DANVILLE — The family name for which Lynch Road was named has a strong connection to this area’s history, which family members want the public to realize.
Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. brought up at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting about possibly polling aldermen about renaming the roadway east of the city which connects to Interstate 74 and has hotels, the new cannabis dispensary and other industries along it.
Williams said that word “lynch” has a history of fear and hate.
“I’m just really concerned. Our ancestors are buried out there,” said Dorothy Lynch of Fithian, adding that she hopes nothing will be damaged at the Lynch Cemetery.
“It’s just preposterous,” she said about changing the roadway name from her family name.
She said there’s nothing racial at all about it.
It’s a family name and her ancestors homesteaded in that area, from the city of Danville into Indiana.
In addition to Lynch Road, there’s also the cemetery, Lynch Fire Department and family ties in founding the Pleasant Grove church.
Dorothy Lynch said her great grandfather, Alfred Lynch, and his siblings were born and raised where the veterinary hospital now sits.
John Lynch, who is buried in Lynch Cemetery, was an early settler and well respected in the community, according to local historian Larry Weatherford.
“He moved here from what is now West Virginia. His father was a preacher and had served in the Revolutionary War,” according to Weatherford. Weatherford also added that the maiden name of one of John Lynch’s daughters-in-law was Brewer. They were neighbors of the Lynches and Brewer Road was apparently named in honor of the Charles Brewer family. Another Lynch family member, Monica Bolton, the granddaughter of Elizabeth Rose Lynch, grand-niece of Eva Mae Lynch, Esther Lynch and Bill Lynch and great-granddaughter of Dig and William Lynch, also is upset over Williams bringing up a possible roadway name change. She said there was also a Lynch School in that area (currently housing Mervis Industries corporate office) and the church next to it was founded by the Lynch family. In 2016, to recognize businessman and local leader Lou Mervis, who passed away in 2017, Vermilion Advantage renamed the Eastgate and Southgate industrial areas as Mervis Innovation Park, and adjacent Lynch Spur now bears the honorary name Mervis Parkway. According to other Bolton family members, in the early 1960s, the Lynch family farmland was bisected by a road providing an entry into Danville — Lynch Road. A contributor to the successful transfer of the Lynch family land was the naming of the new road. Bolton too said that Lynch Cemetery off Main Street is a family cemetery, and there’s also Lynch Travel plaza or mart. ”That whole area is Lynch... It has nothing to do with fear,” she said. She said her family was an instrumental part of Vermilion County, adding that her family “did a lot of good things for a lot of people.”