After a scrutiny he was advised the country parishes
presented the best opening for a new comer. Then quitting Charleston,
he finally selected and established himself in St. Stephens Parish, in
a wealthy and respectable Huguenot settlement,(1) where indigo was then
largely cultivated by the Gaillards, Porchers, Marions,(2) Ravenels,
and other good families. In an interesting memoir from the pen of Dr.
Samuel Debosque of St. Stephens Parish, published in 1858, Dr. James
Lynah is thus alluded to "South of the road was the residence of Dr.
James Lynah, a native of Ireland. From this place he attended to a
large medical practice. Both this place and that of Mr. Couturier were
to constitute a portion of Belle Island.(3)
"The above fact I had from my Grandfather, and that he
was a neighbor of General Marion, where a firm and lasting friendship
grew between them. He soon engaged in extensive practice, his rides
traversing the adjoining parishes of St. John, Berkeley, and Goose
Creek, even as far as Richland. Surgeons were scarce in those days. At
this period his wife(4) and two children, (5) my father, Edward, being
one of them, came over to him from Ireland."
(1) It is somewhat surprising that Dr. Lynah should have
selected this Huguenot settlement for the establishment of his practice
since he was an Irish Catholic. It is possible however that since there
were few Catholics in the colony at that time and no Catholic Church he
did not let his religious preference be known. D. D. Wallace tells us
in his short history of S. C. that Catholics and Jews were unmolisted
though not legally tolerated. They were not allowed to vote until 1704
and it was not until after the revolution in 1784 that they were given
the right to hold public office. The first Catholic mass was held in
1786. In 1787 or 1788 mass was held in an abandoned Methodist Church
which had been renovated as St. Mary's Church. 200 people attended. It
was this church that was for many years to be that of the family. Son
Edward was interred in the Southeast corner of the church. His tablet
is still mounted on the wall of the present St, Mary's Church on
Hassell St. in Charleston.
(2) A letter and a note for 25 pounds from Francis
Marion to Dr. Lynah are in the Georgia Historical Library at Savannah.
(3) Dr. Lynah during his life acquired and sold several
tracts of land on the Santee. On one occasion he purchased 500 acres
(Aug. 10, 1779) for 10,000 pounds and sold it Aug. 28, only 18 days
later for 14000 pounds. This was during a period of high inflation in
American money during the war. This property abutted the property of
Mr. Couturier. RMC book S-5, D5 & Others.
(4) Wife Eleanor, 1734-113.
(5) Edward (1756-1831) from
whom all American branches
of this family are descended. James
(1761-1816) who left this country
and went first to Holland and later to the Isle of Man, where he died
at Ramsey in July 1816.