Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, JrThomas Lynch, Jr.

 

Thomas Lynch, Jr. was Born on August 5, 1749, in Prince George Winyah Parish, Lynch was the only son of Thomas Lynch, Sr. (1727–1776), and Elizabeth Allston. He attended the Indigo Society School in Georgetown and then traveled to England to pursue his education. There, he enrolled at Eton and then Caius College, Cambridge. Lynch also read law at the Middle Temple in London.

After his return to South Carolina in 1772, Lynch abandoned law career to become a planter at Peach Tree Plantation in St. James Santee Parish. On May 14, 1772, he married Elizabeth Shubrick, daughter of Thomas Shubrick and Sarah Motte. At his father’s advice, the younger Lynch shortly thereafter entered into the political arena. He served in the First and Second Provincial Congresses of South Carolina (1774–1776), he served on the constitutional committee of South Carolina (1776), and was in the first General Assembly (1776). In June 1775 Lynch received a commission as captain in the First South Carolina Regiment. While in North Carolina in July 1775, Lynch contracted malaria that left him in poor health which forced to leave the military.

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Lynch’s father had been elected to the First Continental Congress in 1774 but suffered a stroke in early 1776 that left him unable to perform his duties, it was at this time that the younger Lynch joined his father in Philadelphia and took his father’s place in Congress on April 24. Only twenty-six years old and the second-youngest member of Congress, Thomas Lynch, Jr., was the fifty-second signer of the Declaration of Independence. His father was too sick to sign, but there was a space left for his signature for when he returned. The father and son left Philadelphia in December 1776 to return to South Carolina, but the senior Lynch had a stroke and died during the trip.

Thomas Lynch, Jr. was reelected in 1779, but his diminishing health from the malaria that he had contracted while in the military prevented him from completing his full term. Lynch was advised by a doctor that it would be best to move to France, so on December 17, 1779, Lynch and his wife set sail for the south of France. On their way to the West Indies to connect to another ship which would take them to France their ship was lost at sea.

Bailey, N. Louise, and Elizabeth Ivey Cooper, eds. Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Vol. 3, 1775–1790. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1981.

Horne, Paul A., Jr. “Forgotten Leaders: South Carolina’s Delegation to the Continental Congress, 1774–1789.” Ph.D. diss., University of South Carolina, 1988.

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