1735 - 1816
James Lynah, surgeon, was born at Dublin, Ireland, in
1725, where he received both his collegiate and professional education.
After graduating in medicine he entered the British Naval Service, and
received a surgeon's commission. Rescued from shipwreck in the West
Indies, he was taken to Kingston, Jamaica, whence he removed to
Charleston, South Carolina, about 1765 or 1766. Settling in the wealthy
and cultivated Huguenot settlement of St. Stephen's Parish, he soon
acquired an extensive and remunerative practice, but on the outbreak of
the Revolution he espoused the cause of the colonies and served at
intervals with Marion's corps. He was also surgeon in Col. Joseph
Maybank's cavalry regiment, and was "chief surgeon of the Regiment of
Light Dragoons" in Col. Daniel Harry's cavalry, in which capacity he
was present at the siege of Savannah. When Count Pulaski was wounded in
this fight Dr. Lynah, with the assistance of his son and two others,
removed him from the line of fire and extracted the bullet on the
field. This bullet and a note from one of Count Pulaski's Aides-de-camp
is now in the possession of the Historical Society of Georgia.
At the close of the war he removed to Charleston, South Carolina, where
his attractive personality and professional skill enabled him to build
up a large practice. He was one of the founders of the Medical Society
of South Carolina, and at the time of his death held a commission as
surgeongeneral of the state of South Carolina.
He died of pulmonary tuberculosis in October, 1809, and was buried at
Laurel Spring Plantation.
He married in Ireland, and one son, Edward Lynah, who likewise studied
medicine, was the sole issue of which there is record.
A fine portrait, by an unknown artist, is in the possession of Mr. J.
H. Lynah of Savannah, Georgia. (Note: this
portrait is almost certainly this one at the Telfair Museum)
R. W., Jr.
(Note that this document lists the birth and
death years as 1725-1809)
by James Lynah about his grandfather, Dr. James Lynah. “...
His face was noble and beautiful. He could strictly be classed as among
the gentlemen of the old school. The antique style of dress was
typified in his person....”
This Lynah removed the grapeshot
which killed Polish General Kazimierz (Casimir in English) Pulaski.
A Georgia historical marker
reads in part, “...General Pulaski was struck by a
grapeshot as he rode forward, with customary ardor, from where his
cavalry was stationed to rally the disorganized Allied columns. The
fatal ball which was removed from his thigh by Dr. James Lynah of South
Georgia Historical Society relates the words engraved on the
stand displaying the Pulaski
Grapeshot ““Grapeshot which mortally wounded Count Casimir
Oct. 9, 1779, extracted from his body by Dr. James Lynah, ancestor of
present owner, James Lynah, Esq.” The Lynah family kindly donated this
artifact to the Georgia Historical Society, where it is on display to
Learn more about Kazimierz Pulaski from
info-poland;there are many links to information about Pulaski
and Polish history. For example, from poles.org, a biography and a
painting of the wounded
Here is a copy of Doctor Lynah's commission in the Revolution.
State of South Carolina
By Joseph Maybank, Esquire, Colonel of the Berkely County Regiment of
These are to Certify that James Lynah, M.D, is appointed Surgeon to the
Berkely County Regiment of Militia in the Service of the said State.
Given under my hand at Charles town, this Fourth day of December in the
Year of our Lord One thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Six.
Signed Joseph Maybank
From a history of the Carolinas before the split into North and South,
this table shows a bit on James Lynah and son Edward Lynah
during the Revolution.
If you can find it, this will be good
James. "Dr. James Lynah, A Surgeon of the Revolution." Edited by A. S.
Salley. South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 40 (July
1939), pp. 87-90.
UPDATE Ms Katherine W. Giles from the South
Carolina Historical Society helped
me purchase a digital copy of this article; ironically, it
is the same as this
Also available are these documents:
Manuscripts Department Library of the
University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill SOUTHERN HISTORICAL
#442 JAMES LYNAH PAPERS
Summary NOTE: A more complete finding aid
collection is available at the Southern Historical
Collection. Contact staff at: (919)
(telephone); (919) 962-4452 (FAX)
Lynah, James, 1735?-1809.
Papers, 1770-1878 (bulk 1786-1853).
Surgeon during the Revolutionary War; native of Charleston, S.C.
Correspondence and other papers of Lynah and of his son, James Lynah,
Jr., dealing largely with personal and business matters, with
occasional references to military and naval affairs. Included
letters from several secretaries of the treasury, secretaries of war,
and an attorney general, chiefly concerning personal claims; and
letters and clippings collected by Lynah's grandson.
ONLINE CATALOG TERMS:
Lynah, James, 1735?-1809.
Lynah, James, fl. 1800-1853.
COPYRIGHT: Retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their
descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
See more Lynah family history