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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


John Lynch

A worthy pioneer of Sonoma county and one who has won the highest regard of all who know him is the gentleman whose name heads this article. He was born in the county of Tyrone, Ireland, about the year 1831, a son of William and Catherine (McCue) Lynch, both natives of Ireland and farmers by occupation. Besides John there was a brother William who came to the United States and later to California and died in Petaluma; one sister, Catherine Lynch, also immigrated to the Golden West and is a resident of Petaluma.

John Lynch was reared and educated in his native heath, and like a great many of the young men of his locality, decided to investigate the conditions of the New World for himself and accordingly, in 1850, started for New York. Soon after his arrival he went to Swampscott, Mass., where he was variously employed until 1854, at which time he took passage for California via the Nicaragua route and landed in San Francisco April 15th, or 16th, that same year. He remained in the metropolis five years, working at any honest employment he could find, and being of a frugal nature, he saved some money from his earnings, and in January, 1859, came to Sonoma county and made a purchase of four hundred acres of land from Gen. M. G. Vallejo, that being the nucleus of his present ranch of six hundred and fifty acres. This land was in its primeval condition when he secured title to it, but he at once set to work to transom it into a prosperous ranch. He made all of the improvements seen on it today and had to haul fencing from Bodega. He raised grain, then bought fifty head of cattle and embarked in the stock business, which has gradually grown from that small beginning. Three hundred acres of his valuable ranch are under plow. Lynch creek, named for the owner, waters the place, besides a number of springs that flow the year round. Some years ago the Petaluma Water Company laid an injunction against Mr. Lynch, restraining him from using the water. The case was carried to the higher courts and was decided in favor of Mr. Lynch, thus establishing his riparian rights.

Mr. Lynch manages a large dairy, and brought in full blooded Durham cattle, and for some years he has been breeding full-blood Durhams. He is the second man in the locality to engage in raising shorthorn Durhams, and he has met with unqualified and deserved success. His ranch is located five miles north and east from Petaluma, about which he has constructed roads and otherwise improved his surroundings by using the Johnson patent gate. Everything about the ranch bespeaks the thought of the owner, who has been interested in the advancement of the countyís interests for more than half a century.

In 1859, in San Francisco, occurred the marriage of John Lynch and Mary Ann Riley, who was born in county Cavan, Ireland. She passed away on September 22, 1880. Of their children we mention the following: Joseph William, who died in June, 1907, was graduated from St. Maryís College in San Francisco and was employed as manager for Baker & Hamilton, in Los Angeles, for many years, and was thus engaged at the time of his death; John A. received a business education in Healdís Business College in San Francisco, and is now superintendent of the Lynch ranch; James M., also a graduate of this business college, is salesman for a Los Angeles packing company; Mary A. is Mrs. Eugene Sweeney, of Los Angeles; and Katherine E. and Susanna are both at home.

The family are members of St. Vincentís Catholic Church in Petaluma, and Mr. Lynch has been since its organization, assisting materially in its upbuilding. In politics he is a Democrat, and for many years has served on the county central committee.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011