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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing),
Lynch, William Francis 1801- 1865 (search)
Lynch, William Francis 1801-1865 Naval officer; born in Norfolk, Va., in April, 1801; entered the navy as midshipman in 1819. In 1847 he was sent on an expedition, proposed by himself, to explore the course of the River Jordan and the coasts of the Dead Sea. He entered upon these duties in the spring of 1848, and completed them with great success. He ascertained the Dead Sea to be 1,312 feet lower than the Mediterranean Sea. He joined the Confederates in 1861, and was made a commander in the navy, in which he served throughout the Civil War. He died in Baltimore, Md., Oct. 17, 1865.
Lynch law, The name given to the summary operations of a mob, or a few private individuals, independently of the legal authorities. It is said to derive its name from John Lynch, a farmer, who exercised it upon the fugitive slaves and criminals dwelling in the Dismal Swamp, N. C., when they committed outrages upon persons and property which the colonial law could not promptly redress.