Thomas Lynch was born in St. James Parish, Berkeley County, S.C., in 1727. He served in the Colonial Legislature of South Carolina and represented the Colony in the Stamp Act Congress, heading the committee which drafted the petition to the House of Commons. Elected to both the First and Second Continental Congresses, Lynch joined Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Harrison on a committee sent to Cambridge, Mass., to confer with General Washington upon “the most effectual method of continning, supporting, and regulating the Continental Army.” In the ensuing discussions, Washington told the committee of his plan to arm ships to prey upon British supply lines. The gentlemen from Congress approved of the scheme and recommended it to Congress, thus giving essential political support to the establishment of “George Washington’s Navy,” the first organized naval force of the new Nation.
William Francis Lynch was born in Norfolk, Va., 1 April 1801. He was appointed a midshipman 26 January 1819, and first saw service in Congress and next in U.S. schooner Shark under Lt. Mathew Perry. Subsequent service included duty with Commodore Porter’s “Mosquito Squadron” in the West Indies and in the Mediterranean.
Lieutenant Lynch had his first command, the Poinsett, from 3 March to 30 December 1839. In 1947, he proceeded to the Sea of Galilee, dragging overland two copper hulled boats and sailed down the Jordan River despite both hostile Arab tribesmen and hazardous rapids. His expedition ended with the successful exploration of the Dead Sea.
In 1849 he was commissioned commander and in 1850 was promoted to captain. In 1852, he requested permission to explore the interior of Africa for purposes of possible colonization. In his exploration in west central Africa, he caught a fever, and was forced to return to the United States.
On 21 April 1861, he resigned from the U.S. Navy. He was initially appointed captain in the Virginia Navy and on 10 June 1861, captain in the Confederate States Navy. He commanded naval batteries at Aquia Creek, Va., during their shelling by Union gunboats in May 1861, was in charge of the defense of Roanoake Island in February 1862, and led Confederate naval forces at Vicksburg from March to October 1862. Later in command of ships in North Carolina waters, he commanded southern forces during the Union attack on Fort Fisher, N.C., in December 1864 and January 1865.
After the defeat of the Confederacy, he was paroled 3 May 1865 in Richmond. He died in Baltimore on 17 October of the same year.
(AGOR‑7: dp. 1,362; l. 209'; b. 40'; dr. 16'; s. 13 k.; cpl. 26; a. none; cl. Robert D. Conrad)
The second Lynch (AGOR‑7), an oceanographic survey ship, was laid down 7 September 1962 by Marietta Manufacturing Co., Point Pleasant, W. Va.; launched 17 March 1964; sponsored by Mrs. Walter M. Windsor as proxy for Miss Withers Millard, great‑great‑granddaughter of Captain Lynch; and delivered to MSTS Gulf 23 July 1965.
Following MSTS acceptance, Lynch underwent shakedown training in the Gulf of Mexico. In November 1965 she proceeded to New London, Conn., to commence oceanographic research operations. The 15 scientists embarked, working with the latest oceanographic equipment, analyzed ocean currents, the effects of salinity and temperature on sonic transmission, and the effects of pressure on various materials.
In early 1966, AGOR‑7 commenced research operations using the SPAR (Seagoing Platform for Acoustic Research) in the western Atlantic. The SPAR is 355 feet long and when partially flooded, acts as a buoy measuring and retransmitting acoustic data to the research ship.
Lynch continues research for the Oceanographic Office, operating off the eastern seaboard from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to the Virgin Islands through 1969.