St. Agnes Cemetery on Syracuse’s south side is often overshadowed by its secular cousin, Oakwood cemetery, a couple miles to the east. Though Oakwood is larger in area and could boast a heritage that stretches back earlier than St. Agnes, both share a striking hilly landscape with lush plantings that offer remarkable city views and an idyllic setting for graves and monuments. It is in Catholic St. Agnes Cemetery that former salt baron Patrick Lynch chose his final resting place.
In 1878, Patrick Lynch reportedly purchased several thousand square feet of property in a prime location in the cemetery and hired architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee to design a proper memorial for the site. The monument is deceptively simple. It is carved from a piece of St. Johnsbury Granite, from Vermont. The granite reportedly cost $7,500.00; a large sum for such a monument. The monument was carved and erected by Francis & Duffy, a local firm who was well known for their monument, headstone and mantle manufacturing. It took approximately a year to carve.
The monument is composed of four parts. A four-sided pedimented pedestal sits on top of a stepped base. The pedestal is carved with pilasters at each corner and the pediments are decorated with laurels. The centers of two of the pediments are carved with the initials of family members. This portion stands roughly ten feet tall. On top of this pedestal sits a column, approximately five feet tall, in the shape of an octagon. The top of this is ornamented with carved foliate decorations dentils and molding. At the very top is an elaborately carved figure called “Resignation”. These figures were common in cemeteries at the time. Some were veiled and some knelt beside the grave. The one at the Lynch monument is life-sized with flowing robes appearing like a Greco-Roman figure. The entire monument stands almost thirty feet tall and has a commanding view towards the valley below.
Patrick Lynch was one of Syracuse’s industrial leaders in his lifetime. He was born in County Kerry, Ireland in 1824. His family moved to the United States in 1833 and at a young age, Patrick began working for his uncle, James Lynch at his dry-goods store. He and his brothers would eventually open a store of their own and Patrick eventually became an investor in Syracuse’s rich salt industry. His connections to the development of Syracuse as an industrial center were also evident during his lifetime. He developed several business blocks, including the Grand Opera House in partnership with John Moore another Silsbee client and contractor for Silsbee’s Syracuse Savings Bank and White Memorial Buildings. He also developed several industrial ventures including what is now the former Lipe Machine shop on Geddes Street. He died in 1898.