James Lynn
of Counties Londonderry and Antrim, Ireland
and Exeter, Wisconsin
b. ca. 1780 - d. 1858

Most Distant Known Patrilineal Ancestor
of Jeffrey S. Lynn1 and Kelso Lynn2


Historical Account First Generation Second Generation Third Generation

H o m e

Much of the following data was discovered through the efforts of Cindy Rice,
sister-in-law of Kelso Lynn.  One important item, an 1810 account book belonging to James Lynn,
was kindly shared by his 3rd-great-grandson Jeffrey S. Lynn, who inherited the book.

An account of the Lynns of Knockahollet and Exeter was written in 1925 by Elizabeth (Moor) Wallace, a granddaughter of James Lynn who was eight years old when she came to the U.S. with the family.  The article was published in the journal of the Wisconsin Historical Society as "Early Farmers in Exeter".  The following year, a lengthier account by Wallace, entitled "This Side the Gully", was published in the serial newspaper "The Wisconsin Farmer".  Clearly, some of her information represents firsthand knowledge while some was related to her by her elders - parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  Her account provides most of the following history, which is supplemented by data from census, marriage, cemetery, and other historical records.  One very important source is James Lynn's account book dated, in his own hand, "the year of our Lord 1810".  On the first page of the book, James also recorded the names and birth dates of all his children, writing the family name as Lynd in every case.

Historical Account

In 1780, James Lynn was born in County Londonderry, Ulster, Ireland.  He married Nancy Ellis, also of County Londonderry.  Sometime in or before 1832, the couple moved to the County Antrim village of Knockahollet, now defunct.  The 1832 tithe applotments for County Antrim include James Lynd in Knockaholled [sic], Loughguile Parish.  The chief inhabitants of the village were farmers and weavers, and James owned several looms, on which linen produced from his own flax was woven.

James and Nancy had six sons and two daughters.  The firstborn, John, came to America in the 1840s and fought for the U.S. in the Mexican War.  He received one land grant for his service and purchased another, and returned to his family in Knockahollet in 1848.  With deeds in hand and a glowing description of the lands of Wisconsin, he was able to persuade his entire family - indeed, virtually the entire village - to leave Ireland.  The exodus was so complete that, within three-quarters of a century, "not so much as one stone of the many stone houses ... remain[ed]".  As Elizabeth Wallace related:

"Ireland was just emerging from that distressing period known as the potato famine.  While I do not recall any shortage of rations in our little village during my childhood, I have no doubt the restlessness and discontent of the young people, which I distinctly remember, was due to the hard times.  They were keen to be off over the sea to either America or Australia, while the conservative older heads of the families were against such a change.  There were many heated arguments of the question, but it was not until my mother's oldest brother, John Lynn, returned after stealing away surreptitiously and roving about the world for seven years that the young people won and the exodus began ...

"It was in the fall of 1848 that Uncle John returned to Knockahollet with a deed to three hundred and twenty acres of Wisconsin land in his pocket and a glowing description of its hills and valleys on the tip of his tongue.  He had been a soldier in the Mexican War, and bearing his own land grant, and another purchased from a comrade, he had wandered west in search of a farm ...

"By March 1849, John was back in Wisconsin with his cousin-bride, Elizabeth Gambel, to help him grub a home out of the wilderness.  On the same ship with them came many other young people from Knockahollet.  All of them, except Uncle Elison Lynn, remained in New York State, where the good wages offered by the railroads and mills enabled them to lay by the price of a farm.  Elison accompanied his brother to Wisconsin, where he found work on a farm near Mineral Point ...

"My parents, Joseph and Mary Lynn Moor (or "Moore", as our name was written in the new world) arrived in Wisconsin early in the spring of 1851.  I was then eight years old ... My mother's parents, James and Nancy Ellis Lynn, and my father's only brother, William, accompanied us to Exeter."

For more information, see Early Farmers in Exeter, Elizabeth Moore Wallace, Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 8, Issue 4 (June 1925).

The Lynns crossed the water along with the Moors and the Wallaces, with whom James's children had married.  Remarkably, James was then about seventy years of age and Nancy sixty.  Most immigrant families of that day left parents and grandparents behind, but not so the Lynns.  The family first arrived in New York, where some stayed for varying lengths of time, as evidenced by their children's birth places listed in the census.
Soon, most of the family settled in Exeter, Green County, Wisconsin, where Nancy (Ellison) Lynn was still living in 1860.  Unfortunately, James had died in 1858 and does not appear in any U.S. census record.  Nancy lived then with their youngest daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Alexander Wallace (parents of Elizabeth Wallace), until her death later that year.  The couple lie at rest in the Zwingli Cemetery in Monticello, Wisconsin, their graves bearing the following inscriptions:

James Lynn Died 19 Mar 1858 aged 78 Years, Born in Co. Derry, No. Ireland

Nancy Ellis Lynn Born 1790 in Co. Derry, No. Ireland, Died 1860

Transcriptions of Mt. Pleasant Tshp Cemeteries, Green County Genealogical Society,
p. 119 - Lot 101, owned by Robert Lynn

It is important to note that the Lynns, the Moors, and the Wallaces were not Irish but Ulster Scots, as were and are countless other families living in what is now called Northern Ireland.  The first significant settlement of Scots in Ulster occurred in about 1606, with the first Ulster Plantation.  Thousands more followed over succeeding generations, bringing their Scottish culture with them.  In 1925, Elizabeth (Moor) Wallace, who was born in 1843 in Knockahollet, wrote of her experience after coming to Exeter:

"I spoke and read with a broad Scotch brogue, and my spelling greatly amused the other children ... But since I did not like to be laughed at, I soon learned to pronounce both words and letters in the accepted English of the time and place."

More's the pity!

Note : The city of Londonderry was an ancient Irish settlement originally called Derry and renamed Londonderry. However, the county in which it  lies is a county that was newly formed in 1606 and called, from its inception, Londonderry.  It was never historically known as County Derry and should not be referred to as such.

First Generation

JAMES LYNN : born 1780 in County Londonderry, Ireland; died 19 March 1858 in Exeter, Green County, Wisconsin; married ...
Nancy Ellis : born 1790 in County Londonderry, Ireland; died 1860 in Exeter, Green County Wisconsin.

Second Generation

JOHN LYNN : born 17 March 1813 in Ulster, Ireland (possibly Knockahollet); died 4 July 1887 in Decatur, Green County, Wisconsin; married ...
Elizabeth Gambel : born 8 January 1827 in Ireland; died 11 June 1892 in Exeter, Green County, Wisconsin.

MARY LYNN : born 1816 in Ulster (possibly Knockahollet); died 1908 in Exeter; married ...
Joseph Moor : born 1 January 1800 in Ireland; died 6 January 1882 in Exeter.

JAMES LYNN : born about 1817 in Ulster (possibly Knockahollet); died 4 January 1867 in Exeter, Green County, Wisconsin; married ...
Nancy Moor: born 1829 in Ireland; died 30 May 1889 in Exeter, Green County, Wisconsin.

HENRY A. LYNN : born 8 January 1821 in Ulster (possibly Knockahollet); died 8 August 1891 in Waukesha, Wisconsin; married ...
Ellen Creighton : born 1816 in Ireland; died 16 September 1905 in Waukesha.

ROBERT LYNN : born about 1823 in Ulster (possibly Knockahollet); died 12 April 1887 in Exeter, Green County, Wisconsin; married ...
Catherine Lyons: born in December 1826 in Ireland; died after 15 June 1900.

NANCY LYNN : born about March 1827 in Ulster (possibly Knockahollet); died after 15 June 1900, possibly in Exeter; married ...
Alexander Wallace : born about August 1827 in Ireland; died after 15 June 1900, possibly in Exeter.

ELLISON LYNN : born about 1830 in County Antrim, Ulster (possibly Knockahollet); died 4 July 1858 in Charles City, Floyd County, Iowa; married Roselia Eliza Scott.   Ellison died tragically at the age of 28 when a drag he was unloading from a wagon fell on him.
Roselia Eliza Scott: born 10 March 1839 in Utica, Licking County, Ohio; died 6 September 1912 in Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa; married 2nd George M. Rowley.

LESLIE LYNN : born about 1832 in Ulster (possibly Knockahollet); died unknown; married unknown.  Soon after coming to the U.S., Leslie left the family's Wisconsin home and was never seen again.

Third Generation



NANCY LYNN : born May 1850 in Exeter; died unmarried, 1938.

LAURA LAVINA LYNN : born 1852-53 in Exeter; died unmarried, 1894.

JOHN LYNN : born 1855-56 in Exeter; died unknown; marriage unknown.

MARY LYNN : born 4 April 1861 in Exeter; died unknown; marriage unknown.

ELIZA LYNN : born 1862-63 in Exeter; died unmarried, 1893 in Exeter.

ALBERT LYNN : born 1864-65 in Exeter; died 1940 in Exeter; marriage unknown.

EDWARD EDWIN LYNN : born 1868 in Exeter; died 1954 in Exeter; marriage unknown.


ELIZABETH MOORE : born on 13 May 1843 in Knockahollet; died unknown; married ...
William Wallace : born in October 1840 in Ulster, possibly Knockahollet; died unknown.

NANCY MOORE : born 6 October 1849 in Knockahollet; died after 4 June 1900; married ...
Thomas B. Richards : born February 1827 in England; died after 4 June 1900.

MARY MOORE : born 15 January 1854 in Exeter; died unmarried, 25 February 1899 in Exeter.

JAMES MOORE : born 1857-58 in Exeter; died unknown; marriage unknown.

JOSEPH LESLIE MOORE : born October 1862 in Exeter; died after 14 June 1900; marriage unknown.


BARBARA LYNN : born 1849-50 in New York; died unknown; marriage unknown.

MARY ANN LYNN : born March 1852 in New York; died 29 March 1923 in Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington; married ...
John E. Nash : born October 1852 in Wisconsin; died 1910-20.

JAMES H. LYNN : born March 1853 in New York; died after 5 January 1920, possibly in Tacoma, Washington; married ...
Wealthy Multer : born March 1855 in Wisconsin; died after 5 January 1920.

JOHN M. LYNN : born 1854-55 in Exeter; died after 7 January 1920; married ...
Jennie ? : born 1861-62 in Iowa; died after 7 January 1920.

ELLISON A.  LYNN : born 15 January 1857 in Exeter; died 10 June 1923 in Tacoma, Washington; married ...
Nellie V. Day : born 1856-57 in Wisconsin; died after 7 January 1920.

J. LESLIE LYNN : born 1860-61 in Exeter; died unknown; marriage nknown.

GEORGE LYNN : born 1862-63 in Exeter; died unknown; marriage unknown.


HENRY LYNN : born 1853 in New York; died unknown; marriage unknown.

MARY LYNN : born 1854 in New York; died unknown; marriage unknown.

 JOHN LESLIE LYNN : great-grandfather of Jeffrey Scott Lynn; born 1857 in Exeter; died 21 June 1930 in Green County, Wisconsin; married Mary Edgar.

NANCY LYNN : born 22 May 1858 in Exeter; died 4 May 1928 in Stephenson County, Illinois; married ...
Henry Gale : widower of Nancy's sister Margaret, following.

MARGARET LYNN : born 22 February 1860 in Exeter; died 21 October 1891; married 27 October 1885 in Green County, Wisconsin to ...
Henry Gale : born 25 October 1858 in Connecticut; died 16 December 1935 in Stephenson County, Illinois.

ROBERT J. LYNN : born 20 May 1863 in Exeter; died 11 January 1896 in Exeter; married ...
Addie Belle Crowe.

CATHERINE LYNN : born 1865 in Exeter; died unknown; marriage unknown.

ALONZO W. LYNN : born June 1870 in Exeter; died unmarried, 1942 in Green County, Wisconsin.

ALICE M. LYNN : born 1875 in Wisconsin; died unknown; marriage unknown.


MARY WALLACE : born 7 July 1850 in Knockahollet; died 21 November 1900 in Monticello, Green County, Wisconsin; married ...
James Pierce : born 1844-45 in England; died unknown.

SARAH WALLACE : born 1853-54 in Exeter; died unknown; marriage unknown.

ROBERT WALLACE : born July 1854 in Exeter; died after 25 June 1900; married ...
Esther ? : born November 1850 in Wisconsin; died unknown.

JAMES D. WALLACE : born December 1856 in Exeter; died after 18 June 1900; married ...
Mellie M. ? : born July 1862 in Wisconsin; died unknown.

MARTHA JANE WALLACE : born 13 May 1859 in Exeter; died 15 September 1899 in Monticello; married ...
Joseph Henry Barlow : born 14 July 1861; died 15 October 1931.

LIZZIE M. WALLACE : born 13 October 1861 in Exeter; died after 2 June 1900; married ...
William F. Kistle : born 22 December 1859; died unknown.

ANNA WALLACE : born 1863-66 in Exeter; died unknown; marriage Edwin N. Cadwell.

ESTELLA MAE WALLACE : born 13 May 1868 in Exeter; died 1 October 1953 in Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California; married ...
Edwin Everett Eastman : born 10 December 1858 in Wisconsin; died 5 April 1939 in Le Mars, Plymouth County, Iowa.


JOSIAH SCOTT LYNN : born 4 April 1857 in Green County, Wisconsin; died 7 May 1901 in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois; married ...
(1) Cora Carman and
(2) Maggie Sipes.

JAMES LESLIE LYNN : great-grandfather of Kelso Lynn; born 13 November 1858 in Charles City, Floyd County, Iowa; died 2 November 1945 in Winner, Tripp County, South Dakota; married ...
Minnie Louella West, born 5 June 1865 in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan; died 2 August 1948 in Yankton, South Dakota.

U p


H o m e


Ancestors 1850 Census Y-DNA Phylogeny

Copyright 2019 Loretta Lynn Layman