Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wauhope Lynn (1856-1920)

Portrait from "Notable New Yorkers of 1896-1899".

  This stern-looking man is Wauhope Lynn, a native of Ireland who during the late 19th century became a distinguished member of the New York bar. An assistant district attorney for New York as well as a judge on both the district and municipal courts, Lynn would also serve a term in the New York state assembly, being elected in 1900. Wauhope Lynn was the son of Crawford and Mary A. Lynn and was born in Ballymena, County of Antrim, Ireland on December 14, 1856. The first eleven years of Lynn's life was spent in the country of his birth, and he would receive his early education here. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1866 and would settle in New York City, attending the city schools as well as working as a "maker of chemical apparatus".
  During the 1870s Lynn would be employed as a mechanic and during his free time would read law to better educate himself. Around 1879 he began attending the Cooper Union School, where he would excel in oratory, and in 1880 began a stint as a clerk in a local law office. Lynn would continue his education at the Law School at New York University and graduated with his law degree in the class of 1882. After being admitted to the bar following his graduation he was selected to be a docket clerk in the New York County clerk's office.
  Lynn remained in the clerk's office for several years and in 1891 received the appointment of Deputy District Attorney of New York County. Serving under District Attorney DeLancey Nicoll (1854-1931), Lynn would later be appointed as Assistant District Attorney, and his time in this post was lauded by the New York Times, which noted that:
"In this position he made a record of having disposed of 289 cases in twenty days, the sentences from which aggregated more than 1,000 years." 
   Wauhope Lynn's time as Assistant District attorney ended with his resignation in 1892, having received the appointment as Judge of the First District Court of New York City. He would be reelected to the bench on two more occasions, both of which he won with a 5,000 vote majority. In 1897 Lynn began service as a Judge of the Municipal Court of the City of New York and three years later received the nomination for a seat in the New York State Assembly. That November Lynn defeated his Republican opponent, Martin J. Nerney, by a vote of 5,020 to 2, 995. Taking his seat at the start of the January 1901 term, Lynn served on the committees on Claims and Railroads during his one term in the assembly. Despite his brief service, Lynn gained press in 1901 when he introduced a bill aiming to "compel the printing of newspapers in type of a specified size". Introduced as a "health law", the basis of Lynn's bill was for "the protection of the eyesight of readers", and, not surprisingly, was called "absurd" in periodicals of the time.

   Following his brief time in the assembly Lynn returned to his judicial duties and while extensive mention is given as to Lynn's service as a judge and assemblyman, his personal life has been a bit more difficult to research. He married first to Anna Nelson, with whom he would have one son, Norman Mills Lynn. Following Anna's death in February 1910 Wauhope remarried to Catherine Corson in June of 1912, and Catherine would survive her husband upon his death in August 1920. 
  A member of Tammany Hall, Wauhope Lynn is noted as being active in "Irish affairs" in New York City, being a member of the Irish Land League, and for many years was a member of both the Iroquois Club and the Monticello Club. In the early 1890s, Lynn had purchased property in the area of Good Ground, Long Island where he would build his home "Lynncliff",  where he died on August 17, 1920 of a heart attack. He had retired from the bench on January 1st of that year and following his passing was interred at Brooklyn's famed Green-wood Cemetery, which, coincidentally enough, happens to be the resting places of two other oddly named political figures who've been profiled here Thorndyke Corning McKennee, and Lispenard Stewart.

Wauhope Lynn, a portrait from his obituary in the Aug. 18, 1920 NY Evening World.

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