Charles G. Lynch served as first postmaster for Andalusia

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2011

Charles G. Lynch was one of Covington County’s very earliest leaders in the Montezuma settlement as well as the new Town of Andalusia.

Although his origin is not known to this writer, he was in Covington County as early as Dec/ 14, 1832, when he purchased 39.17 acres of land in the Montezuma Township.

Charles Lynch was a reputable citizen because he became the second postmaster for Montezuma on Feb. 14, 1835, when he replaced John Devereux who was the first postmaster having served since Jan. 6, 1826.

On July 18, 1836, he was replaced by James M. Thompson.

From various records it is obvious that Charles Lynch became one of the leaders in relocating the county seat to higher ground after the flood and resulting malaria during the early 1840s.

While some of the residents and businesses remained in the struggling Montezuma, Lynch and a majority of the businessmen moved their operations to the new site.

It was on July 18, 1844, that the post office was moved to the new location and the name Andalusia was recorded.

For a year or so before that date, the location was referred to as “New Site,” but it was never an official name and not the name of the county seat as some have thought.

The source of the new name, Andalusia, is simply not documented, but there are several possible explanations.

Former Andalusia Attorney James A. Prestwood, published a book titled The Legend of Andalusia in which he describes an Andalusian horse from Spain, which was named Destinado.

He explains that a Spanish explorer had ridden this horse from Pensacola to this area where Andalusia would later be built.

Another claim is of an early settler traveling to Pensacola for supplies where he heard many Spanish sailors expressing their homesickness for their homeland in Andalusia, Spain.

Upon his return to this area, he suggested the beautiful sounding name, which means “to walk easy.”

It has also been reported that Charles Lynch as the first postmaster for the new town may have suggested the name.

Charles G. Lynch was named as the first postmaster of the new Town of Andalusia in 1844, but the property of 40 acres upon which the town was being built was not deeded to the county until June 1, 1845.

Records indicate that Austin J. Robertson/Robinson conveyed the land to Covington County at that time.

Lynch was indeed an early settler and builder during the first years of Andalusia.

However, his name does not appear on the 1840 or the 1850 census of Covington County. There is a Charles G. Lynch and family enumerated in Conecuh County in the 1840 census.

At that time Charles was in his 40s, and his wife was in her 30s.

They had two sons between 10 and 15 and a son between 15 and 20.

They had two daughters five or under and two daughters between 10 and 15.

He could easily have lived in the edge of Conecuh County before moving and settling in Montezuma.

Lynch did purchase property in the Montezuma area in 1832, and he may have established and operated a business in that settlement even earlier.

Surely he was working out of his store in 1835 when he became the postmaster.

Then sometime before 1843, he moved his store to a site near the new town.

It was located on the road leading to the Pea River Settlements, which would have been on the east side.

In this store is where he operated the new Andalusia Post Office until he was succeeded by Alfred Holley on May 11, 1849.

On Sept. 12, 1844, Charles G. Lynch became Covington County Court Clerk, and then on Aug. 4, 1845, he was elected to the office of circuit court clerk.

On Oct. 12, 1845, he began this new role, which meant he was serving in both roles until Aug. 15, 1849.

During the next year in 1850, the office of County Court Clerk was abolished, and the new office of Probate Judge was created.

This new office assumed all the previous functions of the county court clerk.

The question is raised as to what happened at that time to Charles G. Lynch.

He was not enumerated on the 1850 census or any of the later ones for Covington County.

His same name does appear in other areas of the state in later censuses.

For instance, there was a Charles G. Lynch at 48 years of age, a teacher, residing in the Russellville Precinct of Franklin County in 1900.

With him were his wife, Mattie R. at 49 years of age; a son, William P., 16; and a daughter, Hellen, 10.

There was also a Sarah G. Adair in the household who was 72 years of age and who was most likely Mattie’s mother.

Another record was a listing for a Charles Lynch who was born circa 1885, was a resident at one time of Covington County, and died on June 12, 1938, in Kentucky.

In the 1860 census for Moulton in Lawrence County, Ala., there was a family headed by Daniel Lynch, a merchant who was born in Tennessee.

With him were his wife, Easther A., 35, and the following five children: Sarah F., 12; Charles G., 8; Robert S., 6; Naphthalia, 4; and Margaret H., 1.

There may significance to a son being named Charles G. Lynch.

Obviously more research on the Lynch family is in order.

The sources for this writing include Gus and Ruby Bryan’s Covington County History, 1821-1976; Wyley Ward’s Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871; census records and

Anyone who might have any correction to the above material or who might have additional information on the Lynch family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email:

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Historical Society will be meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library.

Guests and anyone interested in becoming a part of the society is encouraged to attend.

FAMILY REUNION: Descendants of Isaac Wilson Odom will gather for their reunion on Sat., May 28,

zMemorial Day Weekend, at the home of Peggy Chesteen at 29720 Hammett Road, Andalusia.

Activities should begin around 10 a.m. and last until. It is hoped that some music makers will play and sing for the group in the afternoon

Everyone is encouraged to attend and bring a “covered dish” dinner.