Biography - CHARLES LYNN

Randolph county, Illinois, figures as one of the most attractive, progressive and prosperous divisions of the state, justly claiming a high order of citizenship and a spirit of enterprise which is certain to conserve consecutive development and marked advancement in the material upbuilding of this section. Among the essentially representative citizens, whose loyalty and public spirit have contributed to its growth, is Charles Lynn, who was formerly connected with the postoffice service of the state but who is now living retired on his fine estate, widely known as the Menard Mansion. Together with his brothers and some other gentlemen, he is owner of the old historic Menard property, which comprises some six hundred acres of most arable farming land located near Fort Gage.

A native of Greene county, Illinois, Charles Lynn was born on the 9th of April, 1847, and he is a son of Alexander W. Lynn, whose birth occurred in the state of Tennessee. The paternal grandfather of Charles Lynn, namely, John Lynn, was born and reared in county Antrim, Ireland, whence he came to the United States about the year 1800, settling at Kingsport, Tennessee. John Lynn fled from Ireland because he had been a participant in the Irish rebellion which resulted in the death of the famous Robert Emmet. He was a Protestant in his religious faith and after his arrival at Kingsport he married and there passed the remainder of his life. His sons were William, John, Samuel, James, Joseph, Alexander and Charles, of whom Alexander and Samuel came north and identified themselves with various interests in Illinois. Alexander Lynn married Mary Barr, a native of Sumner county, Tennessee, and they removed to Illinois in the year 1835. After passing one year in Morgan county, this state, they located in Greene county, where Mr. Lynn turned his attention to mercantile pursuits. He left the south on account of the slavery question, although he was not an Abolitionist. He was called to eternal rest in 1872, at sixty-five years of age, and his cherished and devoted wife died in 1893, in her eightieth year. Their children were: Kate, who married Samuel Hopkins and died in the "Menard Mansion" in 1904, leaving a son, Lynn C., John, who died at Carrolton. Illinois, in 1871; Martha, who died, unmarried, in 1886; William, who died in 1887; Alexander W., a resident of Fort Gage; Charles, the immediate subject of this review; Mary, who is deceased; and James, who is interested with his brothers in the historic property at Fort Gage.

Charles Lynn was a business man as a merchant in Carrolton, Illinois, in his early manhood and was then appointed postmaster of the city, serving in that capacity for a period of six years. His education was acquired in the city schools and academy and his mercantile experience proved of value to him later in his career. Becoming interested in politics, as a Republican, he found favor among the leaders of Illinois, and in 1885 was appointed purchasing agent for the Southern Illinois penitentiary. He served in that position for eight years, at the expiration of which he retired to his farm. Subsequently the state auditor selected him to become building and loan examiner of Illinois and he was interested in that work for the ensuing three years. Finally resigning that position, he was appointed special agent for the postoffice department for the installation of rural delivery service and while covering his territory south and west of Chicago he was detailed to service in that city, Cincinnati and St. Louis. Later on he was appointed postoffice inspector, attached to the Chicago division, and he served as such until 1908, when he retired to his Fort Gage home. Falling naturally into politics, Mr. Lynn served his party in Greene county as its central committee chairman, and by association made the acquaintance of state leaders of the party. His knowledge of Illinois public men of both political faiths is broad and accurate and he has ever felt a friendly interest in the work and life of Senator Cullom. He is a close observer and an analytical measurer of public men, and his retentive memory makes him an entertaining talker upon political events and politicians.

The Lynn property comprises some six hundred acres of fine land adjacent to the "Menard Mansion," and the home of the Lynn brothers is the most historic spot in Illinois. The "Mansion" was built in 1813, by Colonel Pierre Menard, and is widely renowned as the "Menard Mansion." Colonel Menard died in 1844 and the property then fell into the keeping of his son, Edmund, a highly educated but easy-going young man, who had no interest in the money side of life, and was not a financial success. At his death Mr. Lynn, in partnership with a few other gentlemen, bought the property, which has, since then, come into the Lynn family almost wholly.

On the 15th of March, 1888, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Lynn to Miss Mary E. Cochran, of Freeport, Illinois. She was a daughter of Senator James S. Cochran and died in 1892, without issue. Mr. Lynn is popular with all classes of people and is everywhere accorded the unalloyed confidence and esteem of his fellow men.

Extracted 05 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George Washington Smith, volume 3, pages 1705-1706

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