Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Apple of his father's eye, Lynch, Jr.,
Inherited prestige and political grace;
But tragedy was a visitor
For both of them to face.
The family from which Thomas Lynch, Jr., descended is thought to have originally emigrated from Austria to England, where they settled and from where sometime later a branch left for Ireland. Some of those descendants later sailed to South Carolina.
Jonack Lynch, the great grandfather of Thomas Lynch, Jr., emigrated from Ireland to America soon after the settlement of the colony. At his death, he left his son a very little money which was used to buy land and cultivate rice. The rice was to bring a fortune.
Thomas Lynch, Jr., attended the Indigo Society School at nearby Georgetown, and then he studied abroad at Eton seminary school and Cambridge and read law in London. He observed the hufty-tufty attitude of the British statesmen toward the colonies, and he longed to be back in his native land. Upon his return home, he married a childhood sweetheart named Elizabeth Shubrick and settled at Peach Tree Plantation, a gift from his father who by this time had become a fervent revolutionary.
During the years 1774-76, while his father served in the Continental Congress, Lynch, Jr., labored on the home front, attending the first and second provincial congresses, as well as the first State legislature, and sitting on the State constitutional committee. In 1775, he accepted a captaincy in the First South Carolina Regiment of Continentals. On a recruiting trip to North Carolina, young Lynch contracted bilious fever. This rendered him a partial invalid for his remaining years.
Early in 1776 at Philadelphia, the elder Lynch suffered a paralytic attack that virtually incapacitated him for further public service. In the spring, his colleagues in South Carolina elected his son to the Continental Congress; and although ill himself, Lynch made the trip to Philadelphia. He stayed there throughout the summer, long enough to vote for and sign the Declaration of Independence. He then set out with his father for Carolina; but the father lived only to reach Annapolis, when a second paralytic attack took his life.
His son, broken in spirit and physically unable to continue in politics, retired to his home. Late in 1779 he and his wife, hoping a change of climate would help his recovery, boarded a ship bound for the West Indies. The ship disappeared, and the young couple was never heard from again.
"That a man of so much excellence, of such ability and integrity, such firmness and patriotism, so useful to his country, so tender and assiduous in all the obligations of life, should have been thus cut off, in the midst of his course, and in a manner so painful to his friends, is one of those awful dispensations of Him whose way is in the great deep, and whose judgments are past finding out." Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Page 447.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.