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THOMAS LYNCH, JR - Signer of the Declartion of Independence Biography by Appleton's edited by Stanley L. Klos

Thomas Lynch

Signer of the Declaration of Independence
 

THOMAS LYNCH, JR. was born on August 5, 1749 in Prince George's Parish, Winyaw, South Carolina. A fourth generation American, Thomas was the only son of Thomas and Elizabeth Allston Lynch, wealthy planters.

 

Young Thomas was sent at the age of twelve to England, where he was educated at Eton college and Cambridge university and studied law in the Temple, London. He returned home in 1772, before completing his courses, having decided against the legal profession. Instead, he settled down on Peach Tree plantation on the North Santee, which was given to him by his father, and he married Elizabeth Shubrick. He devoted himself to cultivating the plantation and took part in the public discussions of colonial grievances. He was elected to local public office at an early age, through his father's influence.

 

At the outbreak of the Revolution, Lynch was commissioned as captain of the first regiment of South Carolina. While raising his company he contracted swamp fever that left him a partial invalid for the rest of his life.

 

During his military service, Lynch's father, who was a delegate to the second continental congress, was stricken with paralysis and young Lynch had been unable to obtain from Col. Christopher Gadsden a leave of absence. However, his connection with the regiment was severed soon afterward by his unanimous election to be his father's successor.

 

On his arrival in Philadelphia, young Lynch took his seat in the congress of 1776, and was determined to stay long enough to help adopt and sign the Declaration of Independence. He impressed his colleagues with both his earnestness and eloquence. One of his last public acts was to affix his signature to the Declaration. 

In the fall of 1776, his health compelled him to return to South Carolina with his father. The elder Lynch died en route and his own health grew worse under these trying circumstances. With therapeutic hope, he and his wife embarked in 1779 for St. Eustatius, in the West Indies, where they expected to take passage in some neutral ship for the south of France. The vessel, in which they sailed on the first leg of their journey, was seen for the last time when it was a few days out at sea, and was presumed to have been lost in a storm.
 


 

 

Source: Centennial Book of Signers

 

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