A GENEALOGICAL MISCELLANY II,
MADISON COUNTY, TENNESSEE
By Jonathan K. T. Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1996
DYER AND LYNCH GRAVEYARDS
Major Ezekial B. Mason, one of the oldest settlers of Madison County, of his time, one interested in the historical development of the county, wrote in January 1872 (WHIG-TRIBUNE, Jackson, February 3, 1872) that "Col. Robert H. Dyer, who commanded a regiment from Rutherford County /during the War of 1812/, was buried on his farm, ten miles north of Jackson."
When John Lynch, Jr. sold his family’s farm in north Madison County in March 1847, he reserved "one eighth of an acre including the grave of Robert H. Dyre /Dyer/ and family and the family graveyard of John Lynch, senr. decd. which is one acre including the graves inclosed by a brick wall." (Madison County Deed Book 11, page 298) Located about 5 miles north of the intersection of Interstate 40 and the Old Medina Road and situated about .2 mile north of Osborne-Nowell Road at a point about .4 mile from the connection of this road with the Old Medina Road is the Lynch Graveyard, with the graves of John Lynch (1769-1842) and several members of his family; these graves are well marked with tombstones and small vestiges of the brick wall remain at the site. The graves were covered with brick vaults, the bricks of which have largely disappeared.
Robert J. Nowell purchased the land the Lynch and Dyer graveyards are located on, in 1944, but he had lived at the location since 1938 and he was told by some of the older people in the community, including the late Mrs. Mary Osborne, that a graveyard was once located in a field now about .1 mile northwest of Nowell's residence and about .1 mile southeast of the Lynch graveyard; when he moved on the property this graveyard had been abandoned and was part of a cultivated field. Nowell, from his long residence at this location, familiar with the surrounding countryside knew of no other burial locations nearby. It seems very likely that the obliterated graveyard in the field near the Nowell residence is that of Robert H. Dyer and members of his family. Colonel Dyer, for whom Dyer County, Tennessee is named, an outstanding soldier in the War of 1812, died in Madison County on May 11, 1826. (JACKSON GAZETTE, May 13, 1826)
Located about 5 miles north of the intersection of Interstate 40 and the Old Medina Road and situated about .2 mile north of Osborne-Nowell Road (ending in a field road) at a point about .4 mile from the connection of this road with the Old Medina Road is the Lynch graveyard. When John Lynch, Jr. sold the farm on which this burial ground was located, in 1847, he reserved "the grave . . . of John Lynch senr. decd. which is one acre including the graves inclosed by a brick wall." (Madison County Deed Book 11, page 298) This brick wall is almost totally gone, the brick having been taken away, including the brick in the vaults covering the graves there. The actual tombstones, placed at the heads of the graves, placed in the wall of the original vaults, are in excellent condition. On the back row, north to south are the graves of Christopher Lynch, John Lynch and Anne Lynch. In front of these graves, on the southwest corner of the graveyard is the grave of Nathaniel D. Lancaster.
The tombstones read:
to the memory of
JOHN & ANNE LYNCH
Sept. 11th 1769
June 14th 1842
directly under John Lynch’s inscription:
Oct. 21st 1768
Feb. 24th 1834
to the memory
son of JOHN & ANNE LYNCH
Born August 14th
And died October 27th
to the memory of
NATHANIEL D LANCASTER
JOHN & ADELAID M. LANCASTER
of Richmond, Virginia
26th February 1825
Holly Springs, Miss.
24th August 1844
Note: The birth day of Anne Lynch has been mistakenly reported at least once; a photographic chalk rubbing makes the full birth date clearly as reported herein.
HISTORICAL OWNERSHIP OF THE GRAVEYARDS
- Robert Henry Dyer received several hundred acres of land in Madison County by state land grants. He moved from Dyer County in the spring of 1824 and settled on a large tract of his land in Surveyor's District 10, Range l, Section 10. There he built a residence and there he died May 11, 1826 and was buried on his farm. His son, Joel Henry Dyer, executor of his will, sold the homeplace, including the family residence and the grave of Robert H. Dyer, 275 acres, for $1375 to John Lynch, Jan. 3, 1827. Registered Sept. 6, 1827. (Deed Book 1, page 572)
- John Lynch, Jr. bought from his brother, Christopher Lynch, administrator of their father's estate, these 275 acres in Civil District 11, including the the Lynch family residence and reserving 1/8 of an acre for "Robert H. Dyer and family" as a graveyard and one acre for the burial ground of John Lynch and family, the graves being inclosed by a brick wall. Nov. 20, 1843. Registered Nov. 20, 1843. (Deed Book 9, page 168)
- John Lynch, Jr. sold this 275 acre tract, along with other parcels, an aggregate of 550 acres, to Abraham B. March, March 18, 1847. Registered Mar. 25, 1847, reserving the very same burial grounds by name. (Deed Book 11, page 298)
- Abraham B. March, Sr. died shortly before February 1862 and years later the March heirs sold 240 acres, including the graveyards, to B. R. Campbell and John F. Outlan, though not by name, December 2, 1884. (County Court Minute Book 16, page 538) The property had remained in the March family ever since 1847.
- J. R. Campbell and wife, Mattie and J. A. Harrison and wife, F. A., sold their interest in these 240 acres to John F. Outlan, August 23, 1912. Registered Sept. 12, 1912. (Deed Book 81, page 167)
- B. Outlan and other Outlan heirs sold these 240 acres, for $6000, to W. J. Johnson and M. L. Sowell, July 29, 1919, with possession to take place Jan. 1, 1920. Registered Aug. 9, 1919. (Deed Book 93, page 163)
- W. J. Johnson acquired Sowell's interest in this acreage and after he died, his widow, Cora Johnson and the other heirs sold the 240 acres as tract #2 in the decedent's lands, to Emmett C. Johnson and wife, Maria, April 11, 1938. Registered May 18, 1938. (Deed Book 127, page 500)
- Emmett C. Johnson sold these 240 acres to Curtis Walker for $1500, October 19, 1943. Registered Oct. 19, 1943. (Deed Book 136, page 594)
- Curtis Walker sold these 240 acres, for $2300, to Robert J. Nowell, December 18, 1944. Registered Dec. 18, 1944. (Deed Book 140, page 73) Nowell had occupied this farm since and he is the present (1996) owner of over one hundred of the two and forty acres he bought years ago, including the acreage on which the Dyer and Lynch graveyards are located.
June 17, 1822 the Madison County magistrates granted Robert H. Dyer a license to operate an "ordinary" at his homeplace, a business similar to a tavern, where travellers would be able to take their meals and sleep over night. (Madison County Court Minute Book 1, page 31)
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