The Lynch Family
Lynch, Martin


Family Links

Cullen, Anastasia

Lynch, Martin

  • Born: 1797, Aeaun Bridge, CAR, Leinster, IRL
  • Marriage: Cullen, Anastasia
  • Died: 1852, Guelph, , ON, CAN
  • Buried: St. Joseph's Cem, Guelph - Blk D Sec 43 Grave 43

bullet  General Notes:

This family history concerns itself with Martin Lynch and his descendants, with some background on the origin of the Lynches, a brief account of conditions in Ireland in the early 1800*s and of their township, church and school in Upper Canada.

The Lynch surname, which is among the hundred most common in Ireland, is of dual origin. It can be traced back to the native Gaelic name "0*Loingsigh" and also to the Norman name "de Lench". Even though the Norman Lynches came to Ireland after the O'Loingsighs had long been established there, and although they remained far outnumbered by the latter, they have been more prominent in Irish history because of the leading role they played among the tribes of Galway. It was a Norman Lynch who procured the charter for the city of Galway from Richard III in 1484 and between then and 1654, 84 mayors of the city came from the Lynch family. The family was also prominent in ecclesiastical spheres, with a number of priests, bishops and religious writers to its credit.

The Gaelic Lynches were dotted throughout the country in several small independent septs. Although their overall influence was perhaps less great than that of their Norman namesakes, they did produce several notable individuals. For example, Clare born Patrick Lynch (1757-1818), the linguist and Gaelic scholar and John Joseph Lynch (1818-1888) of Breffny who became Archbishop of Toronto in 1869. Thomas Lynch (1749-1779), a third generation Irish-American was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. It was not known from which branch Martin descended.

The term "lynch law" is said to be named after Charles Lynch (1736-1796), who was justice of the peace in Bedford County, Virginia and meted out his own justice when the ordinary state of affairs was disrupted by the Revolutionary War. Another account traces the term back to the Mayor of Galway who, in 1493, had his own son executed for murder.

At the time of Martin Lynch's birth in 1797 in County Carlow, Ireland, the country was plagued by uprisings, internal dissensions and the growing threat of a French invasion. The standard of living was very low, 90% of the population depended on casual farm work and there was 75% unemployment. The Irish peasant never ate meat and was dependent on potatoes stretched out with meal.

Since parish registers did not commence until the 1820's, nothing is known of Martin's parents or the townsland where he lived in Carlow. He married Anastasia Cullen, who was born in 1804, and they had four sons in Ireland: John in 1823, James in 1825, Michael in 1827 and Thomas in 1830.

As Upper Canada (Ontario) needed immigrants to settle newly surveyed lots, land companies advertised extensively in the British Isles. One of these, the Canada Land Company, was opening up several areas in the 1820's, one area being Puslinch Township.

The following is a sample of the advice given to the emigrants: "Every young farmer or labourer going out who can pay for the passage of two should take an active young wife with him. As the settlers must scramble about in all weathers, stout flannels and coarse clothing must not mind fashion. The best coat and breeches are those that can come farthest through the brush with fewest holes in them. Above all things, do not take your decanter or your corkscrew. You are going to a country where you may literally swim in whiskey or gin and pretty nearly in brandy and rum but resolve never to taste either. Drinking is the great vice of the country."

Martin and Anastasia decided to leave their homeland and sailed early in the year 1832, with their four young sons. Extensive research has failed to find them on any ships' lists; this is not unusual since the records are very sparse for that time period. It seems that the Lynches left Ireland none too soon. The potato crop failed in 1832, 1836, 1837, 1839, 1841 and 1844; utter starvation prevailed and the mass exodus from Ireland to the United States and Canada began. One million Irish emigrated in the early 1800's. The fare to New York was seven pounds and the voyage across the Atlantic took from six to eight weeks. The ships were ancient, leaking and overcrowded and the passengers slept on the floor. There were no sanitary facilities and hundreds died of cholera, dysentery, exposure and malnutrition. One often wonders how the early settlers in our country survived the appalling voyage and the hardships associated with life in the virgin bush, but after considering conditions in their homeland, at least on this side of the Atlantic they could hope for a much better life for themselves and their descendants.

MARTIN LYNCH (1797-1852)
Puslinch September 25 1832
Honourable Peter Robinson Commissioner of Crown Lands York

Honourable Sir,

Your Petitioner begs leave to lay my disappointed case before you and humbly hope you will seriously consider how distressing this matter is.

I came to this country last spring with a large family and being advised by acquaintances and friends of mine to settle in Puslinch and being told that land would be sold any other way than by auction I took the liberty to go on No. 15 rear half 4th Concession on which I have cleared 3 acres and raised a good shantie. But I understand that a man named John Rooney has taken it from your Honour but it was No. 14 he intended to have and it appeared to be a mistake in giving the wrong No. at the Office. And I am informed by people that is well acquainted with said Rooney that he is only a speculator and never intends to become an actual settler. Now I have only to refer the case to your consideration and humbly hope you will justify me as far as is consistent.

I am Honourable Sir with much Respect Your Obedient Servant Martin Lynch P.S.

PS I should have remarked that a man named B. Collins drew Lot No. 15 from your Honour but when he found that I was living on the lot he would have nothing to do with it but went on No. 17.

Research at the Ontario Archives in Toronto disclosed this letter which is our introduction to Martin Lynch in Puslinch Township. Incidentally, he was allowed to remain on Lot 15.

Four more children were born to Martin and Anastasia in this country - Mary in 1834, Patrick in 1837, Margaret in 1839 and Sarah Ann in 1842.

On 18 Feb 1847 Martin purchased another 100 acre farm Front Half of Lot 13 Concession 4 and on 1 May 1851 he bought the Rear Half of this same lot.

In 1852 Martin developed pneumonia, the wrong medicine was sent out from Guelph and he died. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Guelph which was beside St. Bartholomew's Church on the hill. His remains were moved to the new St. Joseph's on 12 Nov 1862 and interred in Block D Section 43 Grave 43.

Martin had made his last will and testament on 14 Aug 1851 and named his son, Thomas, and neighbours James Doyle and David Stirton his executors. When the will was probated on 7 Nov 1853, the executors swore that Martin's total personal estate was under two hundred pounds in British currency, which Canada used until 1855. Thomas appears to be the favoured son but Martin had already helped James and Michael get started farming, John was simple minded and Patrick was still young. The will seems to provide adequately for his wife and three daughters.


I Martin Lynch considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound mind and memory (Blessed be God Almighty for the same) do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following (that is to say).

First I give and bequest unto my son Thomas Lynch all my right and interest in a certain lot of land situated and being known as the south half of lot thirteen in the fourth Concession of the Township of Puslinch County of Waterloo and Province aforesaid with all building and tenements thereto belonging. I also give and bequeath to my son Thomas Lynch all my personal property which I may be possessed of at my decease (with the exception of two notes of land which I hold which may be known by the following description: The first bearing date the 23rd April 1849 signed by James Lynch payable January 1 1852. The second bearing date August 21 1849 signed by Michael Lynch payable January 1 1853 both drawn in my favour).

The above bequests being subject nevertheless to the following conditions (that is to say): That the said Thomas Lynch do pay all my just and lawful debts and also all necessary expenses connected with my funeral and also the following portions and bequests to the following members of my family.

I order that the said Thomas Lynch do build a good and sufficient habitable house on the north-west corner of the aforenamed lot of land such house to be at least of the value of 25 pounds and enclose a square plot of ground on said lot adjoining said house with a good and lawful fence such plot to contain five acres - such plot of ground and house to be for the sole use of my beloved Wife Ann Cullen during her natural life. I also order that the aforesaid Thomas Lynch shall pay on the first day of January in each year during the natural life of my wife Ann Cullen the sum of ten pounds unto her which said legacy given to my said wife as aforesaid I hereby declare is intended to her and is so given to be in full satisfaction and recompense of and for her dower and thirds she may or can in my wise claim or demand out of my estate.

I also order that the said Thomas Lynch shall pay unto my eldest son John Lynch the sum of seventy five pounds in money following: twenty five pounds on the first day of February in the year 1853 and the remaining fifty pounds in four equal instalments of 12 pounds 10 shillings each on the first days of February in the years 1854, 1855, 1856 and 1857.

And I further order that my son Thomas Lynch shall at the decease of my wife Ann Cullen give a good and sufficient deed of the above named plot of five acres of land on the north-west corner of the above named lot of land with all the houses and tenements thereto belonging to my oldest son John Lynch such seventy five pounds and plot of ground being his portion of my estate.

And I further order that my son Thomas Lynch shall pay unto my eldest daughter Mary Lynch when she shall arrive at the age of twenty one years the sum of twenty five pounds such sum being her portion of my estate.

And I also order that my son Thomas Lynch shall pay unto my daughter Margaret Lynch the sum of twenty five pounds the same to be paid to her when she arrives to the age of twenty one years such sum being her portion of my estate.

And I further order that my son Thomas Lynch shall pay unto my youngest daughter Sarah Ann Lynch when she shall arrive at the age of twenty one years the sum of twenty five pounds such sum being her portion of my estate.

I also give and bequeath to my youngest son Patrick Lynch the aforenamed two notes of land bearing date and falling due as described in the former part of this document such notes and the interest accruing from the same to be held in the safe keeping of the Executors of this my last Will and Testament for the sole use and benefit of my son Patrick Lynch and to be payed over to him by them when he arrives at the age of twenty one years.

I also order that in case any of the aforenamed children of mine should die previous to their attaining the age of twenty one years or previous to receiving his or her portion named as above then such portion or portions shall be divided equally among the residue of my children then living.

And I do further order that my son Thomas Lynch do pay for any charges that may be incurred in giving a reasonable education to my children Patrick, Margaret and Sarah Ann.

And I do further authorize and command the Executors of this my last Will and Testament to use all lawful means to enforce the fulfillment of the conditions of this document.

And I do further order that my son Thomas Lynch shall deliver up on the first day of April 1853 a certain grey belly sow in my possession to my eldest son John Lynch.

And I hereby constitute and appoint my son Thomas Lynch, James Doyle and David Stirton Esq. sole executors of this my last Will and Testament in witnesses whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the fourteenth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one.

Martin X Lynch

It seems strange that Puslinch Township is in Waterloo County when Martin's will was drawn up. Even though it had been administered by the Wellington District Council from 1846-1849, Puslinch sent representatives to the Waterloo County Council in 1850 and 1851. Ontario was Upper Canada until Confederation in 1867.

As instructed in his father's will, Thomas did fence off the five acres and built a little house for his mother where she lived for thirty one years with her son, John.

Anastasia's grandson, Michael Patrick Lynch, contracted a severe case of measles when he was 10. Anastasia prayed that God would take her and spare the child; she died that night, 7 Aug 1883, in her 79th year and Michael recovered.

Her obituary states: "She was quiet and unassuming in her manner and was very much respected by her friends and neighbours". Friends and acquaintances were invited to attend the funeral. She was buried two days later beside her husband in Block D Section 43 Grave 44.

Martin and Anastasia's eldest child, John, was born in County Carlow in 1823. He was simple or "innocent" as it used to be called, and lived with his parents. After his father died, he lived with his mother on the five acres for which he received the patent on 21 June 1873.

John died 7 July 1898 from inflammation of the lungs and was buried the next day beside his parents in Block D Section 43 Grave 42 in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Guelph.

bullet  Birth Notes:

Initial birth location was shown as Monemore, Aeaun Bridge, Carlow, Leinsster, Ireland.. Genealogy Program does not recoginize Monemore.


Martin married Anastasia Cullen. (Anastasia Cullen was born in 1804 in Coorleagh, KIK, Leinster, IRL, died on 7 Aug 1883 in Guelph, , ON, CAN and was buried in St. Joseph's Cem, Guelph - Blk D Sec 43 Grave 44.)


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