Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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LYNCH, Charles, soldier, born in Virginia; died near Staunton, Campbell County, Virginia, about 1785. He was the colonel of a regiment of riflemen that behaved with gallantry at Guilford. The term "lynch law" is said to have been derived from his practice of executing without trial the members of a band of Tory marauders that infested the newly settled country. Another account derives the term from the summary methods taken by a planter named John Lynch to rid the region of outlaws and escaped slaves who took refuge in the Dismal Swamp. This may have been Colonel Charles's brother John, who founded the town of Lynchburg. Va., and who is said by some authorities to have been the original "Judge Lynch": while others trace the phrase back to one Lynch who was sent to America to punish pirates about 1687, or to the mayor of Galway, Ireland, who in 1493 executed his own son for murder. A tradition of the Drake family of North Carolina ascribes the phrase to the precipitate hanging, to prevent a rescue, of a Tory named Major Beard on Lynch creek in Franklin county, North Carolina When it was found that the Tories were not in pursuit, the captors went through the forms of a court-martial, and hanged the lifeless body in execution of its decree.--His son, Charles, born in Virginia; died near Natchez, Mississippi, 16 February, 1853, was governor of Mississippi from 1835 till 1837.
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