John Lynch (1740–1820)

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John Lynch, the founder of the city of Lynchburg, VA, was born August 28, 1740 in Albemarle County, VA and died on October 31, 1820 in Lynchburg.

Early life[edit]

Lynch's father was Charles Lynch, who was born in Galway, Ireland, but immigrated to Virginia in 1720 and prospered. Charles Lynch married Sarah Clarke in 1733 and moved near the present site of Lynchburg. John Lynch was one of six children they had.

Founding of Lynchburg[edit]

The Lynch Ferry across the James River was established by the family about 1745. In 1757, seventeen year old John Lynch took over control of the ferry business. Years later, first in 1784 and again in 1786, Lynch petitioned the General Assembly of Virginia for a charter to establish a town on the bluffs above the ferry upon land Lynch had inherited from an older brother. The 1786 petition was granted and the town of Lynchburg was founded.


John Lynch freed his own slaves during his lifetime and consistently supported the antislavery movement.[1]


  1. ^ "John Lynch to Thomas Jefferson, 25 December 1810". Retrieved May 17, 2017.


Elson, James M. Lynchburg, Virginia: The first two hundred years 1786 – 1986. Lynchburg: Warwick House Publishing, 2004.

Loyd, Richard and Mundy, Bernard. Lynchburg: A pictorial history. Virginia Beach: Donning Company, 1975.

Chambers Jr., S. Allen, Lynchburg: An Architectural History. University Press of Virginia, 1981.

Scruggs, Philip Lightfoot, The History of Lynchburg, Virginia 1786-1946. J. P. Bell, 1978.