Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Father's Choice Quilt Block

This 12" Father's Choice quilt block is the twelfth and final one of my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt.  I found the pattern on Block Base, but a 10" block found at Quilters Cache is very similar but with different block coloration.   

While my maternal grandmother was still in high school, she interviewed her father, James Lynch, at the urging of her older brother Will, who was living in China at the time.  (Read his letter to her here.)  Later, she wrote a biography of her father from the notes she'd taken during the interview.  Following is the final part of this biography:

"On March 3, 1880, James Lynch married Caroline Eliza Dunmire in Emporia, Kansas.  She was the daughter of Reuben and Susanna Canon Dunmire.  Caroline was born in Fulton County, Illinois on January 19, 1863. 

James and Caroline Lynch Wedding Photo
Emporia, Kansas
March 3, 1880
This certifies that James Lynch and Carrie E. Dunmire
Were solemnly united by me in the Holy Bonds of Matrimony
at Emporia, Lyon County on the third day of March
 in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty
conformably to the Ordinance of God, and the Laws of the State.  

"They had five children: Carlos James Lynch (November 8, 1882), William Reuben Lynch (June 5, 1885), Floyd Thomas Lynch (February 6, 1894), Franklin Benjamin Lynch (March 20, 1896), and Hazel Lucile Lynch Skonberg (July 11, 1904). 

My grandmother, Hazel Lynch Skonberg, and her brother Frank Lynch
She was scared to have her picture taken,
so her brother was (very) reluctantly recruited to sit with her.
William Reuben Lynch played baseball at Kansas State Normal School in Emporia.
The school is now called Emporia State University.
"James Lynch died at his home in Miller, Kansas (where they had moved after he lost his sight from cataracts) on April 8, 1923.  Caroline died at that same home on January 11, 1941.  James was 87 at his death.  Caroline was 77, lacking eight days of being 78.

My grandma Hazel Lynch Skonberg (on the right)
with a friend in front of the Lynch farm house

Siblings Floyd, Hazel, and Will Lynch

"Burkes Registry records that the name of Lynch came from the O'Loingsigh family and was the Gaelic way of spelling.  It was Anglicized to O'Lynchy in the 1500's, then to just Lynch.  This name was first recorded in the Irish counties of Galway, Antrim, and Down.  It was translated as "Sons of the Navy Man."  They were one of the original "Tribes of Galway."  The Lynch Shield was a blue shield with a gold chevron between three rosettes." 
                     - by Hazel Lynch Skonberg, James Lynch's daughter

 Are you interested in reading more about this quilt?  You'll find it all right here.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.


  1. they sure don't look very happy to be married do they? but most people back then looked so serious in every old photo i have seen. it is so great you have all those pictures with names! when my grandparents died, i remember looking thru their old photos and no one knew who most of the people were. so sad. many were probably relatives

  2. There has been a sudden rash of old photos coming onto our family group e-mail with either information or requests for information. Have you put these blocks into a quilt yet?

  3. Do notice also there were often pictures taken around their cars?

  4. I enjoyed your family photos & history. As I've said before, it's so wonderful that your family has saved so many pictures & documentation of family history. I also would love to see the finished version of this quilt.

  5. I enjoyed seeing all your blocks and hearing your family story! Can't wait to see the finished quilt. Thanks!

  6. I've love seeing these pictures of our mutual grandmother and other relatives! How much older was James than Caroline? And why did she marry someone so much older? I'm looking forward to seeing the finished quilt.

    1. Annmarie, Caroline was 17 and James was 44 when they got married - a 27 year age difference! I don't know how common this age difference was back then. I know that James possibly felt that he had to have a home and farm established before he married. He did not inherit a farm from his father as some men might have, so it took him awhile to get to that point. And I think the brides tended to be young so they could have plenty of children. Maybe someone in the family can give us more information on this.

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  8. Thanks, Susan, for the reply. In the wedding picture he looks quite a bit older than 44 and she looks a little older than 17. I know how common it was for men to have two or three wives because of death in childbirth. I wonder how they met, what her parents thought, and if he was considered a charming and appealing catch? If anyone knows, please answer : )

  9. Annmarie, Yes, James was 44 and Caroline was just 17 years old. From what I have been told, her family was very poor, and her father considered James a good catch as he had a farm and was making a good living, so they encouraged the marriage. Caroline was not happy as she had always wanted to be a teacher. It was not a love match, though there was a caring for each other as the years passed, I think. They met when he was on a buying trip to Burlingame, Kansas where her family lived. It may have even been at a stage coach stop there, as some of the family owned one in Burlingame. Because she was so much younger than he, he did not allow her to wear bright colors and made her dress older than she was. However, he was a good provider, with a nice house for the times. She did not go without what she wanted and needed. When, after she had four sons, and at a rather late age, a daughter Hazel was born, he allowed Caroline to provide her with almost anything she wanted--music lessons, attend college, lovely clothes and spoiled her quite a bit. She always hoped Hazel would become a teacher, and she did before she married.

  10. I love all the history in this post. Great story. Great job!


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