Thomas Lynch was the son of a gentleman of the same name, and was born on the fifth of August, 1749, at Prince George’s Parish, in the province of South Carolina. Along the Santee (remember the Patriot?) River. He was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence to die.
In 1775, on the raising of the first South Carolina regiment of provincial regulars, he was appointed to the command of a company. Having received his commission, he soon enlisted his quota of men, in some of the neighboring counties, and at the head of them took up his march for Charleston. Unfortunately, during the march he was attacked by a violent bilious fever, which greatly injured his constitution, and from the effects of which he never afterwards entirely recovered.
On his recovery, he joined his regiment, but was at this time unable, from the feeble state of his health, to perform the duties of his station according to his wishes. Added to this affliction, the unwelcome intelligence was received of the dangerous illness of his father, who was at that time attending in his place upon congress in Philadelphia. He immediately made the necessary arrangements to hasten to a dying father, if possible to administer to him the support and consolation which an affectionate son only could impart. To his surprise, his application for a furlough for this purpose was denied by the commanding officer, Col. Gadsden. This disappointment, however, and the controversy which grew out of the above refusal, were terminated by his election to congress, as the successor of his father. He now lost no time in hastening to Philadelphia, where he found his father still living, and so far recovered that the hope was indulged that he might yet be able to reach Carolina.
The health of the younger Mr. Lynch, soon after joining, congress, began also to decline with the most alarming rapidity. He continued, however, his attendance upon that body, until the declaration of independence had been voted, and his signature affixed to that important instrument. He then set out for Carolina in company with his father, who had hitherto been detained by feeble health in Philadelphia; but the father lived only to reach Annapolis, when a second paralytic attack terminated his valuable life.
After this afflicting event, the son proceeded to Carolina but such was his own enfeebled state of health, that he had little reason to anticipate the long continuance of life. A change of climate, in the view of his physicians and friends, presented the only hope of his ultimate recovery. A voyage to Europe was at that time eminently hazardous, on account of exposure to capture. A vessel, however, was found proceeding to St. Eustatia, on board of which, accompanied by his amiable and affectionate wife, he embarked, designing to proceed by a circuitous route to the south of France.
From the time of their sailing, nothing more is known of their fate. Various rumors were from time to time in circulation concerning the vessel in which they sailed, but their friends, after months of cruel suspense, were obliged to adopt the painful conclusion, that this worthy pair found a watery grave during some tempest, which must have foundered the ship in which they sailed.
Although the life of Mr. Lynch was thus terminated, at an early age, he had lived sufficiently long to render eminent services to his country, and to establish his character as a man of exalted views and exalted moral worth. Few men possessed a more absolute control over the passions of the heart, and few evinced in a greater degree the virtues which adorn the human mind. In all the relations of life, whether as a husband, a friend, a patriot, or the master of the slave, he appeared conscious of his obligations, and found his pleasure in discharging them.