Summary Information
Title: J. W. Lynch Journals
Collection Number: MSS 376
Creator: Lynch, J. W.
Collection Dates: 1895-1998
Extent: 0.5 linear feet (1 box)
John W. Lynch was born in Rices Landing, Pennsylvania on April 19, 1862. In 1898, Lynch began work for the Elizabeth Marine Ways, a steamboat building and repair yard. While at the yards, Lynch worked mostly as a carpenter. The J. W. Lynch Journals consist of four bound volumes and a compact disc (CD) that document the daily life of J. W. Lynch. Of particular interest are Lynch’s journal entries that document his ongoing work in the steamboat industry.


The material in this collection is in English.


Senator John Heinz History Center
Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Date Published:

September 2014

The guide to this collection was written by Jim Davidson and edited by Sierra Green.


John W. Lynch was born in Rices Landing, Green County, Pennsylvania on April 19, 1862 to David and Rebecca Hurry Lynch. Lynch later settled in West Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. In 1882, Lynch began his career in the steamboat industry as a laborer for the Joseph Walton and Co. barge building and boat repair yards in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. In 1889, Lynch began work for W. W. O’Neil. On June 22, 1898, Lynch was hired by the Elizabeth Marine Ways as a laborer. The Elizabeth Marine Ways specialized in steamboat building and repair.

In the early 20th Century, the Elizabeth Marine Ways was acquired by the Monongahela River Coal and Coke Company and Pittsburgh Coal Company (predecessors of Consolidation Coal Company). While at the yards, Lynch worked mostly as a carpenter. Lynch retired from the Steamboat Industry on October 3, 1925, having attained the position of superintendent.

John Lynch married Bertha McKown in c1884. Together, they had eight children; Percy, William, Jack, James, Bernice, Hilda, Bertha, and Helen. Lynch also served for many years in the National Guard as a member of Company I, 14th Regiment. As a member of the National Guard, Lynch was called upon to assist with disaster recovery efforts directly following the Johnstown Flood in 1889. J. W. Lynch died on August 15, 1948.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The J. W. Lynch Journals consist of four bound volumes that document the daily life of J. W. Lynch. Of particular interest are Lynch’s entries in his first journal, which document his daily work in the boat yards. Lynch often records details such as the names of coworkers, summaries of steamboat repairs, and the names of steamboats that were built and/or repaired at the Elizabeth Marine Ways. In addition, Lynch also regularly comments on the working conditions in the boat yard.

Lynch’s journal entries also include summaries of the weather and other daily occurrences, such as visitations of acquaintances and household chores performed. Throughout the course of his journal entries, Lynch mentions many of his fellow Elizabeth, Pa. residents. In addition, Lynch also reflects briefly on significant historical events such as the end of World War I, VJ Day, the St. Patrick’s Day Flood of 1936, the onset of Daylight Savings Time, and the Johnstown Flood.

The first entry is dated in 1895 and the last is dated July 19, 1948, just before Lynch’s death.

This collection also includes a compact disc (CD) that contains digital photocopies of journal entries.

Jay Mohney, the great-grandson of Lynch, created a website that further documents Lynch’s career in the steamboat industry. This website includes digital scans of the journals in this collection. In addition, this website also contains an inventory of names mentioned by Lynch in his journals. These names include fellow coworkers, steamboat owners, and local residents of Elizabeth, Pa. The URL to this website is

Controlled Access Terms
Personal Names
  • Lynch, J. W., (1862-1948)
Corporate Names
  • Elizabeth Marine Ways (Elizabeth, Pa.)
  • Steamboats--Pennsylvania--Elizabeth
  • Steamboat workers--Pennsylvania-Elizabeth
  • Elizabeth (Pa.)
Access and Use
Access Restrictions:


Aquisition Information:

Gift from Jay Mohney in 2001.

Archives accession # 2001.0139

Preferred Citation:

J. W. Lynch Journals, 1895-1998, MSS 376, Detre Library and Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center

Processing Information:

Processing by Jim Davidson in 2003. Finding aid edited and processing completed by Sierra Green on 07/31/2014.


Property rights reside with the Senator John Heinz History Center. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Library and Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Related Material:
Noreen Griffith Collection of Charles Winterburn Glass Plate Negatives, c1907, PSS 65, Detre Library and Archives, Heinz History Center

Contents List

Box 1
volume 1 1895-12/25/1943
volume 2 7/31/1938-12/31/1942
volume 3 1/1/1943-10/31/1946
volume 4 11/1/1946-7/19/1948
disc disc Compact Disc (CD) with digital scans of journal pages