Contra Costa County











            WILLIAM LYNCH. A man of progressive and enterprising ideas and methods, William Lynch has made a success of his chosen occupation since coming to California in 1849, then a young man of twenty-one years with nothing but his native qualities to presage a future which has numbered him among the representative citizens of Contra Costa county. He was born in Flushing, Long Island, N. Y., July 12, 1828, a son of Michael and Elizabeth (Smith) Lynch. When fifteen years old he was apprenticed to learn the trade of carpenter and at the end of five years was considered a skilled workman. He then followed his trade in New York City for two years and in December, 1848, took passage on the pilot boat, William G. Hackstaff, for California via the Strait of Magellan. He arrived at San Francisco June 28, 1849, after a long and tedious voyage, and immediately went to the mines on the Tuolumne river for a short time, but not liking the work returned to San Francisco in the spring of 1850 and took a $2,000 contract to repair an adobe house at the mission of San Jose, for Don C. Vallejo. While in Santa Clara county he pre-empted a quarter section of land and planted potatoes and would have made a success of the venture had it not been for grasshoppers. Later, in partnership with William Norris, he bought a league of land in Contra Costa county, subsequently dividing it when he came into possession of three hundred and thirty-three and a third acres. He then went to the redwoods with his ox team to cut and haul timber for his house, taking a week for the trip. Later he put up his present commodious and comfortable home upon the ranch which he has increased to four hundred acres. This ranch he first devoted to grain and the raising of sheep, but later sold the sheep and stocked it with cattle and has since continued in this line.

            In California, April 5, 1853, Mr. Lynch married Mary Elizabeth Norris, who was born in Illinois, the daughter of Leo Norris, and of this union were born the following children: Leo, a farmer, who married Minnie Coxhead, of which union were born nine children: Mary, who married Dr. George Alexander of Haywards, and has two children, Naomi, wife of John Toopley, and has one son; William who died in youth; Jennie, who married George Woodard and has one child; James, who died at the age of seven years; and Almina, who married Robert Campbell. Mr. Lynch has twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild. In his fraternal relations Mr. Lynch is a member of Alamo Lodge No. 122, F. & A. M., having joined the order in 1863. An exciting experience of Mr. Lynch which he well remembers was an encounter with a mountain lion, started up by his dogs while he was out cutting brush. The man working with Mr. Lynch shot the lion but did not kill him, when the dogs ran to the attack. While the lion was on his back, Mr. Lynch ran up and with one stroke of his ax on his breast killed him. He measured nine feet from tip to tip.





Transcribed by Marie Hassard 12 November 2015.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 871-872. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2015  Marie Hassard.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library