Clues Regarding the Lynch Family Murder
(Research into the murders is on-going and the content here may change.)
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George W. Lynch was born in Grimes county Shortly after Texas had won its independence from Mexico. At that time, Texas was sparsely inhabited and the people were struggling to build homes and communities. Wild animals roamed the forests and prairies and it was not uncommon for Indians to attack the settlers. Grimes county, located in east Texas, just to the north of what would become Waller county was where George's parents and siblings lived, but he moved southeast across Waller county to Harris county where he married Selinda Hargrave. They moved back to Grimes county and by 1870 they had moved again to south Waller county where he had a farm on the bank of Spring Creek and there he built a home for his family. (Waller county map.)
This period in early Texas history saw the early settlers struggling to survive. The majority of the people were restrained and respectful, but there were those who had little respect for each other or the law and its enforcement was virtually non-existent in the rural areas. Violence was not uncommon and even small disagreements could result in fights, stabbings and shootings. (See "Deaths & Disturbances" in the area.) Thirty years after George was born saw the division caused by the Civil War and the emotional turmoil that followed, and the area where he lived had earned the name "Six Shooter Junction" because of the shootings there. The political division of the community often focused on Sheriff Tom McDade and likely played a role in the Lynch Family Murders, for McDade was accused of showing partiality and of not properly pursuing and prosecuting criminals, to which topic at least one report of the Lynch murders alluded. 1 2 (See "The Allchin-McDade Feud" for insight into the milieu in which the Lynch family lived.)
In 1860, while a resident of Hockley, George Lynch signed a resolution of abolitionism in alignment with what was done in Occoquan, Virginia. 3 (See the Houston, Texas Weekly Telegraph of August 21, 1860. For details of the events at Occoquan, Virginia, see the Richmond, Virginia Richmond Times-Dispatch of July 30, 1860. 4)
All of the information about this crime comes from newspaper articles, for no court records have been found. Unfortunately, almost all of them have contradictory and even provably wrong information. Knowledge of what actually happened is seriously hampered by poor research on the part of the reporters and editors and the fact that most articles were simply copied from other papers – repeating the same story multiple times does not make it true. Further, numerous editors chose to embellish the story to make it more sensational without any proof, confusing the historical record.
Examples of the (most obvious) errors and misinformation in the newspaper accounts:
- Misreporting where the crime occurred – it did not occur in Hockley, 5 but some seven miles NNE on a farm located on the north bank of Spring Creek in rural Waller county. 6 7 Waller county map
- Accounts of a masked intruder, the presence of a hatchet, and other creative reporting led John Pinckney, the Waller County Justice of the Peace who performed the inquest, to write "I never heard of a masked person being seen until I found it in your paper. Have seen no one who has. Who could have made such statements to your reporter at Hockley I know not. Lynch did not have the child in his arms. There was no hatchet found near Miss Carrie. There were no fractured skulls found. How that idea got out I can't imagine, for the skulls were ashes." 8
- A recurring item was that all the children died where they had gone to sleep. It defies credulity that the children were not awakened had George been shot inside or even near the house, unless they had already been killed, but surely George would have awakened for this. The only explanation this researcher can proffer is that George exited the house and, some distance from it, was accosted by one or more assailants and shot twice and that they then torched the house. The question remains "why didn't any of the children wake up?" Perhaps the story about none of them moving is also erroneous, for how could one determine that from the burned-out ruins of a house and the cremated remains of the children?
- The report of two children missing from the ashes, 9 that they were chloroformed, the insinuation that authorities were not trying to find the murder or murderers and other embellishments. For an example of "over-the-top" creativity in reporting, see the Waco Daily Examiner of September 20, 1878. 10
- The understandable suspicion that George Lynch himself killed his family and faked his attack is belied by differing newspaper accounts. 11 12
- The report that George Lynch had powerful allies – who were never named – that prevented him being charged with the crime.
- It was reported that Lynch was unpopular with his neighbors while other reports indicate he was an upstanding citizen and a Master Mason. 13 14 15 The Galveston Daily News reported that he was secretary of a group working to regulate cattle-thieving and that may have been the reason for the attack and murders. 16
Boulware – Ruben Boulware was the next-door neighbor who had threatened George Lynch with a gun on several occasions and was a suspect in the murders. One article indicates the Boulwares lived 250 yards from the Lynch residence. 17
Musco Boulware Family:
Musco Boulware was born circa 1820 in South Carolina. He was a wealthy cotton plantation owner with 10 slaves on the 1850 slave schedule. He moved to Alachua county, Florida sometime before 1860, where he is recorded as having 11 slaves on the 1860 slave schedule. He enlisted in the Confederate 2nd Cavalry in Camp Wall, Aug. 20, 1863, residence: Waldo, Florida. Sometime before 1870, he moved to far southern Waller county on Spring Creek, where he was a close neighbor of George Lynch.
Musco Boulware was b. June 13, 1820 SC, d. after 1880, Waller county, TX.
+ Serena Lewis 1825
- M - Thomas L. Boulware 1847-1932
- M - William Boulware 1849-1905; he attacked and beat George Lynch.
- M - James L. Boulware 1850-1923 married Mariah Hargrave (1854-1939), younger sister of George Lynch's wife.
- M - Reuben Boulware 1852- ; he shot at George Lynch and, in 1892, was charged with murder for killing Charles Quinn.
- M - Francis P. "Frank" Boulware 1854-1945
- M - Musco Boulware Jr. 1856 - Oct. 1879 - shot and killed by Frank Hargrave, the younger brother of George Lynch's wife.
- M - John Boulware 1857-1860
- F - Martha Elizabeth Boulware 1859-1941
- F - Mary H. Boulware 1860-1947
- M - Charles Boulware 1863-
- M - Robert Boulware 1865-
- F - Sarah Ann Boulware 1869-1958
The relations between the Boulware family and George Lynch must have been very strained, even though one of their sons married a sister to George's wife. Records of Reuben Boulware shooting at George and of his older brother William attacking and savagely beating him don't speak to a peaceful neigbor. One year after George's family was murdered, Musco's son, Musco Jr., was shot and killed by a brother to George's sister, Frank Hargrave, allegedly in a dispute over a horse race, but he was an uncle to the murdered Lynch children and suspicion rested on the Boulware family.
(Mr. Lynch) — " .... Not a great while ago he had a difficulty with the Boulwares, growing out of stock trespassing upon each others' farms. Mr. Reuben Boulware made two assaults upon him — once with a pistol, again with a shotgun — for both of which he (Mr. Boulware) was fined. Mr. William Boulware, who is a very stout man, also met him in the road when (Lynch) was coming home with his wagon, and badly beat him." 18
Oct. 1879 Reuben Boulware's brother, Musco Boulware Jr., was shot and killed by Frank Hargrave at Field's Store in a dispute over a horse race. 19 Frank Hargrave was a brother-in-law to Musco Boulware and to George Lynch, being a brother of both J.L. Boulware's wife and Lynch's wife.
Nov. 1892 Reuben Boulware charged with murdering Charles Quinn over an election. 20
The Eberly family:
One newspaper article indicated an Eberly was married to George Lynch's sister. 21
John Elgin Eberly was b. June 13, 1827 KY, d. 1896, Hockley, Harris county, TX.
+ Margaret Henry 1827-1873
- M - James H. Eberly 1846-1866
- M - Jerome M. Eberly 1849-1879 m. 1872 Virginia Ann Hargrave, Grimes cty TX
- M - William Henry Eberly 1852-1936 m. 1893 Francis "Fanny" Hargrave, Waller cty, TX
- M - John Eberly 1855-
- F - Eliza Jane Eberly 1857-1939
- M - Mortimer Eberly 1859-
- M - Minor Eberly 1861-1882
- F - Virginia Eberly 1869-1892
Jerome M. "Bud" Eberly (1849 LA-ABT 1879 TX) was the son of John Elgin Eberly. He married Virginia Ann Hargrave (1852 LA - 1905), the daughter of Joseph & Missouri Hargrave. They married April 25, 1872 in Grimes cty. Jerome died before 1880 probably in Hockley and Virginia died 35 years later, 1905 in Fields Store. Virginia was a younger sister to Cyllanae Hargrave who married George W. Lynch.
Newspapers reported that "Mr. Lynch's only sister was the wife of our highly esteemed citizen J. Eberly", 22. George Lynch's parents and siblings have not been found, so references to his sister can't be verified, but the present evidence indicates it was Lynch's wife's sister who was married to Jerome M. "Bud" Eberly. (Actually, two of his wife's sisters married Eberly brothers, but Fanny would not marry until 1893, so she wouldn't be the person referenced in the newspaper articles.)
Another sister, Francis "Fanny" Hargrave, married William Henry Eberly, a brother of Jerome Eberly.
The Hargrave family:
Children of Joseph & Missouri Hargrave:
- F - Cyllanae HARGRAVE (1841 LA-1978 TX) married George Lynch.
- F - Joanna HARGRAVE - (1843-).
- F - Sarah HARGRAVE (1847-).
- F - Mary Elizabeth HARGRAVE (1849-1909).
- F - Virginia Ann HARGRAVE (1852-1905) - married Jerome M. Eberly.
- F - Maria L. HARGRAVE (1854-1939) - married James Lewis Boulware.
- M - James Andrew HARGRAVE (1857-1923).
- M - Joseph Franklin HARGRAVE (1859-1908).
- F - Adella HARGRAVE (1866-1935).
- F - Francis Catherine "Fanny" HARGRAVE (1871-1920) - married William Henry Eberly.
The Lynch family:
George W. Lynch (ca 1836 - ) was born and raised near Navasota, Grimes county which borders Waller county to the north.
July 4, 1860 he married Celinda Hargrave (b. LA) in Harris county, TX. (probably Hockley). (Her name recorded variously, including Cyllanae, Selina/ Plomonia, etc.)
Aug 21, 1860 at Hockley, he signed resolutions of vigilance, cooperation, minute men, anti-abolitionism, 24 hour watch, vigilance of suspicious characters and endorsing the proceedings at the town of Occaquan, VA. The Weekly Telegraph, Tuesday, August 21, 1860 (For details of the events at Occoquan, see the Richmond Times-Dispatch of July 30, 1860. 23)
April 12, 1861 saw the bombardment of Fort Sumpter and the beginning of the Civil War.
May 8, 1869.George W. Lynch purchased an unspecified amount of land on Miles survey in southern Grimes county for $350. 24
1869 - Cyllanae Lynch purchased 116 acres on Miles survey in Grimes county for $500. 25
About August 1878 his wife died, probably due to complications from childbirth, and he is left with eight children, including an infant only weeks old.
September, 1878, He is shot twice and his eight children are killed when their home is set on fire.
The children of George Lynch & Cyllanae Hargrave from the known sources:
1870 census, Courtney, Grimes county, TX 26 LYNCH, George, 34, M, W, farmer, TX LYNCH, Plomonia, 27, F, W, LA LYNCH, Caroline, 9, F, W, TX LYNCH, Lusenia, 4, F, W, TX LYNCH, Marion, 3, M, W, TX LYNCH, Joseph, 1, M, W, TX The Waco Daily Examiner, Friday, September 20, 1878 27 Miss Carrie Lynch, 17 Lorena, about 12 Jerome, 9. The Michigan Argus: 28 Carrie, 17 Loraine, 13 Lodie Abigail Jerome, 11 China Phoebe Hayes, 0
There were only 8 children. The 9 listed below are a best guess using the conflicting reports of the sources listed above.
- F - Caroline "Carrie" LYNCH (1861-1878).
- F - Loraine LYNCH (1866-1878).
- M - Lodie LYNCH (1866-1878).
- F - Abigail LYNCH (-1878).
- M - Jerome (Marion ?) LYNCH (1867-1878).
- M - Joseph LYNCH (1869-1878).
- F - China LYNCH (-1878).
- F - Phoebe LYNCH (-1878).
- F - Hayes LYNCH (1878-1878).
The Tri-Weekly Herald, (Marshall, Harrison cty, TX), Saturday, October 05, 1878 Mr. Lynch's only sister was the wife of our highly esteemed citizen J. Eberly. It was, in fact, his wife's sister, Virginia Ann Hargrave, who was married to Jerome Eberly, a son of the prominent James Elgin Eberly.
George Lynch is on the 1880 census a boarder in the household of Jno W Sailes in Lake county Colorado, single and a miner. 31
July 10, 1881 – George Lynch given life sentence for murder of Charles Lyles at Leadville, CO. The Galveston Daily News, Sunday, July 10, 1881 33 | Brenham Weekly Banner, (Brenham, TX) Thursday, August 11, 1881 34. He was incarcerated in Colorado penitentiary June 19, 1881. 35
He was pardoned by Governor Davis Waite April 25, 1893. 36
Nothing further has been found about George Lynch but, after 1900, a George Lynch was found in New Mexico and in south Texas listed as mining consultants. No evidence to the identity of this person or persons has been found.