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Patrick Neeson Lynch (1817 - 1882):
Bishop (Roman Catholic)

Patrick Neeson Lynch was a Catholic priest and bishop, from the townland of Kibberidogue (there are several spellings), which is situated in south-east County Fermanagh, in the parish of Clones which straddles the border with County Monaghan; he is sometimes described as having been born in Clones town, Country Monaghan. His parents were Conlaw Peter and Eleanor, née Neison, Lynch. The Lynches were originally a Galway family, some of whom had been banished in the seventeenth century and settled in Fermanagh and Monaghan. (A famous descendant of the Galway Lynches was the famous twentieth-century revolutionary, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, whose father continued to use the surname Lynch.)

The Lynches emigrated to the United States in 1819 and settled in Cheraw, South Carolina. Lynch was ordained a priest on 5 April 1840 at Charleston, South Carolina, and was appointed the third Bishop of Charleston on 11 December 1857, being consecrated on 14 March 1858. The geographical spread of his diocese was extensive: it comprised North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and had just acquired Bermuda and the Bahamas. Lynch occupied the bishopric for a quarter-century which covered the Secession and Civil War. (The war began in Charleston itself with the bombardment of Fort Sumter.) Lynch's principal significance was that later in the war the government of the Confederacy, very concerned for international recognition, sought this through diplomatic channels including with the Papal States; on 20 February 1864 President Jefferson Davies appointed Lynch as an envoy to Rome, his second attempt to gain diplomatic recognition, but was again rebuffed. Pope Pius IX was opposed to slavery, and received Lynch as the Confederacy's representative only in an ecclesiastical capacity.

Lynch remained in office until his death on 26 February 1882, overseeing many changes and developments in the diocese as it expanded and contracted. He was a Council Father at the First Vatican Council of 1869-1870.

Born: 10 March 1817
Died: 26 February 1882
Richard Froggatt

Wesley McCann

Bibliography:;;;; personal information