The Two Sick Thomas Lynchs
Thomas Lynch and his son, Thomas Lynch Jr, were American Patriots whose story ended just when they were about to make history.
Thomas Lynch Jr
Thomas Lynch Jr was fresh off a lengthy stay in England when tensions with Parliament rose to a fevered pitch. He threw the knowledge he received from his London education into the rebellion on behalf of his home: South Carolina.
Lynch Jr was elected to the Provincial Congress where he assisted in establishing a new State government. He was soon after commissioned as a Company Commander in the First South Carolina Regiment.
During the march to Charlestown, Lynch Jr fell ill with a fever. Before he could recover enough to lead his soldiers, Lynch Jr received some bad news…his father had a stroke.
Thomas Lynch Sr
Thomas Lynch Sr had been serving in the South Carolina Colonial Legislature when he was sent as a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress. Here, he was chair of the committee which authored a letter to the House of Commons.
Lynch Sr would continue as a strong advocate for colonial rights for the next decade. Eventually, he would be selected for the First Continental Congress where he signed the Articles of Association.
Lynch Sr would return to the Second Continental Congress who sent him, with Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Harrison, to Massachusetts. They discussed with George Washington how Congress could best assist the Continental Army. The result were armed ships which harassed the British and became known as ‘Washington’s Navy.’
After his return to Philadelphia, Thomas Lynch Sr had a stroke.
After Lynch Sr’s stroke, South Carolina sent Lynch Jr as an additional delegate to the Continental Congress. Jr assisted in his father’s recovery while attending sessions of the Congress.
It was at this time that Thomas Lynch Jr signed the Declaration of Independence. Although the elder Lynch was in Philadelphia and a delegate at the time, his health prevented him from being another signer.
In December 1776, the father and son left the Continental Congress to return home. While stopped in Baltimore, Thomas Lynch Sr had another stroke and passed away.
Thomas Lynch Jr retired from public life soon after his father’s death.
Having never fully recovered from his own sickness, he decided to travel to the West Indies to recuperate. Lynch Jr and his wife departed in late 1779, and shortly after, their ship was lost at sea.
At 30 years old, Thomas Lynch Jr was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence to die. If Thomas Lynch Sr had the strength to autograph that document, he would have been the first to pass away.
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