4 November 2012

Clay Hardin Lynch

1846 — 1925



C. H. Lynch Passes Away At Davenport, Iowa
Services to Be From Residence of Dr. Fiegenbaum

Taps sounded this morning for Clay H. Lynch, Justice of the Peace for Edwardsville Township, a Civil War veteran and one of the well-known residents of this city and vicinity.  His death occurred this morning at 5:30 o'clock at St. Lukes Hospital at Davenport, Ia., where he has been a patient since August 8.  An injury sustained during the summer when struck by an automobile, a malignant growth, which developed later, a fractured leg sustained a few days ago, contributed to the death and caused his case to become a very complex one.

Just thirteen months to the day, on December 2, 1923, Mrs. Lynch expired at her home here.  A short time afterwards he went to Wood River to make his home with a daughter, Mrs. E. E. Endicott and he made daily trips to Edwardsville to look after his business affairs and matters in his court.

During the summer he was accidentally struck by an automobile at Wood River and had a partial recovery from the injury.  Other ailments began developing a short time afterwards and the growth is believed to be an outcome of the accident.  Later in the summer he went to Moline, Ill., to visit a daughter and he had a decided change for the worst.  He was taken to the hospital.

On November 8, he was being moved from the hospital to the office of the attending surgeon for x-ray pictures.  While standing alone his leg gave way and he fell.  The bone had splintered and that added the final complication.

Relatives had been advised of his critical condition but had hopes of his recovery.  Mrs. Endicott received a telegram last night that he was not so and it was followed with another this morning of the end.

The body will be started for Edwardsville this afternoon and will arrive here Saturday morning.  It will be take to the home of Dr. E. W. Fiegenbaum and funeral services are to be held from there Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock.  Rev. M. C. Foltz will have charge.  Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Justice Lynch was a native of Ft. Russell Township, his parents being among the early settlers in one of the pioneer communities of Illinois.  He was born on a farm north of Edwardsville on July 13, 1846 and had attained the age of 78 years, 6 months and 19 days. 1 

He was a youth of about 16 years of age when the Civil War started and he was one of the many Madison County youths who joined the Union forces.  The time spent in the service and afterwards in attending were the only periods he was out of the county for an extended time.  He was a member of a company and regiment which saw considerable hard service and was with Sherman on his march to the sea. 2 

His mother died when he was three years of age and his father lost his life during the Civil War. 3   Returning home after the war he made his home with Judge Gillespie, reading law under him and who later sent him to study law at Ann Arbor, Michigan. 4   He practiced law more or less, used it in his business and the legal knowledge was especially beneficial while serving as a Justice of the Peace.  At one time he and the late Moses Sherman operated a commission house here.

On March 20, 1884, he was married to Miss Martha L. Fiegenbaum and the ceremony being performed at the residence of Dr. Fiegenbaum.  He is survived by six children.  They are:  Mrs. Everett Endicott and Edward Lynch of Wood River; I. C. Lynch of Louisville, Ky; Mrs. Perry Waite David, Reynolds, Illinois, Mrs. Ira Cook of Moline, Illinois and Harris Lynch of Edwardsville.

His only brother, Daniel A. Lynch died two years ago.  He is survived by a sister, Mrs. Mary Sheppard of Springfield, Illinois and three half sisters, Mrs. Matilda Womack, Collinsville, Mrs. Robert Harbison, St. Louis and Mrs. J. W. Judd.  Judge Lynch held several public offices during his life.  He is a former alderman, served Madison County as State's Attorney, was public administrator for Madison County and has lately been justice of the peace.  He was a member of the Odd Fellows for many years and a member of the lodge will take part in the funeral services.  He took a great interest in the activities of Edwardsville Post G. A. R. for many years, helped hold the organization together as the ranks were depleted and has been treasurer of the post.

Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois); Friday, January 2, 1925. Transcription courtesy of Kelly Collins.


  1. There is a slight error in this calculation. Based on the dates of birth (13 July 1846) and death (2 January 1925) reported in this obituary, Clay H. Lynch would have been 78 years, 5 months, 20 days old at the time his death.

    The exact date of Clay's birth is not certain. According to information recorded on his marriage license in May 1884, he would have been born about 1847-1848. The undertaker who supplied the personal information for Clay's death certificate in 1925 stated that he was born on 13 July 1847 and died at the age of 77 years, 5 months, 10 days. The birth date inscribed on Clay's gravestone is 14 June 1846. And finally, his brother-in-law, Dr. Edward William Fiegenbaum, in a May 1925 response to the Alumni Office of the University of Michigan, reported that Clay had died at the age of 79 years, which would calculate to a birth from about January 1845 to January 1846. A resolution of this question will require further research.

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  2. Clay H. Lynch had served as a private in Company H of the 150th Regiment of the Illinois Infantry. He enrolled at the age of 18 years on 6 February 1865 at Alton, Madison County, Illinois and was mustered out on 16 January 1866 at Atlanta, Georgia.

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  3. Clay's father, John Lynch, served as a Private in Company A, 39th Regiment, Illinois Infantry. He was age 44 and a resident of St. Louis, Missouri when he joined on 31 October 1861. He was mustered out on 29 October 1864 when his three year enlistment expired. He passed away on 28 March 1866 at New Orleans, Louisiana and was buried there in Locust Grove Cemetery. As a result of subsequent desecration of that burial ground, a memorial maker has been erected to John Lynch in Woodlawn Cemetery at Edwardsville, Illinois, where other members of his family are buried.

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  4. Clay graduated with an L.L.B degree from the University of Michigan in 1871. According to biographical information published in 1882:

    Clay H. Lynch received a common school education in the district schools of his native county (Madison), and at the age of twenty-one commenced the study of law in the office of Hon. David Gillespie. Having read law two years, in 1870 he entered the law department of the University of Michigan, from which institution he graduated in 1871. Soon after finishing his course he opened a law office and practiced two years, at the end of which time he quit law and engaged in the grain trade. In January, 1881, he resumed his legal practice, and now bids fair to make a successful attorney.

    History of Madison County, Illinois; Illustrated; With Biographical Sketches Of Many Prominent Men And Pioneers (Edwardsville, Illinois: W. R. Brink and Company, 1882); page 195.

    David Gillespie (1828-1881), mentioned in the selection above, was a prominent lawyer and judge in Madison County, Illinois. One of his two daughters, Julia B. Gillespie (1856-1886) was the first wife of Clay's brother-in-law, Dr. Edward William Fiegenbaum (1854-1927).

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Odd Fellows and American Legion Have Parts in Service

Funeral Services were conducted yesterday afternoon from the residence of Dr. E. W. Fiegenbaum for Justice of the Peace C. H. Lynch whose death occurred last week at St. Luke's Hospital at Davenport, Ia., where he was a patient the past five months, undergoing a surgical operation for a malignant growth.  A fall during November shattered a bone in one of his legs and was the result of the final complication.

The funeral was a big one, a large number of men being present.  They included members of Edwardsville Lodge of Odd Fellows, Edwardsville Post American Legion, several Civil War veterans and friends.

Rev. M. C. Foltz, pastor of St. John's M. E. church had charge of the religious services.  His subject was, "The Meaning of Life."  It was taken from the verse, "For what is your life," found in James 4-16.

Three vocal selections were rendered at the services at the home.  Mrs. George W. Meyer sang a solo, "My Ain Countrie."  Mrs. Meyer, Miss Caroline Wolf, J. G. Delicate and Chas. A. Sheppard composed a quartet which sang the other two selections.  They were, "Rock of Ages," and "On Jordan's Stormy Banks."

The Odd Fellows and American Legion had charge at the grave.  Ray Stullken as noble grand and George C. Stullken as chaplain had the principal part for the Odd Fellows.  Judge Wilbur A. Trares, as chaplain, gave the last rites of the American Legion.  A salute by the firing squad and Taps concluded.

Three sons and three sons-in-law served as pallbearers.  They were I. C. Lynch, Louisville, Ky., Edward Lynch, Wood River; Harris Lynch, Edwardsville; Everett E. Endicott, Wood River; Perry W. Davis, Reynolds, Ill., and Ira R. Cook, Moline, Ill.

The American Legion was called upon to take part at the services through the decreasing number of Civil War veterans.  A dozen in uniform marched to the cemetery.

Those who attended from other cities were:  Mr. and Mrs. Robert Harbison Sr. and children, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Harbison, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Herb Harbison, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Herder and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ramey of St. Louis; Otto Fiegenbaum, Chester; Miss Mary Sheppard and Irby Sheppard, Springfield; Mrs. Emil Libby and son of Collinsville; Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Tipton; Mr. and Mrs. W. Penrose and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Bender of Wood River.

Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois); Monday, January 5, 1925. Transcription courtesy of Kelly Collins.

Brief Genealogy

Clay Hardin Lynch's family

Martha Lizette Fiegenbaum's family

Lynch - Fiegenbaum family

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