Date of Award

Summer 1955

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science


Short sketches bearing activities and incidents in the life of Charles Lynch are frequently found in books dealing with the history of lynch law, in genealogies of colonial Virginians, in histories of Lynchburg, Virginia, or in scattered contributions to magazines. Each of these sources contains fundamentally the same information, (i.e., a list or his political offices,reputation as a zealous patriot, and his association with the term: lynch law), although there is some variation to be found. The purpose of this paper, therefore, has been to bring together all the miscellaneous bits of information pertaining to Charles Lynch which are already known, and where possible, to add some new material. It is believed that the sections relating to Lynch 's activities with the Quakers , his work in manufacturing saltpeter and gunpowder, and his management of the lead mines, contain more information than bas hitherto been published.

Charles Lynch was a relatively obscure character during the Revolutionary period. Few of his writings have been preserved, and as a result, there are gaps in his life about which little is known. Elsewhere fragments of information set off by themselves are found which often have little or no meaning. It has been necessary, there­ fore, to speculate a great deal as to the reasons which prompted Lynch to act as he did. In most every instance of speculation, the writer bas done his own rationalizing, and he must assured responsibility for any inaccuracies of interpretation.