Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lyon Name Well Known in Kentucky

Matthew Lyon's name is well known in Kentucky. Born in County Wicklow, Ireland in 1746, he had made a name for himself in Vermont during the Revolutionary War as a member of the Green Mountain Boys. After the war he was elected to the state legislature and founded the town of Fair Haven in 1783. He also served in congress from 1797 until 1811. In 1798, he was indicted for publishing a letter said to inflame the citizens and "bring the president and government of the United States into contempt." As a result, Lyon spent four months in jail and was fined $1000. A few years later, he moved his family to Kentucky. In 1820 he moved to Arkansas, where he died two years later.

Matthew Lyon's son, Chittenden, was born in Vermont in 1786 and moved with his father and family to Caldwell County, Kentucky in 1801. In Kentucky he was a member of both houses of the Kentucky legislature and later was elected a representative of Kentucky to congress. Lyon County, Kentucky was named in his honor. It is said he inherited the "impetuous Irish temper of the father, and was a man of gigantic stature, strength, and prowess, being fully six and a half feet in height, and weighing 350 pounds." Chittenden Lyon died 8 November 1842.

Source: Appletons Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. IV (Lodge-Pickens), edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, 1888; page 67.

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