Monday, April 28, 2008

H.B. Lyon

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not be copied without written consent

Matthew Lyon wasn’t the only famous person in the Lyon family. Lyon County, Kentucky was named for his son, Chittenden. Another son, Matthew Lyon Jr., had a son, Hylan Benton Lyon, who became well known also - but for a different reason. H.B. Lyon’s fame resulted from his activities as a Confederate general during the Civil War, during which he orchestrated the burning of a number of courthouses in western Kentucky, including those in the counties of Trigg, Christian and Caldwell. According to Selections From Sam Steger’s Historical Notebook, “After the war, Caldwell Countians were assessed a heavy tax to rebuild the county courthouse. This tax was unpopular and it was a common conception in later years that when Gen. Lyon had business in Princeton, he was most cautious not to be caught in town after dark.”

Gen. Lyon was a graduate of West Point and afterward served in the United States army on the frontiers of Texas and Mexico. At the commencement of the Civil War, he cast his lot with the South and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.

Following the war, H.B. Lyon was connected with the state penitentiary at Frankfort and served on the commission that eventually established the branch penitentiary at Eddyville, Lyon County. The last years of his life were spent in retirement on his farm two miles from Eddyville.

Gen. Lyon was married three times: In 1863 he was married to Laura O’Hara, in 1869 to Grace Machen and his last marriage was to Ruth Wolfe. On 25 April 1907, at the age of 71 years, he died on his farm and was buried in Eddyville Cemetery. According to his obituary, survivors included his wife Ruth; three sons and three daughters, Capt. Frank Lyon of the United States Navy; Mrs. Grace Kevil, of Princeton; Hugh, Ernest, Maybelle and Loraine, who remain at home.

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