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city, administratively independent of, but located in, Campbell and Bedford counties, south-central Virginia, U.S. It is situated on the James River, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The city grew from a ferry landing settled in 1757 by Quakers; it was named for John Lynch, the ferry operator who owned the original town site. During the American Revolution, John's patriot brother, Charles, set up an irregular court and imposed savage penalties on Tories, giving rise to the expressions "lynch law" and lynching.