Timothy Lynch was born in County Cork, Ireland circa 1834, the son of John Lynch & Honora Harrington. Like many other Irish, Timothy chose to leave his homeland for a chance of a better life abroad. He boarded a ship and emigrated to the United States arriving in New York City sometime around 1854. Shortly after, he settled in Newport, Rhode Island, where he married and started his family. Timothy Lynch married Bridget Harrington "Delia" on October 4, 1863 in Newport. Annie, the first child of Timothy & Bridget was born in 1864, one of 11 known children of the couple. Tim worked as a laborer and Bridget worked in the house raising the children.
January 1872, Timothy Lynch ran into some trouble. As Reported by the Newport Daily News, One evening Tim had spent many hours at a local pub drinking. After many hours passed, his wife Bridget went out with a cousin, Humphrey Lynch to bring Tim home. While the three were walking home, Florence Sullivan, a man that had been drinking with Tim, came up behind him and for reasons unknown a fight ensued. Timothy used a jack knife and stabbed Florence Sullivan in the neck and ultimately killed him. Timothy Lynch was jailed, tried and imprisoned in the State Prison of Providence.
According to the Newport Daily News, Tim Lynch was Pardoned and released from a life long prison sentence. Below is the article's transcription:
Wednesday, February 3, 1875
Adjourned Session of Providence
Tuesday Feb 2
The senate met at 11 o’clock A.M. and was called to order by Gov. Howard.
The governor presented his recommendation, for the pardon of Timothy Lynch, under life sentence for the murder of Lawrence Sullivan, asked for the advice and consent of the senate to exercise the pardoning power in his case.
In submitting to the senate the recommendation, the governor said that it seemed proper to him that he should advert for a moment to the position which he originally took in regard to the exercise of executive clemency, and he asked senators to bear him witness that at no time during his administration have pardons been dispensed with any lavish hand. It seems especially proper to make a remark of this kind from the fact that in the present instance the prisoner has served but a few years of his sentence. My experience, said the governor, has satisfied me that the greatest efforts are made and the greatest number of signatures obtained in behalf of the pardon of those least worthy of it. This man had no idea of any efforts being made in his behalf until I called him into the parlor of the prison a while ago, and spoke to the him about the matter. While I have refrained from the free exercise of the pardoning power, I have constantly made efforts to learn, if possible, if there are prisoners deserving of pardon; but they have not been brought to the attention of the executive. In conversation with the attorney general a while ago, he referred to this matter - and I may observe here that while the attorney general has been remarkably successful in pursuing convictions, he also thoroughly imbued with the spirit of kindness and consideration for prisoners - he stated to me that there was one man in prison (Timothy Lynch) who he felt did not deserve the life sentence he was under; and after conferring with him, I made special efforts to investigate the case. I became convinced that the man was guiltless of the crime for which he was convicted. His honor Judge Brayton, before the case was tried, has assured me that he was suprised at the verdict, and had never believed that Lynch was guilty of murder. The fact is, the man if very ignorant. and although not a man of intemperate habits, and engaged in a brawl in a liquor shop in Newport. In the course of the melee he drew a knife but did not use it. His wife, a worthy woman, I am informed, went to the place and led him home. They had passed some way up the street, when this Sullivan, represented to be much larger and more powerful man than the prisoner, came up behind him and fell upon him throwing him to the ground. Sullivan then fatally stabbed, undoubtedly by the prisoner. The attorney general and his honor the judge are perfectly satisfied that it was not the crime of murder, and there is a question whether it was even manslaughter. The act is one that any man under the same circumstances would have committed.
The governor, in this connection presented a communication from the attorney general in relation to Lynch, in which he gives it as his opinion that Lynch is not guilty of murder, and recommends that this pardon be granted.
The prisoner, in his petition, represents that he is guiltless of the murder of Lawrence Sullivan; that all he knows in relation to the matter is that he was proceeding to his own home quietly with his wife was assaulted by Sullivan; that he had no ill-feeling against Sullivan or reason for taking his life, that he is utterly unconscious of having delivered the blow which caused his death, but from the evidence brought in his ease he supposed he must have committed the act; that he is a poor man: that his wife and family have been in a very destitute condition during his confinement in prison, three of his family having died, he thinks because of their destitution.
The Lieutenant governor spoke very favorable in relation to the prisoner. He is a harmless, ignorant man but of very great personal industry, he said, and he believed it to be the unanimous sentiment of the people of Newport, in which place the alleged murder was committed, that he should be pardoned.
The lieutenant governor in the chair. The was following resolution was then adopted:-
Voted and resolved--That the senate do hereby advise and consent to the granting of the praer and petitioner, said Timothy Lynch, as recommended by his excellency the governor, and that the warden of the State Prison be directed to release said Timothy Lynch from his said imprisonment.