollar. Ninth, I give to
Edlaw Lynch one dollar. Tenth, I give to Gilbert Lynch one dollar.
Eleventh, I give to Asbury [or Asberry] Lynch one dollar. Twelth, I give to the
heirs of Syrach Lynch one dollar. Thirteenth, I give to Benjamin W.
Lynch twenty dollars. [Item fourteen was omitted] Fifteenth, I give to James H. Lynch twenty dollars. I give the above sums to the aforementioned children to
them and their heirs forever. I give to my Granddaughter Jincey A.
H. Lynch the bed and furniture on which I lie to her and her heirs
forever. Sixteenth, I desire that all my plantations and land to be
equally divided between Lemuel Lynch, Joseph A. Lynch, Benjamin W.
Lynch and James H. Lynch to them and their heirs forever. Seventeenth,
I give to Rachel Lynch one dollar to her and her heirs forever,
Eighteenth, all the balance of my estate I give to the following
named children (that is to say) Adin Lynch, Sion Lynch, Winey Wray,
Chancy Lynch, Aggy B. Whitly and Nancy C. Wright, I give the same to
them and their heirs forever. I do appoint my son Adin Lynch and my
Grandson James C. Lynch executors of this my last will and testament
revoking all others by me heretofore made. In witness whereof I
hereunto set my hand and seal this first day of January in the year
of our Lord 1833.
X his mark
The will was probated in the Brunswick County, Virginia court in the August Term of 1837. A copy of the original is provided in Exhibit 1. I obtained a copy from the Library of Virginia.
By the time of William’s death, many of his children had already moved out of Virginia and it is doubtful whether they ever received their share of the inheritance. According to research by Roy Lynch, Laxton moved to Rutherford County, North Carolina around 1800 and married Elizabeth Richardson on January 1, 1804. They remained in Rutherford County where they raised a family and lived the rest of their lives. Laxton died on September 18, 1856, and was buried in the Rock Springs Baptist Church Cemetery. Roy is a descendant of Laxton and generously shared this information with me.
Several of William’s children migrated to other states including Georgia. Census reports, marriage records and other documents establish the presence of Jarrett, Gray, Grief, and others in Georgia in the early 1800’s. Although I have presented some biographical information on Jarrett and Grief as well, the brother that we will eventually focus on is Gray Lynch, the lineal ancestor of my grandfather, Norman Clark Lynch.
Georgia marriage records indicate the marriage of Jarrett Lynch (spelled Geraret in that document) to Sarah Thomas in 1807 in Hancock County. An excerpt of that document appears above. (Courtesy of the Georgia Archives)
Census reports for 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1850 listed Jarrett (variously spelled as Jarriott, Jarrot, and other variants) still living in Georgia. Let me point out once again that many given names were repeated throughout the years. Many readers are probably aware that Norman Lynch’s father (my great-grandfather) was named Jarrett and are perhaps puzzled about his age. This is not the same Jarrett. Gray had numerous relatives named Jarrett including a brother, a son, a grandson, and a nephew. The person named Jarrett who moved to Georgia was Gray’s brother. Norman’s father was the grandson of Gray Lynch. Hopefully, all (or at least some) of this will make sense later.
The 1850 census was the first to list information on all of the family members in each household. As you can see from the census excerpt below for Jasper County, Georgia, Jarrett was born around 1780 since he was 70 years old in 1850. Note also that his birthplace was in Virginia. Some researchers say that the son listed as Grief was more correctly named Jarrett Grief.
Jarrett also appeared in the 1860 Jasper County census. Note from the excerpt above that two young ladies named Elizabeth and Emily lived with Jarrett and Sarah. Since they were not listed in the household in 1850, it appears that they were not his daughters. This census was the last that Jarrett appeared in. He is reported to have died on June 26, 1864, during the turmoil of the Civil War.
Jarrett’s son, Grief, lived until 1890. Photos of Jarrett and his son Grief appear in Exhibit 2.
Grief Lynch (Jarrett’s brother) was born on June 21, 1786. A survey of cemetery markers that I found listed his birth year as 1776 but that conflicts with data in several census reports. The excerpt from the 1850 census below shows that he was age 64 which would clearly indicate that he was born in 1786. Note from the census that he was born in Virginia and that the census listed him as Grief Lynch Sen (Senior). At the time of the census, he was living in Jasper County. His wife, Nancy was apparently much younger than Grief. The various census reports were inconsistent about her exact age but it is clear that she was much younger. Note from the census excerpt above that a man named Jones H. Lynch lived in Grief’s household. Since his age (22) was listed out of sequence, I assume that he was not a child of Grief. In the next chapter, you will see that Gray also had a son named Jones H. Their birth years are very different so there is no chance that they were the same person.
An interesting document that I found showed that a Grief Lynch filed a claim against the government after the Civil War for items taken during the war. As with Jarrett, there were several persons with the same name. As a bit of review, Gray had brothers named Grief and Jarrett and Gray’s brother Jarrett had a son named Jarrett Grief who also went by the name of Grief. To add to the confusion (as if it needed to be confused more), the older Grief also had a son named Grief and a son named Jarrett. Although not conclusive, it is my opinion that the person who filed the claim was the older Grief who was a brother to Gray and Jarrett. This is based in part on the fact that one of the witnesses to the claim was Joel McDowell, a neighbor of the older Grief.
A photo of Grief appears in the Exhibits. This photo is presented courtesy of Roy G. Lynch, Jr., a descendant of Laxton Lynch. Laxton, as you may recall from William’s will, was a brother of Grief, Jarrett, and Gray.
My transcription of Grief’s claim follows:
Georgia, Jasper County – To the Honorable Commissioner of Claims under act of March 3rd, 1871.
The petitioner Grief Lynch [Sr. ?] respectfully represents that he is a citizen of the State of Georgia and the county of Jasper; That he remained a loyal adherent to the cause and government of the United States during the last war and was so - loyal before and at the time of the taking the property for which this claim is made; That his post office address is Monticello, Jasper County Georgia, and at the time this claim accrued he was a resident of said state and county and that he [presents ?] this claim in his own cause and for his own use and benefit. Your petitioner further [argues ?] that on or about the 19th day of December in the year A.D. 1864, certain soldiers belonging to the army of General Sherman while on their march from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia – Their names, rank, companies, and regiments not known, acting as petitioner supposes, under a general order of the commanding General – Sherman did take from the premises of your petitioner in said county the property described in the following account against the United States – which said property the said army took to their camps and then to parts unknown, but the same as your petitioner believes was used and consumed as supplies for said United States Army purposes. Petitioner further [avows ?] that the said United States soldiers did not pay your petitioner for said property or any part thereof or gave him or any person for him any receipt or voucher for the same. Your petitioner has never received any payment or compensation in any manner or from any source for any part thereof and that this claim has never before been presented for payment to any officer, agent, or department of the Government or to any committee of the United States Congress. Wherefore petitioner prays that his said claim be allowed him.
Another document listed the properties that Grief claimed were taken. They included two matched gray mules valued at $ 200 each, a ginnett (probably a jennet which is a female donkey) valued at $ 100, one saddle at $ 15, three bridles at $ 1 each, and a bed quilt priced at $ 5. Two witnesses, Joel C. McDowell and Stephen H. Johnson, signed the document in attest to the loyalty of Grief and to the facts stated in the petition. Grief also gave a statement that stated that he never served in the Confederate Army or Navy and that he never voluntarily supplied any aid or support to the Confederacy.
The older Grief lived a long life and was apparently pretty spry. In 1880, the census for Jasper County, Georgia listed his age as 94. According to the census, he had a number of children including a seventeen year old son named Charlie. Grief died on April 8, 1886, and was buried in the Concord Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Monticello, Georgia. His death date was taken from a survey of cemetery transcriptions in Jasper County. This survey showed that he was born on June 21, 1776, which as I have already pointed out was incorrect according to census reports.
Gray Lynch was married to Nancy Thomas in 1810 in Hancock County. An excerpt of that document appears in the Exhibits (Courtesy of the Georgia Archives). I have a hunch that Sarah (Jarrett’s wife) and Nancy Thomas were probably sisters but I was not able to prove that.
Other than the marriage record, I was not able to find any Georgia documents pertaining to Gray. As you will see in the next chapter, he did not remain in Georgia with Jarrett and Grief.
Many of the Lynch families and their descendants remained in Georgia but some of them moved to other places including Tennessee. The person of the most interest in this chapter is Gray Lynch because he was a direct ancestor of the Norman Lynch family. Gray was born on April 13, 1788, as determined by his grave marker.
I was not able to determine exactly when Gray left Georgia but records of Bedford County, Tennessee establish his presence in Bedford County in 1823. An interesting bill of sale documents his purchase of a slave there in 1823. The document appears in Exhibit 3 and my transcription of it follows:
Berkett S. Jett to Gray Linch Bill Sales
Know all men by these presents that I Berkett S. Jett for and in consideration of four hundred and fifty dollars have this day bargained sold and delivered to Gray Linch a Negro girl named Maria aged about fifteen years and I do warrant and defend the title to the said girl Maria against the claims of all persons whatever and I do further warrant her to be healthy and sound.. Witnessed my hand and seal this 22nd day of December, 1823.
Berkett S. Jett
Note that Gray’s last name was spelled “Linch” rather than “Lynch”. The different spellings were used interchangeably through the years. During his final years, Gray seemed to prefer the Linch spelling and his grave marker bears that spelling.
Gray sold some land in Bedford County to Elijah Dyers on December 16, 1823. My transcription of the first part of the deed follows:
Gray Linch to Elijah Dyers
This indenture made this 16th day of December, eighteen hundred and twenty three between Gray Linch & Elijah Dyers Both of the county of Bedford & state of Tennessee. Witnesseth, that the said Linch for and in consideration of the sum of one thousand and fifty dollars to him in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath granted bargained & sold and conferred unto the said Elijah Dyers his heirs and assigns forever a certain tract or parcel of land situated in the county of Bedford and [?] waters of the Wartrace fork of Duck river being part of a 200 acre tract that the said Linch bought of Peter Carson [or Garson] the said land being conveyed by said Linch to said Dyers which tract beginning on a beech at the creek as David Thomas North boundary line running east one hundred poles to a cherry tree thence North 16 poles along galbreathe line to a Bush then along E.A. Manly line 65 poles to a [?] [?] Creek thence down the [?] of the Creek to the beginning as to contain [?] acres more or less with all rights …
The remainder of the deed was very difficult to read but only contained the standard language about defending the title, etc.
On August 23, 1836, Gray purchased 15 acres of land from Malcom and Daniel Gilchrist for the sum of $ 60. The land was situated “on the waters of the War trace fork of Duck river” in Bedford County, Tennessee. Unfortunately, the legal description of the property was not described in lasting terms so the exact location is undeterminable. One of the reference points described in the deed is “thence north sixty eight poles to a hickory and elm sapling that intersect each other at the root”. The Gilchrists were living in Lawrence County, Alabama at the time of the sale.
Samuel Clay deeded 36 acres of land to Gray on February 18, 1837. The land was apparently nearby or contiguous to Gray’s other property “upon the waters of the War trace fork of the Duck River”. Interestingly, the consideration (purchase price) mentioned in the deed was one dollar and the deed was a quitclaim rather than a warranty deed. The property was one half of a tract of land “Granted by the State of Tennessee to Samuel Clay”.
Robert H. Majors purchased one acre of land from Gray on October 3, 1837, for $ 12. The land was also situated “lying on the War trace fork of Duck River” and according to the deed, it was a “certain tract or piece of land, it being a small piece or part of the tract of land that said Linch bought of Samuel Clay”.
Although I was never able to prove it, I have a hunch that Gray and the Majors family had some tie. They were neighbors and that could have been the only connection but I suspect otherwise. There were several members of the Majors family named Robert and the older Robert served in the Revolutionary War. According to a pension application that he filed for his war service, he moved to Bedford County in 1806 from North Carolina. One of the witnesses to his pension application papers was Samuel Clay, the person who deeded land to Gray in 1837. Robert is buried in the Lynch family section of Old Salem Cemetery which is one of the things that aroused my curiosity.
Gray’s name appears in many court documents and other public records in Bedford County. Over the years, he apparently amassed considerable land and wealth. An 1838 Bedford County tax list for civil district number four showed that Gray owned 627 acres valued at $ 6700 in that year. Also listed on the form were William, Aden, Anslem, Roberson, and A.L. Linch. The person named Roberson was variously identified as Robertson or Robinson H. in later documents.
In 1839, the tax report listed Gray along with Andrew L., Robertson H., Anslem, and William (see Exhibit 4). Gray’s land had increased to 737 acres that year.
Apparently, Anslem did not fare as well financially as Gray and some of the others. I ran across an 1839 document in which he was pledging some of his personal property to cover debts. I have included the document in Exhibit 5 and my transcription follows:
Anslem Lynch to A.H. White & John M. Sehorn Deed In Trust
Know all men by these presents, that I have this day sold and conveyed unto A.H. White and John M. Sehorne – formerly merchants trading under the title and firm of White and Sehorn the following property, that is nine head of hogs, four chairs, four bed covers consisting of quilts and counterpins, one oven, one trunk, all of which I hereby sell and convey to the said White and Sehorn, their heirs and assigns. The conditions of the above sale are these Whereas I am owing the said White & Sehorn, twelve dollars and 50, and five dollars and 50 cents to White & Clark now due and on interest – now if the said debts are unpaid or any part thereof on the 25th day of December next – why then and in that case the said White & Sehorn are to advertise said property ten days and sell the same to the highest bidder for cash in hand at A.H. White’s store in this county, and if I attempt to sell or remove said property out of the County at any time before the 25th of December next – Why then the said White and Sehorn are at liberty to take possession of said property and sell the same forthwith at A.H. White’s store – But if the said debts are paid off on or before the 25th of December 1839 why then these obligations to be void. In witness whereof I have affixed my hand and seal this 22nd April 1839 – Bedford County State of Tennessee.
Robert H. Majors}
Gray Lynch } State of Tennessee Bedford County
Personally appeared before me William D. Orr clerk of the county court of Bedford County Robert H. Majors & Gray Lynch the subscribing witnesses to the within named deed in Trust who being listed herein, depose and say that they are acquainted with Anslem Lynch the bargainer and that he acknowledged the same in their presence to be his act and deed on the day therein dated. Witness my hand at office this 22nd April 1839.
Wlliam D. Orr Clk
The census taken in Bedford County in 1840 listed Gray, Robertson, and William Linch as heads of household. Gray’s household consisted of two males under five years old, two between ten and fifteen, two between fifteen and twenty, one between twenty and thirty, one between fifty and sixty (Gray), and one female between twenty and thirty (his wife).
Curiously, the census of that year also listed a female head of household living nearby named Ruhama Linch who was between 20 and 30 years of age. Two male children, both under 10 lived with her. Her next door neighbor was Thomas Rushing who was between 50 and 60 years of age. Evidence presented later is pretty convincing that Ruhama was the daughter of Thomas Rushing and that she was the husband of Anslem Lynch, a son of Gray. Some census reports also refer to her as Rella, and other nicknames. The whereabouts of Anslem during the time of the 1840 census is a mystery to me.
As I have pointed out earlier, the census report of 1850 was the first to list the names of all household members, along with their age and place of birth. Earlier reports only listed the heads of household and summary information about the other occupants. In civil district number four, the 1850 census listed households headed by Robertson H., J.M., William, Gray, Lewis, Garett (Jarett), and Anslem. (See Exhibit 6 for a copy.) Once again, I will caution the reader that this Jarett is not the father of Norman Lynch.
The census reports were not consistent about the birthplace of Robinson (Robertson) H. but one indicated that he was born in Virginia. I believe this to be true and a Bedford County court document that I found proved that he had ties to Brunswick County, Virginia. The document read:
This day a Power of Attorney bearing date the third day of March 1851, Executed by Robinson H. Lynch to John S. Harris of Brunswick County in the State of Virginia, was produced in open Court and the execution thereof duly acknowledged in open Court by the said Robinson H. Lynch, the maker thereof. Whereupon the Court ordered that the same be so certified by the clerk under the seal of office.
A number of researchers believe that Robinson was the son of Adin (Aden) Lynch who was a brother of Gray. The Aden listed in the 1838 tax document for Bedford County, however, was not Gray’s brother and was likely one of Gray’s sons. A later chapter tells more about Aden, the son of Gray.
Robinson’s name appeared in several court documents in Bedford County. On March 21, 1846, he deeded eight acres of land to Gray Lynch to secure the payment of some debts. No legal description was given of the land. It was simply described as “…one lot of land whereon I now live containing about eight acres …”.
A document from the county court showed that in the November Term in 1850 one of the court actions taken was against Robinson. It read “Ordered by the Court that Robinson H. Lynch be fined the sum of two dollars and fifty cents, for interrupting the Court by loud talking in the Courthouse”.
The 1850 census showed that Robinson was 40 years old which means that he was born around 1810. At first glance, his age looks like 60 on the census report but if you look closely it is actually 40 and later reports confirm this. His wife was named Tabitha and she was born in Virginia. Note from the census excerpt that Robinson was also born in Virginia and that he was a shoemaker by trade.
Robinson last appeared in the 1860 census. Some of his children’s names were listed a little differently than in the previous census, which offered a little insight into their full names. The child listed as James K. Polk in 1850 was apparently named James Knox Polk and George M. was named George Monroe.
In 1870, the census for Texas County, Missouri listed a household headed by Tabitha Lynch. Her name, age, and birthplace matched that of Robinson’s wife. This was also confirmed by the name of two of the children who were listed in the 1860 census, Margaret and Rufus. The 1870 census also listed a three year old daughter named Adia who lived with Tabitha and the other children. Based on this information, it appears that Robinson probably died around 1866 or 1867.
As indicated by the census excerpt below, Gray had several children living in his household in 1850. His wife at that time was named Lebinda. Several undocumented sources state that Lebinda was his fourth wife. In addition to Nancy Thomas, Gray also had a wife named Frankie Dyer and another named Louisa Bowling prior to his marriage with Lebinda. In a later chapter, you will see that the death certificate of one of Gray’s sons listed his mother’s maiden name as Sallie Bollin. I assume that Louisa Bowling and Sallie Bollin was the same person. As you can see from the census data, Lebinda was considerably younger than Gray. Other evidence presented later indicates that her maiden name was Austin. (See Exhibit 7 for a photo of Gray and Lebinda)
Note also from the census excerpt that Gray had a son named Smith B. Although I was not able to figure it out, I suspect that he was named for another Smith Bolin (also spelled Bowlin or Bowling). There was a person of that name who lived in the same district as Gray. According to the 1850 census, Smith was born in Virginia around 1815. He was a doctor and apparently a prominent person in the community. As I mentioned earlier, many researchers state that one of Gray’s wives was Louisa Bowling. Several undocumented sources state that she was the daughter of Smith Bowling. By undocumented, I mean that the researcher did not indicate how he/she came to that conclusion. It would seem unlikely that her father could have been the same Smith Bowling who was born in 1815. However, there was definitely some connection because Gray’s son Anslem also named one of his sons Smith B.
In 1850, the census had a separate schedule to list slaves by owner. At that time, Gray had eight slaves. The census did not list any other Lynch as a slave owner in Bedford County in 1850.
William, J.M. (Joseph Madison according to some sources), Lewis, Jarett, and Anslem who appeared in the 1850 census in the nearby vicinity of Gray are also believed to be some of Gray’s children. This is based in part on circumstantial evidence such as proximity of households, birthplaces, etc. However, as you will read later William, Lewis, and Anslem contested Gray’s will after his death. It would appear that they would have lacked legal standing to do so unless they were his children. Jarett died before Gray so that would explain why he did not contest as well. I am uncertain about the exact date of Jarett’s death but in the court case of Standridge Thomas vs. William Lynch & Sarah Lynch on March 2, 1858, the court document stated in part “…and it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that Jarrett Lynch is dead, that he died intestate & that Standridge Thomas has been appointed his administrator ...” .
Jarrett (Gray’s son) had a wife named Sarah and a young son named Lilbourn (or something similar) in 1850. According to some other researchers, Jarrett and Sarah later had another son named Eagleton who was born around 1854. I am taking their word for that but I believe it to be true. A little later, I will present more information about Eagleton.
Gray also had a son named Jones H. who was born in 1842. He was not listed in Gray’s household as Jones in either the 1850 or 1860 census. In 1850, a son named John H. Harrison who was around the correct age for Jones was listed. The 1860 census listed a son named James who was the correct age for Jones. It seems to appear that John H. Harrison, James, and Jones H. were probably the same person.
Unquestionably, Jones H. was Gray’s son. I located his death certificate and it showed that he was born on November 13, 1842, in Tennessee. His father was listed as Gray Linch and his mother’s maiden name was listed as Sallie Bollin. (See Exhibit 8)
In 1870, Jones and his wife Edna were Gray’s neighbors. According to information on Edna’s death certificate, she was born in Tennessee on November 5, 1845. Her father was William Sharp and her mother’s maiden name was Sarah N. Finch.
Although the fact that Jones was a son of Gray has been proven without a doubt, a later chapter of this book titled “The Lynches in the Civil War” underscores this as well. Information is also presented in that chapter which proves that Anselm was a son of Gray.
Sometime between 1870 and 1880, Jones and Edna moved to Texas. The 1880 census showed that they lived in District 78 in Hill County, Texas. A nephew named Eagleton also lived with them. Earlier, I stated that a child named Eagleton was believed to have been born to Sarah and Jarrett. This particular Jarrett was a son of Gray and a brother to Jones. Since the census showed that Eagleton was a nephew of Jones, he was definitely the child of a brother of Jones. By process of elimination, Eagleton appears to have been a child of Jarrett (the Jarrett who was Gray’s son) because none of the 1860 census reports showed a child by the name of Eagleton in the household of the other brothers.
In 1900, Jones and his wife Edna E. lived in Alvarado in Johnson County, Texas. The census for that year was a little more specific. As noted from the excerpt above, Jones was born in November of 1842 and Edna was born in November of 1845. This is consistent with the information in their death certificates. A later chapter titled “The Lynches in the Civil War” tells more about Jones.
Gray’s daughters, especially those born before 1850, are much harder to establish and trace than his sons. This is stating the obvious, but the reason is that they lost the Linch/Lynch name when they married. Several researchers state that one daughter married Robert D. Rankin. I had already strongly suspected the tie because of circumstantial evidence. Robert was a neighbor of Gray, Robert’s wife Matilda was born in Georgia around 1817, and numerous legal documents indicated some type of connection between Gray and Robert. The first daughter of Robert and Matilda was named Nancy – the name of Gray’s first wife.
Note also from the 1850 census excerpt above that Robert and Matilda had two sons, David G. and William Thomas. I was able to locate the death certificate for William Thomas (see Exhibit 9) and it indicated that his mother’s maiden name was Matilda Lynch. This information, along with the other evidence builds a good case that Matilda was indeed Gray’s daughter. More information about David and William is documented in the later chapter titled “The Lynches in the Civil War”. As you will see, David’s middle name was Gray which also reinforces the theory that Matilda was Gray’s daughter.
Robert appeared to be a wealthy planter. The 1850 census reported that he had property valued at $ 7000 and that he owned seven slaves. Gray sold land to him at least twice. In 1841, Gray sold 100 acres to him for $ 1000 and in 1846 he sold 82 acres to him for the sum of twelve hundred thirty seven dollars and fifty cents ($1237.50).
In 1860, Robert and his family were next door neighbors to Gray in district 4 of Bedford County. At the time of the census in 1860 they had ten children listed in their household. Since the previous census, two daughters, Malinda and Virginia had been born. Two sons, Fenis and Porter had also been born. The spelling of Fenis was somewhat ambiguous in the census reports and it could have been Finis or Fines.
By the time of the census in 1870, Robert and his family seemed to be doing well, especially considering the turmoil that had taken place during the Civil War. According to the census, Robert’s real estate was valued at $ 35,000 and his personal property was worth $ 8,000. Note also from the census excerpt above that his household included a domestic cook and a house servant. My guess is that they were former slaves who stayed on after the Civil War.
Thomas Rankin, who was listed near the bottom of the excerpt was apparently the son named William Thomas. The fact that he was not listed in chronological order with the other children was most likely due to the fact that he was considered a separate head of household. My guess is that Oma was his wife but that is speculation on my part.
I do not know how long Robert and Matilda lived. The 1880 census still listed them in district 4. They apparently lived with the son who had the peculiar name of Finis or something similar.
Returning to Gray’s other children, William appeared to be Gray’s oldest son. The 1850 census showed that he was born in Georgia in 1811, one year after Gray’s marriage to Nancy Thomas. As indicated by the excerpt on the right, no wife was listed for William in the 1850 census. Although there is some conflicting information, it appears that William’s wife had died before the census was taken in September of 1850. A separate census schedule was used to list persons who died during the fiscal year of the census. A woman named Susanah Lynch and a seven year old child named Nancy Tho (Thomas) Lynch both died of typhoid fever in September. It could all be coincidence but the fact that William did not have a wife and the fact that the deceased child had his mother’s maiden name makes a good circumstantial case that Susanah was his wife. The conflicting information that I mentioned earlier was in a survey of Old Salem Cemetery that was taken in 1938. On of the transcriptions was “In memory of Susannah C. Linch, consort of Wm. Linch, born June 18, 1823, and departed this life September 23, 1842”. Either the transcription of the death year was incorrect or the marker was incorrect or my theory is incorrect.
I found evidence in another cemetery survey that my theory was indeed correct. The survey showed the transcription of a marker in the Old Salem Cemetery that read “In memory of Nancy T. Linch, daughter of William and Susannah C. Linch Born January 29, 1842 and departed this life September 23, 1849. Apparently, Susannah and her daughter Nancy died on the same day and as I suspected, either the cemetery survey or the markers are wrong.
The whereabouts of William after 1850 are somewhat ambiguous to me. In 1860, the census of Cannon County, Tennessee listed a William Lynch who appeared to be the same person. His age, birthplace (Georgia), and name and ages of his children are consistent with the other William. His wife was listed as Belinda although some other researchers say that her name was Melinda.
There is a William Linch who is buried in the Old Salem Cemetery in Bell Buckle in Bedford County who appears to be the William who was Gray’s son. According to his grave marker, he was born on May 13, 1811 and died on January 19, 1874. His marker bears the Masonic symbol so apparently he was a Mason. The later chapter titled “A Visit to Bell Buckle” has a photo of his marker.
Joseph M. Lynch , another son of Gray, was born around 1825 according to the information in the census of 1850. His occupation was listed as a blacksmith in that report but later reports indicated that he was a farmer. His wife was listed as Letha J. in the 1850 report but the next report listed her as Thalitha.
In 1860, Joseph was the next door neighbor to Lewis Lynch. As indicated by the census excerpt, three additional children had been born since the previous report. The census information showed that Joseph and Thalita were born in Tennessee.
The census of 1870 did not list Joseph, at least in the vicinity of where he had lived previously. However, it did list a head of household named Alethia J. Lynch who lived between Lewis and Anselm. Some sources say that Joseph died around 1874. If so, it is a mystery as to his whereabouts in 1870.
To underscore my earlier comment about the number of Anslem Lynches, in 1850 there were at least three different men in various states named Anslem (or Anselm) Lynch and all of them had roots in Virginia. The first (in no particular order), Anselm H. lived in Campbell County, Virginia and was born around 1823 in Virginia. The second lived in Hinds County, Mississippi and was born around 1799 in Virginia. The third lived in Bedford County, Tennessee and was born around 1815 in Georgia; however, his father, Gray Lynch was born in Virginia.
Of most importance to us is the last
mentioned Anslem who was Gray’s son. At the time of the 1850 census, Anslem and
his wife Rella (known by other names as well) had seven children living with
Their names were William, Gray Jr., James, John Thomas, Matilda, Garrett (Jarett), and Smith. In order, their ages were 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, 6, and 5 months. As a bit of explanation for Gray Jr., it was typical in those times to use the Jr. designation to distinguish between another nearby living relative of the same name.
Sometime after 1850, Anselm and his family moved to Kentucky for a while. Kentucky birth records show that a daughter named Elizabeth was born to Anselm and Ruhama on April 29, 1852. An excerpt of that document appears below. Ruhama’s maiden name was listed as Rushing on the birth information which pretty much rules out the possibility of this being another couple coincidentally having the same names. The place of birth and residence of the parents was listed as Livingston.
According to Kentucky death records, a one year old child name Elizabeth Lynch died on March 22, 1853, in Caldwell County of hooping cough. The parents were simply listed as A. & B. Lynch. My hunch is that the B. was a clerical error or misunderstanding of her name and that the parents were Anselm and Ruhama. Elizabeth never appeared on later census reports which tends to reinforce the theory that she died in 1853.
On April 15, 1855, a son named Henry was born to Anselm and Ruhama. His place of birth was listed as Caldwell (County) but the place of residence of his parents was listed as Crittenden. The birth of Henry was the last evidence that I found of Anselm and his family living in Kentucky. In 1860, the census of Bedford County, Tennessee showed that they had returned back to there. I was not able to determine their motive for moving to Kentucky and then back to Tennessee.
Anslem Lynch and his wife had six children living in their household in 1860 when the census was taken. His name was spelled Ansalim in that document and his wife was listed as Renny. Various documents have shown her name to be Ruhama, Rella, and other variants. Their children were named Grey, James, Metil (Metilda), Jarett, Thursey, and Dactel. Note that Smith B. and Henry (the son born in Kentucky) do not appear in this census. It is possible that Thursey and Dactel were nicknames for those two but there are many other possibilities as well. The census taker listed Thursey and Dactel as female but I suspect that he just got carried away with the F since he listed Jarett as female also.
Evidence shows that this particular Jarett is the same Jarett who later became the father of Norman Lynch, my grandfather. In a later chapter titled “The Riley Family History”, I present evidence which I believe proves this fact conclusively. There are some oral history accounts that I have attempted to reconcile this with. Greg Lynch, one of Norman’s sons, recounted a story that Norman told him in which Norman asked his father Jarrett about who his father (Jarrett’s) was. Jarrett thought about it a while and then said that his name was Anthony. However, Greg also said that he had heard stories from Norman about Jarrett and Jarrett’s father living in Bell Buckle, Tennessee which is in Bedford County. I have not been able to locate any Lynch named Anthony in Bedford County, or any other Jarrett who was the right age except the one that I mentioned earlier living in the household of Anslem. The 1860 census listed Jarrett’s age as thirteen. His grave marker indicates that he was born on July 26, 1847, which confirms that he would have been thirteen in 1860. Anslem was often spelled different ways but none of the variants sound a lot like Anthony to me. It is possible, however, that he could have had a middle name or nickname. In light of the other evidence that is presented later, I am convinced that the story about Jarett’s father being named Anthony was incorrect.
In 1870, Anslem (spelled Anson in the census report) and his wife had seven children living in the household. His wife’s name was listed as Ruhama. Note from the excerpt at the right that Smith B. reappeared in the 1870 census. If you refer back to the previous census excerpts you will recall that he was listed in the 1850 report but not in the 1860 report. Henry also appeared for the first time in this census and his age (15) bears out the fact that he was indeed the child born in 1855 in Kentucky. Note also that Jarrett did not appear in the household.
A 20 year old woman named Allice and a one year old boy named Sam M. also lived with Anselm and his family in 1870. Their identities were puzzling at first but when you look at the excerpt of the 1880 census at the left, it becomes crystal clear who they were. Alice was the wife of Anslem’s son Smith B. and Sam M. was the child of Smith and Alice.
The 1880 census report was the last one that Anslem appeared in. Henry was the only child living in the household. A next door neighbor was listed as T.J. Linch but was actually J.T. Linch, a son who appeared in the 1870 census as John T. Note also from the census excerpt that the name of Lubinda, who was listed as a daughter of J.T. was lined through. (This is the last line on the excerpt). A separate mortality schedule which accompanied the census indicated that she died of consumption during the census year. Because of her age, she could not have been a child of J.T.’s current wife Paralee. More information about J.T. and Paralee appears in the chapter titled “The Lynches in the Civil War”.
One of the statistics listed in the 1860 census was the value of real estate and personal property. Nothing was listed for Anslem so I assume that either he rented or that his estate had a minimal value. His brother Lewis, however, had real estate valued at $ 4500 and personal property valued at $ 500.
I found numerous documents involving Lewis, leading me to believe that he was probably involved in a lot of financial dealings. Court records show that he brought a number of court actions including a suit against Thomas Ford, Jacob Lynn, A.M. Wood, William Wood, and Smith Bowlin to collect some debts. In that case, the court ordered a judgment of $ 797.86 against the defendants on August 2, 1859.
Even during the Civil War, Lewis seemed to make a little money. On February 2, 1863, he sold one hundred fifty four bushels of corn and twenty two hundred pounds of hay to the Confederate States Army. The corn was valued at $100.10 and the hay at $ 22.
In late 1871 or early 1872, Lewis petitioned the court to have the road by his property relocated; however, in February of 1872, a jury appointed to decide the petition ruled against him. The petition was interesting in that it spelled out the adjacent property owners and the proposed route of the new road.
Some genealogists report that Lewis was born in Thomasville, Georgia in 1828 to Gray and his first wife, Nancy Thomas. In my opinion, this seems unlikely because the census reports are consistent in listing his birthplace as Tennessee and I have already documented the presence of Gray in Bedford County, Tennessee as early as 1823. The 1850 census excerpt above shows that he was 22 years old at the time of the census which shows that he was born around 1828. His first name is hard to read in the report without magnification but it is definitely Lewis.
In 1860, Lewis and his family still lived in district 4 in Bedford County. Their Post Office designation was Bell Buckle. Joseph Lynch was their next door neighbor. At first, Lewis’ wife’s name looks like “Maya” but if you look closely, it is Mary A. The ages of Lewis and Mary were a little inconsistent with the previous census report (they should have been 10 years older) but that was common in early reports. Note that three additional children had been born, Simeon, Nanny, and Flora.
The 1870 census listed even more children. As in the case with other families and other census reports, some of the children’s names were listed differently than previous reports. This is typically due to either using middle names or nicknames.
As indicated by the census excerpt, one of their sons was named Iota. Later documents show that his full name was Robert Iota. Robert is buried in the Hazel Cemetery in Bell Buckle which is within walking distance of Old Salem Cemetery where Gray is buried.
The wife of Lewis was listed as Mary or Mary Ann in census reports up to 1880. She died of diabetes in that year according to a separate mortality schedule of the census. The census listed her as M.M. in that year. Many of the children’s names were abbreviated on that report which makes it harder to compare names but Iota appears in the household which verifies that it is the correct Lewis Linch household. Iota is somewhat of an unusual name which makes tracking him easier than a James or William!
Lewis appeared in the 1900 census (excerpt above) and had a wife listed as Mag. (Maggie ?). They had several children who were born of that marriage living with them plus a daughter and three granddaughters from the previous marriage. If you look at the upper right of the excerpt, you will see the number 12 which indicates the number of years that Lewis and Maggie had been married. The number 2 on the second line indicated the number of children born to that person and the number still living. According to the census, Lewis was born in January of 1828. His wife at that time (Maggie) was born in March of 1854.
Gray (Anselm’s father) last appeared in the 1870 census. Apparently he was spry for his age. The census report for 1870 indicated that he and Lebinda had a daughter who was two years old. Gray was age 83 and Lebinda was 45 according to the census. The 1870 census also listed an 88 year old woman named Rebecca Austin who lived in the household. Considerable evidence indicates that Rebecca was Lebinda’s mother. Earlier census reports show that Rebecca had been married to Stephen Austin.
Gray Lynch died on October 22, 1872, and was buried in the Old Salem Cemetery in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. On November 4, 1872, the following proceeding was heard before the county court at Shelbyville, Tennessee:
In the matter of the Last Will and Testament of Gray Lynch dec’d [deceased]
This day came Lebinda B. Lynch in open court and produced a paper writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Gray Lynch dec’d and offered to prove the same by the testimony of James Robertson and Edmond Cooper two of the subscribing witnesses to the same – Whereupon came William Lynch, Anselm and Lewis Lynch and contested the same – and they having given bond and security as required by law in the penal sum of five hundred dollars with Robert D. Rankin as security. The court is pleased to order that the Clerk of this court certify the part of said contest to the Circuit Court of Bedford County, and send off to said court the original will so that an issue may be tried testing its validity
The court further orders that Lebinda B. Lynch the sole legatee and Devisee be required to give bond in the sum of five hundred dollars, conditioned for the faithful prosecution of issue suit, and on failure thereof to pay all costs that may accrue thereon which bond the said Lebinda B. Lynch may give at or before the meeting of this court Friday week being the 15th day of November, 1872 Being an adjourned term of the meeting of this court. It appearing that she is the sole legatee and devisee under the will and of [?]
In case you missed the thrust of the action, Gray left everything to his last wife Lebinda who was not the biological mother of the contesting parties. So far, I have not been able to find out the outcome of the suit.
Lebinda Banks Austin Lynch, Gray’s fourth and last wife, married Cornelius H. Van Wie (or Vanwie) on October 11, 1878. A copy of the marriage license appears in Exhibit 10 and interestingly you will note from it that the license was obtained on December 11, 1877. The lapse in time before they were actually married is interesting.
The 1880 census listed L.B. (Lebinda Banks) Van Wie but her husband Cornelius was not listed. Unquestionably, the person listed was Lebinda because there were several of her daughters living with her and their names were listed as Linch. I don’t know what happened to Cornelius.
In 1910, the census listed Lebinda as Mrs. L.B. Linch. She had a daughter, Mrs. A.C. Frizzell living with her at the time. Lebinda died in 1914 and she was buried in the Old Salem Cemetery in Bell Buckle.
In an earlier chapter, I mentioned that an 1838 tax document in Bedford County, Tennessee listed an Aden Lynch who was believed to be a son of Gray. There was no record of him being in Tennessee later than 1838. He next appeared in the 1850 census in Marshall County, Mississippi. According to the census excerpt above, Aden and his wife Susan had a thirteen year old son named Gray J. who was born in Mississippi. If correct, this means that Aden and Susan left Tennessee no later than 1838. Note from the excerpt that Aden was born in Georgia. Other census information not displayed here showed that Aden’s father was born in Virginia which is consistent with him being a son of Gray.
In 1854, Susan died and Aden married Mary
Martin. The next year they left Mississippi and moved to Arkansas in what is
now Craighead County.
(A little later in this chapter you will learn my source for this information.) Note from the 1860 census excerpt above that the child who was not yet named in the 1850 census was now named Lewis. His full name was Lewis Aden.
By 1870, all of the children born to Susan
were out of the household and only the
children born to Mary remained. As indicated by the 1870 census excerpt above (and the previous census) Mary was 28 or 29 years younger than Aden.
The 1880 census was the last record that I found for Aden. He was still living with Mary and their children in Jonesboro Township in Arkansas.
Earlier in this chapter, I mentioned that I had a source for some of the information on Aden and his family. I found a publication called “Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeast Arkansas” that had a chapter about L.A. Lynch who was Lewis Aden, the son of Aden. Although Lewis was the focus of the article, it also had some biographical information on Aden and his wives. The article appears below:
L. A. Lynch, an active, enterprising farmer of Jonesboro, living five miles south of the city, was born in Marshall County, Miss., August 14, 1850. His father was Aden Lynch, a native of Middle Tennessee, who was a mechanic by trade and a farmer by occupation, working at both. In 1855 he moved to Poinsett (now Craighead) County, Ark., and bought a claim of 160 acres, living thereon one year. Then obtaining the contract to build the court-house of Poinsett County, at Harrisburg, he removed his family there; but after two or three years returned to Jonesboro, having secured the contract to build the first court-house in Craighead County. In the winter of 1867 he removed to the farm where he still resides, one mile south of Jonesboro. He has been twice married. His first union, with Susan Lynch, was blessed with nine children, only three of whom are now living: J. J., a farmer of Jonesboro Township; Matilda (Mrs. Robert Y. Duncan), also of Jonesboro Township; and Lewis A., the subject of this [p.341] sketch. After his wife's death, in 1854, Mr. Lynch was again married to Mary Martin. Mr. Lynch is a member of the Methodist Church and is a Mason. He has been honored with various positions of trust, having been for several years justice of the peace in Marshall County, Miss., and after coming to Craighead County, served several years as county clerk, was elected county probate judge, and was subsequently appointed by Gov. Baxter one of three county supervisors. He was also the first mayor of the city of Jonesboro. Lewis Aden Lynch was reared in Craighead County, receiving the best education the district afforded. At eighteen years of age he began farming for himself and for others, homesteaded 120 acres, moving on it in 1877. His father gave him forty acres, completing the quarter-section. About thirty-five acres of this are in a splendid state of cultivation. Mr. Lynch was married, February 4, 1877, to Eliza J., daughter of Calvin and Sallie (Shaw) Shores. To them have been born four children: Albert Clifton, Henry Ollie, Eddie Omer and Dixie May. Mrs. Lynch is a member of the Christian Church and a charitable lady. Mr. Lynch has always been a Democrat and served one term as justice of the peace of Jonesboro Township. He has resided on his present place since 1877, and has needed a physician for himself or family but once in all that time. He is a member of the Agricultural Wheel, and at present occupies the position of school director of district 29. He takes quite an interest in all educational matters.
Greg Lynch passed on some stories that he heard from his father (Norman) that Jarrett had served in the Confederate Army. According to the stories, Jarrett had a brother named Charlie who served with him. However, the information in the census reports for 1840 – 1860 does not show such a person living in Anselm’s household. Notwithstanding the fact that the census failed to show him, it is still possible that he existed. I can cite numerous cases in the material presented so far where a person was not listed in one census but appeared in later reports. The stories from Greg had some specifics, so I am reluctant to dismiss them as a myth. There were a number of related Lynches from Bedford County who served in the Confederate Army so it is possible that the story was miscommunicated over the years.
The most prolific sort of information that I found concerning the Civil War was from the pension application of John Thomas Lynch which I obtained from the Tennessee State Archives. John was one of Anselm’s sons (and Jarrett’s brother) and as you may recall, John lived near Anselm in 1880. The census of that year listed him as T.J. rather than J.T. but there is no question as to his identity. One or two of his service records listed him as Thomas J. which leads me to believe that he might have gone by the name of Thomas rather than John.
In 1900, John and his wife still lived in Bedford County. At the time they had four children living in the household with them.
According to a transcription of his death certificate information from Rutherford County, Tennessee, John was born on August 27, 1845. John’s wife was named Parlee (or Paralee) I. and according to Rutherford County death records she was born Paralee Isabella Daugerty on November 25, 1856. Her parents were listed as H. Daugerty and Margaret Rushing. Note that the census report above differed on the birth year for both John and Parlee. Some other documents indicate Paralee’s maiden name to be Daughtery, Dougherty, or other variant spelling.
The 1860 census for the Big Springs district of Rutherford County listed a family that I believe to be that of Paralee. She was listed simply as P.I. Her father was listed as Kinian which is different from the information mentioned a little earlier but his name could have been H. Kinian or the K could have been mistaken for a H.
In 1891, the state of Tennessee passed a law allowing a small pension to certain disabled Confederate veterans who were residents of the state of Tennessee. John filed an application on May 18, 1903. His application stated that he was a resident at Wayside in Rutherford County, Tennessee and that he was born in Bedford County, Tennessee in 1843. (The birth year that he listed conflicted with the information on his death records.) He enlisted in the 2nd Tennessee Regiment in the fall of 1862 and his commanding officers were Colonel W.D. Robinson, Lt. Colonel W.J. Hale, Captain William Bowers, and 2nd Lt. Farar. Other information in the application indicated that he was wounded in the battle of Murphreesboro [Murfreesboro] and was treated by Dr. Sam Robinson and Dr. Smith Bowlin. I never found any record of Smith Bowlin serving in the Confederate Army so either he served informally, no record was made of his service, or he treated John after he came home from the service.
One of the witnesses to the application made the following statement “We further state that John T. Linch was always a cripple after his wound & he remained with the army until Dec. 1864 but was not able for duty & seldom ever performed any service”. Another witness, a physician, stated that “He was shot through the right leg above the ankle joint, it fractured the large bone of the lower leg and from the effects of said wound his leg has perished considerably and he is unable to do any work from the effects of said wound. His general health is bad and I think that from the nature of the wound, and the way it twisted his foot I don’t think he has been able to do any work since he received the wound or any service in the army.”. When asked how he got out of the army, John stated “I was given permition [permission] to go home when Hood was in Tenn. in Dec. 1864 [and] remained at home”. He also stated that he took the oath of allegiance to the United States in January or February of 1865 in Nashville to keep from going to prison.
A number of people filed affidavits in support of John’s pension application and although all of the affidavits were interesting, several of them mentioned information that was helpful from a genealogical standpoint. One such application was filed by Lewis Lynch on May 6, 1905. Lewis stated that he was 77 years old, a resident of the 4th District of Bell Buckle (Bedford County) and that John was his nephew. This proved without a doubt that Anselm and Lewis were brothers. In a cover letter to the pension board, John’s lawyer, W.G. Cooper, described Lewis as a “well to do farmer of this community”.
J.S. Linch filed an affidavit stating that he was age 54, a resident of Bell Buckle, and a cousin of John. He stated that he had lived within a few miles of John most of his life and that he saw him every few days after he came home from the army.
Other affidavits were filed by G.P. Muse and F.F. Dearing. Muse served in the same Confederate Army Company with John. The cover letter filed by Mr. Cooper stated that G.P. Muse was the ex- sheriff of Bedford County and that the Rev. F.F. Dearing was “a Minister of the Gospel in the Christian Church and stands as high for veracity as any man in our community”.
The census report for 1910 confirmed that John and his family lived in Rutherford County. A daughter and two grandchildren also lived with them. In addition, an 84 year old woman named Maggie Johnston also live with them. Evidence seems to indicate that she was Paralee’s mother.
According to some pension correspondence and other records, John T. Linch died on September 11, 1915. He was buried in Millersburg, Tennessee. His widow, Parlee I. Linch filed an application for a pension based on John’s claim. I am not certain of the outcome of her application. She died on March 14, 1918 and was also buried in Millersburg.
Jones H. Linch also served in Company D of the 2nd Tennessee Infantry regiment. As you may recall, Jones was a son of Gray and therefore a brother of Anselm. There was some confusion by the pension board over the identity of Jones. On July 18, 1911, the following letter was sent to the Tennessee pension board in Nashville:
July 18, 1911
Will you please tell me if John T. Lynch Co. D 2. Tennessee Regiment [is] drawing a pension from the State of Tenn. as a Confederate soldier. The reason is this Jones H. Lynch Co. D 2 Tenn. Regiment has made application for a pension under the Texas law & the Commissioner has rejected his application saying John T. Lynch & Jones H. Lynch are the same person.
Please inform me as soon as possible & oblige Truly
H.P. Campbell atty [attorney]
John T. sent several letters to the pension board, apparently trying to clear up the matter. Some of the correspondence in his pension file is incomplete and the pages of multi-page letters are not filed in order, so it is hard to transcribe the accounts verbatim. However, there is plenty enough information remaining to get a big picture of it.
Based on a reply letter sent on September 2, 1911, from Christiana, Tennessee, to Mr. Frank Moses of the pension board, it was evident that the pension of John T. had been suspended until an investigation was launched. The letter was apparently sent by John T. in response to some correspondence he had received. Other correspondence (mostly John’s responses) dealt with John’s residency after the war and who Jones H. was and where he lived. To be eligible for a Tennessee pension, John was required to be a resident of Tennessee. Apparently, the pension board suspected that John might have moved to Texas and lived there under the name of Jones H.
The second page of a letter from John (apparently sent to the pension board) read:
You wanted to know who Jones H. Linch of Co. D. 2nd Tenn. Regt. was & where his post office was. I do not know his post office. He is my uncle – some twenty odd years ago he moved to Texas and I have not heard from him in a long time. His step mother is living in Bell Buckle guess she knows his post office. N.C. Hatchett of Bell Buckle belonged to the same company that I did and can tell you who Jones H. Linch was & who John T. Linch is and whether John T. Linch has lived out of Tennessee since the war. Will you please answer this soon & greatly oblige. Yours Truly,
John T. Linch
P.S. Jones H. Linch’s step mother is name Lebinda Vanwee.
Geo. [George] P. Muse of Bell Buckle belonged to the same company that I did and can tell you who Jones H. Linch is & whether John T. Linch has lived out of Tennessee since the war or not.
In an earlier chapter, I mentioned that Jones H. was a son of Gray and that more proof would be presented later of that fact. The letter transcribed above does just that because it states that the step-mother of Jones H. was Lebinda Vanwee who lived in Bell Buckle. As you may recall, Lebinda was Gray’s last wife. After Gray’s death, she married Cornelius Vanwie.
Records show that Jones H. enlisted on May 1, 1861, in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. He was 19 years old at the time. Some of his service records listed him as Jones H. but several listed him by his initials. A few records erroneously listed him as Jonas H.
Confederate Army records show that Jones was wounded and had several bouts with illness during his service which was probably the norm for those times. He was absent from a roll call in early 1863 with the remark “Sick near Tullahoma” on his record. One remark on his compiled service record card read “At Hospital Chattanooga March 25, 1863 by Surgeon Brown”. Another entry shows that he was admitted to the 1st Mississippi C.S.A. Hospital Jackson, Mississippi on November 8, 1864, for dysenteria. There is obviously an error in the records because another entry shows that he was treated for “dysenteria acuta” at the Soldiers Home Hospital in Shelby Springs, Alabama during the period of November 8 to 26, 1864. Both of these entries were for J.H. Jones of Co. D, 2nd Tenn. Regiment. I suppose that it is possible that there were two soldiers with the same initials and last name in Co. D but the odds are against it.
Jones filed for his pension in December of 1909 in Johnson County, Texas. It was rejected initially as mentioned in the information on John T. but was eventually approved. According to the information in his application (which I obtained from the Texas Archives), Jones was born in Bedford County, Tennessee and his age was 67 years as of November 13, 1909. He had resided in Texas since 1877 and resided in Johnson County since 1882.
Three people gave depositions supporting the pension claim of Jones. One was a physician who had been treating him for about 12 years. The other two depositions were given by Mrs. L.B. Linch of Bell Buckle, Tennessee and W.T. Rankin of Midland, Texas. Although the deposition of Mrs. Linch never mentioned how she was related to Jones, she was his step-mother, the last wife of Gray Linch. In her deposition she stated that she had known Jones since he was nearly three years old and that he enlisted in Jim Dennison’s Company in 1861 at Bell Buckle. When asked how she knew that he served, her answer was “I came to Bell Buckle and saw him with the Confederacy”.
The deposition of W.T. Rankin (Major W.T. Rankin according to the deposition) was more interesting. Although he was a resident of Midland, Texas, he stated in his deposition that he had known Jones ”since childhood” which meant that he also had roots in Bedford County, Tennessee. W.T. served in the same Army Company and vouched for the service of Jones but added that he (W.T.) was imprisoned for the latter part of the war and just assumed that Jones was honorably discharged at the close of the war.
Although it was not mentioned in his deposition, W.T. was apparently a nephew of Jones. He was age 67 at the time of his deposition (1909) which meant that he and Jones were close to the same age. All of the facts indicate that W.T. was William Thomas Rankin, a son of Robert D. Rankin. Robert married Matilda Linch, a sister of Jones. Near the end of this chapter, I will document some of the Civil War history of the Rankins.
Jones H. died on July 3, 1920, in Alvarado, Texas and he was buried in the Alvarado Cemetery. At the time, the families of Confederate pensioners were able to obtain a small benefit to assist with burial costs. Upon filing the necessary paperwork, his wife Edna was able to obtain $ 30 from the Confederate pension fund to help with funeral expenses which totaled $ 140. Edna died on October 6, 1936 and she was buried in the same cemetery. (Their death dates were obtained from their death certificates.)
In addition to John T. and Jones H., there were several other Linch/Lynch men who served in the Confederate Army who had ties to Bedford County, Tennessee. Although I strongly suspect that they were related to John T. and Jones H., I can only theorize about who their parents were because I could not find definitive proof.
One such person was Charles R. Linch who was a Private in the 21st Tennessee Calvary Regiment. (Perhaps the Charlie in Greg’s story?) According to the records, Charles volunteered in March of 1863. His place of residence was listed as Bedford County, Tennessee. According to his description in the record, he had fair complexion, brown hair, grey eyes, and he was 5 ft. 9 in. tall. The record states that he deserted on December 25, 1864, and that he signed an oath of allegiance to the United States in January of 1865.
According to the 1850 census, Gray had a son named Charles Ready who was born around 1847. Most likely, he was the Charles R. Linch who served in the 21st Tennessee Calvary. If so, he would have been 16 or 17 years old when he enlisted.
Charles still lived in Bedford County in 1880. The census of that year listed him in District 4, the same location that Gray and many of the other Lynch families had lived in for many years.
James R. Lynch enlisted in May of 1861 in Bell Buckle (Bedford County) at age 20. He initially served with Captain James Denniston’s Company in the 2nd Regiment of Tennessee Volunteers. This company was later designated as Company D. 2nd Tennessee Regiment which is the same one that John T. and Jones H. served in. Few service cards were on file for James R. so little is known about his service. His name appeared on a muster roll call for January & February, 1862 which showed that he was absent. Under remarks, it had “Within the enemies lines”.
Based on his age, the most likely candidate for his father would be Anselm. The 1860 census listed a son named James (a brother of Jarrett) who was 19 at the time of the census. William Lynch (Anselm’s brother) also had a son named James but his name was James B.
William C. Lynch also served in the 2nd Tennessee Regiment. Initially, he served in Captain Thomas White’s Company of the 2nd Regiment of the Tennessee Volunteers. Later, this company was designated as Company F, 2nd Tennessee Regiment. The records all show that he was enlisted in Millersburg, Tennessee by Captain Thomas White. One record indicates that he enlisted on April 25, 1861, at age 25. Another record shows that he enlisted on May 1, 1861, at age 26. I can not rule out the possibility that there could have been two soldiers named William Linch in the same company but it seems unlikely.
William’s service in the war was brief. According to the remarks on one of the service record cards, William died on June 9, 1861. Nothing in the records mentioned anything about how or where William died.
According to the 1850 census, Anselm had a son named William who was the correct age to have been the William C. who died in the Civil War. William was not listed in Anslem’s household in the 1860 census. Interestingly, the Rutherford County census for 1860 listed a household headed by a William Lynch who was about the right age to be Anslem’s son. Note from the excerpt that he had two young daughters named Josephine and Lubinda. The age of Lubinda is a little hard to read but she was five months old (5/12).
In 1870, Josephine and Lubinda lived with an older woman who last name was Dougherty. Her first name is somewhat ambiguous in the census report. The ages of Josephine and Lubinda match the children of the same names who lived with William in 1860.
Although the case is circumstantial, the evidence tends to suggest that William was indeed a brother of John Thomas (and Jarrett). There are a number of factors which contribute to this theory: (1) John’s wife’s maiden name was Dougherty. William apparently had some tie with the Dougherty family also. (2) Since William did not appear in the 1870 census, it is plausible that he was the one who was killed in the Civil War. (3) William enlisted in Millersburg (Rutherford County). Paralee grew up in Rutherford County and she and John eventually returned there to live. Both were buried in Millersburg.
You may recall from an earlier chapter (page 23) that the 1880 census listed a young woman named Lebinda who lived with John and Paralee. Although the census listed her as a daughter, I commented that because of her age, she could not have been a child of Paralee. It is possible that Lebinda (Lubinda) could have been from a previous marriage of John. However, it is also possible that she was actually the child of William who lived in the Dougherty household in 1870. Her age was off a few years (she should have been 20 instead of 17) in the 1880 census but that was not unusual for census data. The evidence is not conclusive but I offer it as a theory.
There are also Confederate service records for Samuel Linch and Samuel M. Linch. At first, I thought that they were the same person but apparently they were not. Samuel M. was enlisted in May of 1861 by Captain James Denniston in Bedford County at age 19. He initially served as a private in Captain James Denniston’s Company in the 2nd Regiment of Tennessee Volunteers. This unit was later designated as Company D, 2nd Tennessee Regiment. According to the records, Samuel M. was absent without leave at the end of 1862 and was declared a deserter at the beginning of 1863.
William Linch (Gray’s son) had a son named Samuel M. who was listed in the 1850 census as being 6. In 1861, he would have been 17 or 18 depending upon on his birth month. The evidence is circumstantial, but favors him as being the Samuel M. who served in the Confederate Army. If so, he would have been Jarrett’s cousin.
The other Samuel was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 21st Regiment of the Tennessee Calvary. He volunteered on June 15, 1861. His place of residence was Bedford County, Tennessee and he was described as having fair complexion, light hair, blue eyes, and was 6 ft. 1 in. tall. The record stated that he deserted on December 25, 1864, and that he took the oath of allegiance to the United States in January of 1865.
I mentioned earlier that W.T. Rankin served with Jones H. Linch and that W.T. (William Thomas) was the nephew of Jones. The deposition that W.T. gave in support of Jones referred to W.T. as “Major Rankin” but apparently that was an honorary title bestowed upon W.T. after the war because his service record clearly shows that he was a private during his service.
While researching the compiled service records for W.T., I discovered that his older brother David Gray Rankin also served in the same unit with W.T. and Jones. According to their files, both were enlisted by Captain James Denniston on May 1, 1861, in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. The Civil War started on April 12, 1861, so they joined the war just a few weeks after its beginning.
David was wounded and left in Richmond, Kentucky on August 30, 1862. On October 28, 1862, both David and W.T. were captured by Union forces in Richmond, Kentucky. They were sent to Louisville, Kentucky and on to Vicksburg, Mississippi via Cairo, Illinois on the steamboat Mary Crane on November 29, 1862. Davis was described as age 22, height 5ft. 10 in., blue eyes, light hair, and light complexion. W.T. was described as age 20, height 5ft. 11 in., gray eyes, light hair, and light complexion. According to the records, they were sent for exchange which I assume meant a prisoner swap.
Apparently they were swapped and returned to their unit. W.T. was captured again in Calhoun, Georgia on May 16, 1864. He was sent to Nashville, Tennessee and then on to the military prison at Louisville, Kentucky. A few days later he was transferred to the military prison at Alton, Illinois where he remained until his release on May 24, 1865. General Robert E. Lee had already surrendered by that time and the prisoners of war were apparently released. On one of his service records it stated that W.T. “wishes transportation to Shelbyville, Tennessee” which is the county seat of Bedford County.
David was captured on May 18, 1864, at Adairsville, Georgia and sent initially to Nashville, Tennessee and then to the military prison in Louisville, Kentucky. On May 25, 1864, he was sent to Rock Island, Illinois where he remained until March 6, 1865. At that time he was transferred to City Point, Virginia for another exchange.
After the war, David returned to Bedford County, Tennessee. In 1870, the census showed that he was married to a woman named Laura. At the time, David and Laura had a two year old son named Robert E. I am just speculating, but it seems likely that he was named after General Robert E. Lee, especially considering David’s service in the Confederate Army.
By the time of the 1880 census, David and Laura had a total of five children – all sons. I am not sure how long David lived. When the census was taken in June of 1900, he was still living in the fourth district of Bedford County. The census of that year listed more specific detail about the birth dates of household members. As noted from the census excerpt below, David was born in October of 1841.
As mentioned in a previous chapter, it appears from the 1870 census data that David’s brother, William Thomas (W.T.) moved back into the household with his father after the war. In 1880, the census of Bedford County (fourth district) listed a T.W. Rankin. My hunch is that T.W. was actually William Thomas. If so, he must have re-married since the previous census listed his wife’s name as Oma.
In 1900, W.T. still lived in Bedford County. At the time of the census, he was a boarder in the household of a family named Erwin. I do not know if he was related to them or what tie they had.
W.T. died on January 16, 1912, in Midland, Texas. According to his death certificate, he was born in Tennessee on September 21, 1842. His father, R.D. Rankin, was born in Tennessee also.
Although many of the Lynch family remained in Tennessee, some including Jarrett (the son of Anslem) moved to Kentucky, most notably Crittenden County. I do not know his motive for moving, but as we have already determined, his parents and family lived there in the mid 1850’s. This particular Jarrett is of great importance to us because he later became the father of Norman Lynch. At last we have the right Jarrett!
Jarrett’s older brother Gray apparently moved to Crittenden County in 1860. Kentucky marriage records document his marriage to Pernecia A. Hamby on December 26, 1860. The 1860 census for Crittenden County taken in July of 1860 indicated that Pernecia was the daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah Hamby. According to the census, Jeremiah was born in Kentucky and Sarah was born in South Carolina.
Gray and Pernecia had several children. A daughter, Mary Ellen, was born on June 14, 1867, and died on December 30, 1951. Her death certificate (see Exhibit 11) confirms that her father was Gray Lynch and that her mother’s maiden name was Hamby.
Different researchers have different accounts of when and how Gray died. The census of 1910 showed that Pernecia (listed as Vecia A. in the census) lived with her son, John S. on Eddyville Road in Caldwell County. Her whereabouts during the 1920 census is uncertain because she was not listed in the household with her son, John. Pernecia died on January 6, 1923, in Fredonia, Kentucky which is in Caldwell County. Her death certificate (see Exhibit 12) confirms that her father was Jerry Hamby.
In 1870, the census for Crittenden County listed Jarrett Lynch and M.H.C. Lynch living in the household of A.B. and Jemima Perkins. Jarrett was age 23 and M.H.C. (later indentified as Minerva H.C.) was 20. Kentucky marriage records document the marriage bond of Jarrett to Minerva H.C. Perkins on March 12, 1868. The surety of the bond was A.B. Perkins (see Exhibit 13). Although the document listed the groom’s name as “Jarrett” it was signed as “Jaratt” which might have been his preferred spelling.
A male named S.F. also lived in the Perkins household. Evidence is strong that S.F. (later identified as Samuel F.M.) later married Jarrett’s sister, Matilda. The 1880 census of Crittenden County listed a household headed by S.F.M. Perkins with a wife named Matilda A. Earlier census reports documented that Jarrett had a sister by that name. The 1910 census listed his name as Samuel F. Any doubt about Matilda being Jarrett’s sister was pretty much laid to rest by the discovery of a death certificate for Matilda Ann Perkins in Crittenden County. A copy of this certificate is in Exhibit 14. The informant was Sam Perkins and the certificate indicated that Matilda was born in Bedford County, Tennessee and that her father was Anslem Lynch. Her mother’s maiden name was Rushing.
The 1880 census also listed Jarrett and Minerva still living in Crittenden County, Kentucky. According to the census, they had a nine year old daughter named Matilda E. and two sons, Collin and James aged seven and three respectively. Interestingly, a list of 1875 Kentucky births documents a son named William born to Jarrett Lynch. The mother’s maiden name was Minerva H.C. Perkins. The omission of this name in the 1880 census could have been an oversight or perhaps William died at an early age. Jarrett and Minerva’s next door neighbors were Burton and Evaline Perkins. Circumstantial evidence suggests that these were Minerva’s parents although the earlier census listed her mother’s name as Jemima rather than Evaline. It is speculation on my part, but my hunch is that Matilda E. was named Matilda Evaline. Matilda died on February 18, 1918, in Kuttawa, Kentucky and was buried in the Kuttawa Cemetery. Her death certificate (see Exhibit 16) confirmed that her parents were Jarrett Lynch and Manervie Perkins.
I was not able to determine when or how Minerva died. Assuming that Jarrett remarried within a few years after her death, she must have died (or they divorced) in the late 1880’s or very early in 1890. Illinois marriage records document a marriage of Jarrett Lynch to Matilda C. Priest on July 1, 1890, in Saline County (see Exhibit 15). Greg Lynch remembered hearing some stories about her that were passed down to his dad, so this was indeed the same Jarrett. Apparently, no children were born of that marriage
Matilda appeared to be the daughter of George W. and Martha J. Priest. The 1870 census listed them in Harrisburg, Illinois (Saline County). As indicated by the census excerpt at the left, Matilda had several brothers and sisters. In 1880, the census listed them as living in Independence Precinct. Three additional children, Moses, Oma (female), and Molley were listed in the 1880 census.
According to the marriage records at the Illinois State Archives, Jarrett married Harriett E. Riley on September 10, 1892 in Hardin County, Illinois which is just across the Ohio River from Crittenden County, Kentucky. Harriett was listed in the 1880 census as being a neighbor of Jarrett. Oral history accounts that have been passed down over the years say that Harriett was blind. One such story that my grandfather Norman told Mother was that one day Harriett tried unsuccessfully to give one of the children a dipper of water from the spring. Knowing that the child was probably thirsty, she was puzzled about why he would not drink. When one of the other children took the dipper, they noticed a crawfish swimming around in it. The census of 1880 showed that not only was Harriett blind, but that she had a blind brother and sister as well. More information about Harriett is presented in the next chapter which is titled “The Riley Family History”.
The census of 1900 listed Jarrett as living in the Ford’s Ferry Magisterial District in Crittenden County, Kentucky. According to the census, Jarrett had three sons, Edgeworth, Norman C., and Daniel S. Their ages were eighteen, seven, and six respectively. A daughter named Mary I., age three, was also listed. She apparently was also known as Della, as you will see in a later chapter. The occupation for Jarrett and Edgeworth were both listed as miner.
Later documents show that Daniel’s middle name was Stone. There were several men named Daniel Stone who lived in Crittenden County, including one whose descendant married a niece of Harriett Riley. Although I have not been able to prove it, it seems logical that Daniel was named for one of the earlier men named Daniel Stone.
Interestingly, Harriet was not listed as living in the household with Jarrett and the children. A woman who appeared to be her was listed in another household nearby with two other persons. According to the census, she was born in April of 1855, was married, and had three children. Of course, the children would have been Norman, Daniel, and Mary “Della”. The birth year and age of Harriett listed in this census conflicted with previous census reports which indicated that she was born in 1859.
As indicated by the 1880 census excerpt presented earlier and repeated below, Harriett’s parents were Roday M. and Thomas Riley. The 1880 census listed her name as Roday M., but earlier reports showed her name to be Rhoda and one report listed her by her middle name, Malinda. Evidence presented later in this chapter shows that her maiden name was Miller. Note also from the 1880 census excerpt that a boy named Marion B. Belt lived in the household with the Riley family. His relationship was not listed. In a later chapter, I will refer back to this person.
I have not been able to confirm it, but research performed by some of the Riley family descendants states that the Riley name was originally O’ Riley and that they came to this country from Ireland. So far, I have not been able to find out the source of their information.
The 1850 census of Crittenden County, Kentucky showed that Thomas was born in Tennessee around.1815. His wife was born around 1818 in Tennessee. Based on the birthplaces and ages of their children, it appears that they moved to Kentucky in the mid 1840’s. As you can see from the census excerpt, they had a large family in 1850.
Several of their neighbors were families headed by men named Belt. There was Jonathan Belt (age 29), Arthur H. Belt (age 41), Ofrey Belt (age 21), and another Arthur H. Belt (age 37). Earlier, I pointed out that a boy named Marion B. Belt lived with Thomas and Rhoda in 1880. The connection between them is still uncertain to me. Later, I will add to the mystery.
I was able to contact a Riley descendant named Pat Lowery Koetting who lives in New Mexico. She is related to a sister of Harriett named Charlotte who was also blind. Pat did not know what caused the blindness of Harriett, Charlotte, and their brother Arthur. Charlotte’s name was spelled somewhat ambiguously in the 1880 census and it looks like Sarlotie P. However, it was clearly spelled as Charlotte in the 1860 census and listed as C.P. in the 1870 census. It is possible that her name was Charlottie because she was nicknamed Lottie.
On August 5, 1884, a marriage bond was executed for John Sherfield and Lottie Riley. Pleasant Miller (who is mentioned later in this chapter) was a witness. A copy of that document (courtesy of Pat) appears in Exhibit 17.
According to Pat, Thomas Riley was a Baptist minister and was believed to be the founder of Freedom General Baptist Church near Marion, Kentucky. Because of his ties with that church, he is probably buried in its cemetery.
Knowing that Thomas was born in Tennessee, I was able to trace him back to the 1840 census of Jackson, Tennessee. At that time, there were several families of Rileys listed consecutively on the census which indicated that they lived next door to each other. William was the oldest and he was between 60 and 70 years old. Based on this age bracket, he was born between 1770 and 1780. The other families were headed by Thomas, John, and Reuben. All three men were between 20 and 30. Although the evidence is mostly circumstantial, it appears that William was probably the father of Thomas, John, and Reuben. Families headed by Isaac Sisco and John Sisco lived next to the Rileys. I located the death certificate of a man named Press M. Cisco who died in Crittenden County, Kentucky in 1912. According to the information on the certificate, he was born on November 15, 1832, in Jackson County, Tennessee. His parents were Nancy Riley and Isaac F. Sisco.
By 1860, the Riley family had grown even more. The census listed 14 children with the last name of Riley in the household. Although the census of that year did not list relationships, it would appear that they were all children of Thomas and Rhoda. Note from the excerpt at the right that Harriet E. was one year old in 1860 which means that she was born in 1859. According to some information from Riley family descendants, she was born on April 1, 1859.
I mentioned earlier that Rhoda’s maiden name was Miller. This is documented very well by the death certificates of several of her children. Elizabeth died of a cerebral hemorrhage on January 4, 1921, and her death certificate listed Thomas Riley as her father and indicated that her mother’s maiden name was Miller. She was born on April 6, 1845. Her married name was not legible on the form but it started with a B and the informant was named Breeland. Sally Riley Davidson’s death certificate listed Thomas Riley as her father and Malinda Miller Riley as her mother. Sally was born on March 13, 1840, and died on July 11, 1918, according to her death certificate. She was buried in Union Cemetery in Marion, Kentucky. William’s death certificate also confirmed that his parents were Malinda Miller and Thomas Riley. William was born on February 20, 1848, and died on July 16, 1931.
The death records of three additional children showed the married name, rather than the maiden name of their mother. Alexander M. Riley died on April 7, 1874 at age 32. Lydy Riley Hughes died in May 1876 at age 31. Their listed ages are a little suspect because the census showed Lydy (Lydia) to be older than Alexander. Amos Anderson died on March 28, 1919. He was born on November 1, 1837.
Note also from the 1860 census excerpt that a 32 year old man named Pleasant Miller and a seven month old boy named Harry Miller lived with the Rileys. Although the fact that Rhoda’s maiden name was Miller has already been established very well by the other data, the fact that some Millers were living in their household adds even more credence to that fact. The exact relationship of Pleasant to Rhoda is unknown to me. Pleasant married Harriet Stokes in June of 1851. Thomas Riley was a bondsman and his signature appears on the marriage document. A copy of this document (courtesy of Pat Lowery Koetting) appears in Exhibit 18.
In 1870, many of the children had moved out. Harriett and six brothers and sisters remained in the household at the time. The census taker was apparently lazy and abbreviated most of the names. Harriett’s name was incorrectly shown as H.L. rather than H.E.
Harriett married Jarrett Lynch on September 10, 1892, in Hardin County, Illinois. Norman, their oldest child, was born in April of 1893. Unless my arithmetic is flawed, either Norman was premature or Harriett was pregnant at the time of her marriage.
I was able to obtain a copy of the marriage record for Jarrett and Harriett from the Illinois State Archives. Prior to obtaining it, the case that Jarrett‘s father was named Anslem was mostly circumstantial. I was unable to locate anyone who had a definite oral history as to Jarrett’s father and I was not able to find a will or any other document that established that information. As you have seen from previous chapters, there was a person in Bedford County, Tennessee named Anslem who had a son named Jarrett. However, previously there had been no way to prove with certainty that it was the same Jarrett who later fathered Norman Lynch. In my opinion, the marriage record from the Illinois State Archives proves beyond a doubt that Norman’s father Jarrett was indeed the one born to Anslem, son of Gray Lynch.
Presented in the Exhibits are some excerpts from the marriage record of Jarrett and Harriett. The copies that I received from the Illinois State Archives were apparently made from a ledger book that contained information about the groom on one side of the book and about the bride on the other side. Unfortunately, the copies focused on the part of the text that concerned the particular persons of interest and did not show the column titles. As a result, I had to guess as to what the information represents. The reader can judge for himself / herself, but I feel pretty confident about interpreting the information. My guess is that the entries were for certificate number 1898 on September 10, 1892. The groom was Jaratt Lynch, age 45. His parents were Anslen Lynch and Amoner Rushing from Belford [Bedford] County, Tennessee. The first name of Jaratt’s mother is somewhat ambiguous and it is apparently her middle name because previous documents show her name to be Ruhama or some variant. Judging from the information on other marriage records on the same page, it appears that the “3rd” means that this was Jaratt’s third marriage which was correct.
Also on the marriage record information for Jaratt are the entries “Rosiclare, Ill.” and “minor” . Based on the information for other grooms listed on the page, the word minor apparently refers to Jaratt’s occupation (miner). There was a large lead and fluorspar (fluorite) mining operation in Rosiclare, Illinois during the late 1800’s and my guess is that the entry of “Rosiclare, Ill.” refers to the location of Jaratt’s employment. Greg Lynch told me that he had heard stories of Jaratt working in mines other than coal mines. Since Rosiclare is just across the Ohio River from Crittenden County, Kentucky it seems likely that Jaratt worked at the Rosiclare mine.
I believe that the information for the bride shows that she was Harriet E. Riley, age 34. Her parents were Thomas Riley and Malinda Miller of Crittenden County, Kentucky. It was the first marriage for Harriet.
Unfortunately, no photos are known to exist of Harriet. Pat Lowery Koetting sent me a photo taken around 1945 of Harriet’s niece, Lula Ellen Sherfield which appears in the Exhibits. Whether she resembles Harriet or not is unknown but maybe she does. Lula was the daughter of Charlotte “Lottie” Riley and John Sherfield. As mentioned earlier, Charlotte was Harriet’s sister. Lula Ellen was Pat’s grandmother. Although it is not discernible from the photo, Lula had one blue eye and one brown eye according to Pat.
An article about Charles Thomas “Squire” Riley, a nephew of Harriet, was published in a book about the history of Livingston County, Kentucky. Charles was born on April 28, 1875, and was the son of Sue Vaughn and William Thomas Riley, a brother of Harriet. By trade, Charles was a brick and stone mason but he was also well known for his hobbies of sculpting, poetry, and songwriting. He became known in his day as the country’s only fluorspar carver. According to the article, he was inspired by Indian artifacts dug from his property in Kentucky to attempt to duplicate animals the Indians carved from fluorspar. Several of his sculptures of frogs were sent to very famous people including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and U.S. Naval Fleet Admiral C.W. Nimitz.
Charles married Lula Belle Dalton on March 9, 1904. She was the daughter of Wayman L. and Amanda E. (Little) Dalton. Lula was born at Tolu (Crittenden County), Kentucky on December 7, 1881. Charles and Lula had eight children. A photo of Charles Thomas “Squire” Riley appears in the Exhibits. His wife Lula also appears (inset) in the photo.
Squire died on September 26, 1954, in Rosiclare, Illinois. He and his wife are buried in White’s Chapel Cemetery in Crittenden County, Kentucky.
So far, I have been unable to determine the date or circumstances of Harriett’s death. There are no known oral history accounts of her final years.
Sometime after the 1900 census, Jarrett and his family moved to Jefferson County, Alabama. As far as I know, Jarrett did not have any family ties in the area when he moved. In the early 1900’s, the area was heavily involved in coal mining and I suspect that he and his sons came to work in the coal mines. The 1910 census showed that Jarrett had a new wife named Mary. Children (and step-children) listed were sons Edge (Edgeworth), Norman, and Dan. Two daughters, Della and Manervia were also listed. Of these, only Manervia was the child of Jarrett and Mary. Curiously, a 24 year old female named Alice Horton (or Hoston) lived with them. Her relationship to the head of household was listed as “companion”. I am clueless as to who she was. Jarrett and his sons were coal miners, according to the census data. The census for that year incorrectly listed the place of birth for all of the children as being in Alabama.
According to stories passed down to Greg Lynch, Jarrett had a badge and a gun back then and was believed to be some sort of law enforcement officer. From stories that I have heard over the years from the Burr family (who were also coal miners in the same area) the mining camps were often rough, dangerous places. It is possible that Jarrett was some sort of constable or security person at the mining camp.
In review, it appears from the facts presented so far that the mother of Edge (Edgeworth) was Minerva Perkins Lynch. The mother of Norman, Dan, and Della (Mary I.) was Harriett Ellen Riley Lynch, and the mother of Manerva was Mary, Jarrett’s wife at the time of the 1910 census.
Later information shows that Mary’s middle name was Malinda and her nickname was Mollie. Her maiden name was Millikan and some of the census reports also used the spelling of Milligan. The history of the Millikan family is detailed in the later chapter appropriately titled “The Millikan Family History”.
Norman registered for the draft on June 5, 1917, in Brookside, Alabama. This document appears in Exhibit 19 but some of the vital information that he listed on the form was that he was born Norman Clark Lynch on April 13, 1893 in Crittenden, Kentucky. His obituary lists his birth date as April 7, 1893, but that is apparently incorrect. My mother said that Norman always told her that he was unlucky because he was born on the thirteenth. At the time of the registration he lived in Republic, Alabama and was employed as a coal miner at Sloss-Sheffield in Cardiff, Alabama.
His brother Dan also registered for the draft and listed his birth date as May 29, 1894, and his place of birth as Marion, Kentucky, which is in Crittenden County. His name was listed as Dan Stone on the form. Although an early census listed his first name as Daniel, most other records including his grave marker refer to his name simply as Dan. At the time of the draft registration, he was employed as a miner at the Republic Iron and Steel Company.
Although Dan was consistent in listing his birth date as May 29, I found a Kentucky birth record (Crittenden County) which is almost certainly that of Dan and it listed a birth date of May 25, 1894. Unfortunately, the child had not been named when the entry was made. As indicated by the excerpt above, the father was J. Linch and the mother’s maiden name was Ellen Riley. Other documents listed her as Harriett E. and this was the only one that I found which showed her middle name.
In 1920, the family still lived in Jefferson County. Jarrett’s wife was listed as Molly in the census for that year. Molly was apparently her nickname because as I stated earlier, her real name was Mary Malinda. Norman, Dan, and Manervia still lived in the household and a new son, Calvin, age four also appeared. Jarrett was in his early seventies at this time so apparently virility was a Lynch family trait!
As you can see from the census excerpt, Edgeworth did not appear in the 1920 census. I have not been able to track down exactly when he died but Mother thinks that Norman was pretty young at the time. She remembers that Norman called him Ed. Greg Lynch also remembered hearing Norman talk about him. His recollection of the stories is that Ed wore glasses most of his life and was in poor health. A story that Mother passed on to me was that Norman had never seen a dead person before Ed’s death. At that time, it was the custom to let a person’s body lie in state at their home instead of having a visitation at a funeral home. Norman had decided that he was not going to look at Ed’s body and succeeded until he looked into the mirror to comb his hair. In doing so, he unwittingly saw Ed in the mirror. Obviously it had an impact on Norman or he would not have recounted the story to Mother. Edgeworth “Ed” was buried in the old section of Bivens Chapel Cemetery. His grave is not marked but Norman knew which one it was for a while. He attempted to point it out many years later but was unable to identify it, probably because of landscaping work that had been done at the cemetery.
Della did not appear in Jarrett’s household in the 1920 census either. Mother’s recollection is that she married a Heron. I was able to verify this through the 1920 census. As noted from the excerpt, she was married to George Heron and had three children. At the time of the census, they lived in Coalburg. From the age of the oldest child, it appears that they were probably married around 1914. Her name was listed as Mary I. in the 1920 census. I was not able to determine what the “I” stood for and more specifically whether it was the root for the nickname Della. My hunch is that it was Idella but that is just my guess. Note from the census excerpt that she named her first daughter Sarah I.
Norman’s marital status on the 1920 census form is ambiguous because it looks like the census taker initially wrote one letter (a one letter code such as S for single was used) and then overwrote it with something else. My guess is that the status was initially recorded as W for widowed but then changed to D for divorced. At some point, Norman had a marriage previous to his marriage with Ada Hawk. Although the details are sketchy, I have attempted to offer what I could find out about her in the later chapter titled “Norman’s First Wife”.
Also of interest in the 1920 census was Jarrett’s next door neighbors, Waits Martin and family. Their significance will be explained later. As you can see from the census excerpt below, the Martins had two daughters, Gertrude and May (also identified in an earlier census as Maggie M.) The wife’s name is hard to read but it appears to be Josie. This makes sense because an earlier census identified her as Josephine.
Jarrett died on March 20, 1924. According to his death certificate (a copy is presented in Exhibit 20), he lived in Eldorado (Watson), Alabama at the time of his death. His wife was listed as Mollie and his occupation was “slate picker” at the Pratt Consolidated Coal Company.
The tombstone of “Mollie” shows her name as Mary Malinda Lynch. My mother’s recollection is that she married someone named Josh Cooley after Jarrett died. I was able to confirm this through the 1930 census which showed a head of household named Joshua Cooley with a wife named Mary M. and a son named Calvin Lynch living with them. At the time, they lived in upper Coalburg.
At the time of her death (May 10, 1956), she apparently lived with her son Calvin “Jake” Lynch. Her death certificate listed her address as Kimberly, Alabama and the informant was Mrs. Jake Lynch. She died from acute pulmonary edema due to heart disease.
Mother and I are a little curious as to why her tombstone shows her last name to be Lynch instead of Cooley. She is buried next to Jarrett in Bivens Chapel Cemetery in Jefferson County, Alabama. (See Exhibits for a photo of her marker.)
The census of 1930 showed that Mary I. “Della” and her husband had moved to a different area of Jefferson County – the “old Warrior to Birmingham road”. I believe that this was in the same general area that her brother Calvin “Jake” later lived. According to the census data, George was 22 and Della was 17 when they got married.
In 1930, the census (excerpt below) listed Norman’s brother Dan married to Lillian G. The numbers 26 and 16 in the right most columns of their names indicate their age when they were married. In addition to their children, a sister-in-law named Mae M. Martin lived with them. This makes sense because Dan married Waits Martin’s daughter, Lillian Gertrude Martin.
Dan and Gertrude’s daughter, Imogene married Tommy Gibson. Mary Jo married Hobson Leatherwood. Edward “Buddy” married Elrena Skelton. Joyce married Woodrow McGough. Dan and Gertrude also had two infant children who died at or shortly after birth.
Dan lived the remainder of his life in Republic, Alabama. He died on September 7, 1972, according to his death certificate and was buried in Bivens Chapel Cemetery close to the grave of Jarrett. His death certificate confirmed that his mother’s maiden name was Harriett Riley.
Minerva, the half-sister of Norman and Dan married Angus McDuffie. In 1930, they lived in the Eldorado section of Mineral Springs in Jefferson County. They later moved to Pratt City.
Calvin, the half-brother of Norman and Dan married Ethel Cargile on December 24, 1936. At the times that I can remember, they lived in Kimberly which is north of Gardendale, Alabama. Calvin was also known as Jake. A newspaper article concerning their anniversary appears in the Exhibits and documents the names of their children. Note that the article never mentioned the name Calvin.
As indicated in the newspaper article, Jake had a son named Henry C. In the next chapter, you will learn that Mary Malinda’s father was also named Henry C. It could just be coincidence, but I doubt it.
As a bit of review, Mary Malinda “Mollie” Millikan was the last wife of Jarrett Lynch. I was able to trace her family back to Solomon Millikan who was born around 1784 in North Carolina. As with all genealogical research, there is always the chance of coincidence playing a factor in tracing names through the census reports. However, I feel reasonably confident that I located the correct family. According to the 1850 census (Crittenden County, Kentucky), Solomon and his wife Nancy had a son named Jesse who was born around 1828. His name is a little hard to read but it is the third line on the census excerpt above. The different census reports varied somewhat on his reported age.
In 1860, Solomon and Jesse were next door neighbors. As indicated by the census excerpt at the left, Jesse and his wife Nancy had several children including a son named Henry C. Note that Solomon and his wife had two people named John and Caroline Belt living with them. Although their relationship to the Millikan’s (if any) was not listed in the census report, it is not inconceivable that Caroline was a daughter.
Earlier, I pointed out that a boy named Marion B. Belt lived in the Riley household. Although there are other explanations, it appears possible that Harriett Riley and Mary Malinda Millikan (the last two wives of Jarrett Lynch) could have been related.
I was unable to locate Jesse and his family in the 1870 census but in 1880 they were neighbors of a family who I believe was headed by his son, Henry C. Unfortunately, the census taker abbreviated their names and formed some of the letters in an ambiguous manner, making it difficult to determine their identity. I am not positive, but I think that the head of the second household was H.C. Millikan. In this household, there was a daughter named M.M. who I believe was Mary Malinda. Her age was listed as four which would have been correct because she was born in 1876 according to her grave marker. My theory was essentially confirmed when I obtained a copy of her death certificate. It listed her father as being Henry Millikan. According to the death certificate, her mother’s maiden name was Nations.
As I mentioned, Jesse and his family lived next door to his son Henry in 1880. A twelve year old girl named Mary A. Belt lived in the household with Jesse and his wife. Her relationship was listed as niece. This proves that the Belts were definitely related to the Millikans.
The census of 1900 listed Mary M. Millikan living in the household with Jesse and Nancy. According to the census, she was a granddaughter. Her brother William H. also lived there. I was not able to determine the status of her parents at the time but it would appear that they might have been deceased. Mary apparently married Jarrett Lynch a few years later.
Sometime between 1920 and 1930, Norman moved back to Kentucky and married Ada Evelyn Hawk. Ada was the daughter of Nancy Paralee Tarwater and Calvin Hawk. For more information about the Hawk and Tarwater family histories, I would refer the reader to The Ancestry of Calvin Hawk that I last revised in May of 2008. As indicated by the excerpt above, Norman and Ada were married on March 25, 1923, in Claiborne County, Tennessee. There is a three day waiting period for marriages in Kentucky and that is probably the reason for the marriage taking place there rather than in Kentucky.
In the 1930 census (taken on April 10 in Bell County, Kentucky), Norman and Ada had three children – Mary, Noble and Mable. They were neighbors of Calvin Hawk and family in Beans Fork. Norman was renting ($5 per month) and Calvin owned his own home, which the census indicated was valued at $1000. According to the census, Norman was age 36 and Ada was 21. Based on this information and the marriage record above, Norman was just a few weeks away from his 30th birthday when he got married and Ada was 14 years old.
Norman and Ada had eight children during their marriage. Although listing all of their names in this chapter departs somewhat from my chronological presentation, it is more straightforward to do so.
1. Mary Evelyn was born on December 7, 1924. She married James Marion Burr, the son of Nora Belle Brake and Lonnie Burr. James died on August 1, 1980.
2. Daniel Noble was born on April 27, 1927 and at the time of this writing he is living in Cookeville, Tennessee. He married Faye Garrett on July 14, 1947, in Middlesboro, Kentucky. Faye was born in Norwood, North Carolina on January 1, 1927, and died on February 5, 2008.
3. Mabel Loretta (also spelled Mable) was born on October 28, 1929 and died on February 2, 1998. She married Clifford Pressnell.
4. Inez O. was born on April 22, 1934 and married Andrew McCoy. They live in Bristol, Virginia.
5. Frances Jewel “Tootsi” was born on May 24, 1939 and died on June 16, 1989. She married Robert Louis “Bobby” Johnson. He was born on January 9, 1938, to Leslie and Frances Johnson. Bobby died on September 2, 1999.
6. James Douglas was born on August 18, 1941 and he is living in Middlesboro, Kentucky. He married Judy Sutton but they are divorced.
7. Dennis W. was born on February 17, 1949. He died on December 10, 2007.
8. Gregory C. was born on April 26, 1950. He and his wife Jayane live in Letcher County, Kentucky.
Norman and family moved to Jefferson County, Alabama sometime around 1932 and lived a few miles up the road from where I grew up and where my mother currently lives. Although the little community is designated as Watson by the Post Office, the school and the Baptist Church there always went by the name of Mineral Springs. I don’t know the exact location of Norman’s home but I believe that it was near an area that was referred to as “Cliff” when I was growing up. It was in the general direction of Fieldstown but farther east. Angus McDuffie, Norman’s brother-in-law, got Norman a job working in the coal mine with him and also secured him a rental house next door. The area was a large mining camp at the time. Apparently, that was the stimulus for moving from Kentucky. Mother has told me numerous stories over the years of her and her brother Noble crossing the railroad tracks and walking to school. From her accounts, they must have lived several miles from the school. I never realized that Mother went to Mineral Springs School (the same elementary school that I attended) until a few years ago.
They lived there a short time and then moved to Coalburg, Alabama which was a few miles away. Mother continued to attend Mineral Springs School. Her teacher was Ms. Arnold. Mother and her brother Noble walked the railroad tracks for a distance and then caught a bus to school. The railroad tracks ran past their house and the train engineer apparently got accustomed to seeing them each day and starting throwing them a block of ice on summer days
According to Mother, Mary Malinda Lynch Cooley (who had previously been married to Jarrett) lived nearby. Growing up, she was called “Ma Cooley” by Norman. Mother remembered her as being an albino and having very thick glasses. Noble Lynch, my uncle, also told me that she was indeed an albino, complete with pink eyes and extreme sensitivity to the sun. They lived at this location for a few years and then moved back to Kentucky.
Sometime around 1939, they moved back to Alabama once again. They rented a house next door to Lonnie and Belle Burr that was owned by the Skeltons. Norman got a job at a coal mine in Republic, Alabama. Mother met Lonnie and Belle’s son, James Marion Burr who was already working in the coal mines and they starting dating. A year or two later, the Lynch family decided to move back to Kentucky. Norman did not go back with them immediately but instead remained in Alabama to work for a short time.
In March of 1940, Norman mailed several letters from Republic, Alabama to various family members in Middlesboro, Kentucky. Mother still has the letters, one of which was addressed to Earnest Hawk. In part, it read (with some spelling corrections on my part) “I was weighed on the coal scales. My weight was 160 lbs. I am 34 around the waist. Tell the children they ain’t got nothing on me”.
James (my father) came to visit Mary (my mother) in Middlesboro, Kentucky in December of 1940 with the intention of them getting married. However, her mother was sick at the time and requested that they postpone the wedding. He returned in January and they were married on January 27, 1941 by Charles Everly, the preacher at Beans Fork Church of God. The wedding took place at the home of the preacher. Norman and Mary’s sister Mabel attended. Magalene Everly, a granddaughter of the preacher, was the official witness. Mary was 16 and James was 20.
After the wedding, they rode the bus back to Alabama and lived with Lonnie and Belle Burr (parents of James) in Watson, Alabama. James worked as a coal miner for the Brookside Pratt Mining Company. Before they came to Alabama to live, James had bragged about his car, a 1936 Ford. When they arrived, the car had a flat tire and Mother eventually found out that it was jointly owned with Lonnie.
After living with Lonnie and Belle for a few years, they bought an old house that they disassembled. They used the lumber to build a house next to Lonnie and Belle. Initially, it was a three room house with a front porch and a back porch. In the early 1950’s, the back porch was enclosed to form an extra bedroom for the growing family. Over the long course of their marriage, James and Mary had five sons.
1. Erroll Ray was born on Thursday, March 11, 1943.
2. James Michael “Mike” was born on Thursday, March 8, 1945.
3. I (Alan Terrell “Al”) was born on Sunday, February 1, 1948, at home in Watson, Alabama. Mother recalled that it had snowed earlier and there was still snow on the ground. The decision to have me at home was planned (no emergency) and most likely was influenced by economics. Although there were no complications that I am aware of, Mother never opted to have any more children at home.
4. Norman Randall “Randy” was born on Tuesday, March 14, 1950.
5. Timothy Mark “Tim” was the last child of James and Mary and was born on Tuesday, July 9, 1957. He was premature and had to stay in the hospital for several weeks.
My father (James) died on August 1, 1980, at University Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama after a lengthy battle with heart problems. His funeral was held at Bell’s Forestdale Chapel on Sunday, August 3. He was buried in Bivens Chapel Cemetery, just a short distance from where his parents, Lonnie and Belle were laid to rest.
At the time of this writing, Mother is still in good health and good spirits and takes an active role in the Mineral Springs Baptist Church where she has been a member for many years. She was, of course, a major contributor to this document and I greatly appreciate her sharing so many of her memories with everyone.
After moving back in the late 1930’s or very early 1940’s, Norman lived the remainder of his life in Bell County, Kentucky. As mentioned in an earlier chapter, four children were born between 1939 and 1950. Norman and Ada divorced and she married Raymond Sanford England in the mid 1950’s. I found a marriage record which showed that they were married on February 8, 1957, in Claiborne County, Tennessee. However, a few family members thought that they were married earlier. I suppose that they could have married earlier, divorced and then remarried in 1957. Later in life Ada married Tillman Keck after Sanford took his own life. Norman never remarried.
Norman, according to his son Greg, was an ardent union supporter and was the president of the Bell County Local for a number of years in the early 1950’s. Late in life, however, Greg asked him what he would have done differently in life if he could go back and change things. His reply was that he would not have been a union man. Apparently, his opinion of the union soured in his older years.
During the summer, I can remember Norman visiting many times and staying a week or two at a time. He had a brother named Dan who lived in Republic, Alabama that he usually visited during his trip to see us. A half-sister, Minerva Lynch McDuffie, lived in Pratt City and a half-brother, Calvin “Jake” lived in or near Kimberly. Minerva married Angus McDuffie and Calvin married Ethel Cargile. Since Norman usually rode the bus to Alabama to visit, he did not have any local transportation except for walking. However, he seemed to prefer walking to waiting or depending on someone else to come and get him.
Norman was an easy going man that I never remember seeing mad or upset with anyone. He was soft spoken but was certainly not quiet. Almost always, he was telling some rambling story. During some of his summer visits he would occasionally walk with me and my brothers, cousins, and friends to a swimming hole a few miles from our house. On the way, he would usually chew some tobacco and he never minded sharing a plug of tobacco with any curious person who asked. I always knew better, but a few times I tried it and every time I became sick within the hour.
Norman died on February 26, 1970 at age 76 in Middlesboro, Kentucky.
I have not been able to find out many details about Norman’s first wife but Mother remembers that her name was Lyscena Guthrie. I am just guessing about the spelling of her name so it could be different. Greg Lynch, one of Mother’s brothers, also remembers hearing some stories of her from Norman. According to Greg, her full name was Annie Lyscena Guthrie. Norman and Annie were married by Judge Abernathy in Jefferson County.
When Norman registered for the draft in June of 1917, he listed his marital status as single. At the time he was working as a coal miner in Cardiff, Alabama. Based on the information in the 1920 census which was taken in January of that year, it appears that Norman was divorced.
I attempted to locate a person named Lyscena or Annie who lived in Jefferson County during the appropriate time period. There was only one person listed in the census who seemed to be a good candidate. I am presenting the information that I found on her with the caveat that coincidence could account for the similarities.
The 1900 census listed a household headed by Thomas L. Guthrie who was born in February of 1865. He and his wife Mindie had a two year old daughter named Licena. The thing that caught my eye about this family was that they lived in Cardiff, which is the same small town where Norman had worked in the coal mine.
By 1910, Thomas and his family had moved to an area of Birmingham that was identified as 50th street on the outer margin of the census report. Assuming that the location was near downtown rather than Ensley, that would have been near the Woodlawn area. The 1910 census listed Thomas as Tom and Mindie as Minnie but their ages and the name of their son Marshall leaves little doubt that it is the same family. Note from the census excerpt above that their daughter was named Lycenia or Lyceine.
When the census was taken in 1920, Norman appeared to be already divorced as mentioned earlier. According to stories from Noble and Greg, the divorce was precipitated by Lycenia making some derogatory remarks about Norman’s mother.
After her divorce, I do not know whether Lycenia reverted back to her maiden name or remained a Lynch. I found a person listed in the 1920 census who could have been her. I offer it as a theory but there are other possibilities as well. The person was named Lyscena Lynch and as you can see from the census excerpt, there are a number of data points that match the identity of Norman’s first wife. The most obvious of course is her name but the fact that she was divorced and was the correct age is certainly interesting. At the time of the census, she worked as a nurse at the Birmingham Infirmary which later became known as the Baptist Medical Center – Princeton. Note that her status was listed as “boarder” on the census. During that era, it was common for nurses to live at the hospital where they worked.
According to Mother, Lycinia “was in the vicinity” one day and dropped by their house in Kentucky unexpectedly to see how things were going with Norman. Mother was very young at the time and does not remember many details of the visit but I suspect that Norman might have had some explaining to do after she left! Uncle Noble told me that Ada was not at all happy about the visit. Greg passed on a story from his Dad that the purpose of the visit was actually to try to get him to leave with her. Norman told her that he had a wife and children and refused to go. Noble also confirmed this account.
In January of 2005, my wife Donna and I visited the tiny town of Bell Buckle in Bedford County, Tennessee to see if we could locate the graves of some of the early Lynch family. The town is very small and quaint. I read a little bit of the history of its name while I was there and although the stories vary, they center around a bell buckle that was found carved on a tree in the early days. As a little background, a bell was often buckled around a cow’s neck so that it could be located easily when it ran free. Virtually all of the local historians agree that the bell buckle had some association with cows. Some folks think that the carving was a warning from the Indians to keep the cows out of their area. Others think that early surveyors may have carved the bell buckle to indicate that the land was suited for raising cattle.
We easily located two old cemeteries that contain the graves of many of the Lynch ancestors. The Old Salem cemetery is the final resting place for Gray Lynch, his wife Lebinda, their daughter Tennessee Rebecca, and many others. As you can see from the photos of their markers in the Exhibits, the preferred spelling seemed to be “Linch” rather than “Lynch” for that era or locality. Most of the family markers in the Old Salem cemetery used the Linch spelling.
Many of the markers are so old that most of the markings have worn off so that it is difficult or impossible to read the entire inscriptions. It is clear; however, from the remaining markings that many of the Lynch (Linch) ancestors are buried there. With the exception of Gray, Lebinda, and a few others, most of the Linch family graves are clustered together in a section of the cemetery. As I noted earlier, a Revolutionary War soldier named Robert Major is also buried with the Linch family.
The Hazel cemetery is just down the road from Old Salem and has many ancestral graves as well, although the cemetery is not as old as the Old Salem cemetery. It was established in 1888, according to the sign. On many of the older markers, the name is spelled “Linch” but many show “Lynch”, especially the new markers.
Both cemeteries were neat and clean with no obvious signs of neglect and vandalism which I think speaks highly of the little town.
I realize that I have covered a lot of ground in this book and that much of the information is confusing because of the number of names that were repeated over the years. For this reason, I am presenting a summary of the ancestry of my grandfather, Norman Lynch, which hopefully will be much easier to follow.
· William Lynch was born around 1752 in Brunswick County, Virginia. He had four wives and a total of thirty four children. William died in 1837 and left a will which named his living children.
· One of William’s sons was named Gray and he was born on April 13, 1788. Gray and some of his brothers moved to Georgia where he married Nancy Thomas. A son, Anslem, was born in Georgia around 1815.
· Gray and his family including Anslem moved to Bedford County, Tennessee in or near the small town of Bell Buckle. Gray had several other wives through the years and his last wife was Lebinda Banks Austin. On October 22, 1872, Gray died and was buried in the Old Salem Cemetery in Bell Buckle.
· Anslem married Ruhama Rushing, the daughter of Thomas Rushing. They had a number of children including a son named Jaratt who was born on July 26, 1847. Anslem lived most of his live in Bedford County but he and his family also lived for a while in Crittenden County, Kentucky in the early to mid 1850’s.
· Jaratt married Minerva H.C. Perkins on March 12, 1868, in Crittenden County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of A.B. Perkins. On July 1, 1890, Jaratt married Matilda C. Priest in Saline County, Illinois. Jaratt’s third marriage was to Harriet Ellen Riley which took place on September 10, 1892, in Hardin County, Illinois. Harriet was the daughter of Rhoda Malinda Miller and Thomas Riley. One of the sons of Jaratt and Harriet was named Norman and he was born on April 13, 1893, in Crittenden County, Kentucky which is just across the Ohio River from Hardin County, Illinois. Jaratt’s last wife was Mary Malinda “Mollie” Millikan. In the early 1900’s Jaratt, Mary, and their children moved to Jefferson County, Alabama where Jaratt died on March 20, 1924.
· Norman married Ada Evelyn Hawk on March 25, 1923. She was the daughter of Nancy Paralee Tarwater and Calvin Hawk. Eight children were born during the marriage of Norman and Ada. My mother, Mary Evelyn, was their first child. She was born on December 7, 1924.
· Norman died on February 26, 1970, in Middlesboro, Kentucky.