Lyon, Matthew, 1749-1822

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Matthew Lyon had a notable political and military career before settling the area named for him as Lyon County. He was born in Ireland in 1750 and emigrated to America at the age of fifteen. After working as an indentured servant to repay his passage, he purchased lands and settled in Vermont. Lyon began his military career following Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga and later became an adjutant in a Vermont regiment. After leaving the regular army, Lyon became a Vermont legislator and a colonel in its militia. He also engaged in various businesses, including ironworks, paper manufacturing, printing, and timber. In 1797 Lyon won election to Congress as a Republican. He was soon involved in interparty strife between the Federalists and the Republicans. He was convicted and sentenced to jail under the controversial Sedition Act, but was reelected to Congress and cast an important vote for Thomas Jefferson in the contested presidential election of 1800. In 1801 he moved to western Kentucky with a large number of relatives and friends. Lyon resumed his political career, becoming first a Kentucky legislator, then a Congressman. Suffering political and financial losses in the War of 1812 era, Lyon received a political appointment from President James Monroe as factor to the Cherokee Nation in Arkansas. He won election to Congress once again, as Arkansas delegate, but died in 1822 before taking his seat.

From the description of Matthew Lyon letter, 1813 Mar. 23. (Kentucky Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 42369495

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Monroe, James, 1758-1831. Letters : of James Monroe while secretary of state, 1811-1816. James Monroe Museum & Memorial Library
referencedIn Deane, Ernie. Lemke cartoons of historic Arkansas people and places [Noted Arkansans who were born in Ireland] [graphic] / Ernie Deane [photographer]. Arkansas History Commission
referencedIn Moreland, George M. George M. Moreland letter and newsclipping, 1934. Arkansas History Commission, Department of Archives and History
referencedIn Coit, Joshua, 1758-1798. Joshua Coit correspondence, 1792-1798. Library of Congress
referencedIn Records of District Courts of the United States. 1685 - 2009. Case Files. 1792 - 1869. U.S. v. Matthew Lyon. 10/5/1798 - 10/10/1798. Warrant for Punishment in the Case of U.S. v. Matthew Lyon
referencedIn Bailey, Horace W. (Horace Ward), 1852-1914. [Correspondence and newspaper articles / compiled by Horace W. Bailey] Middlebury College
referencedIn Joseph Clay and Clay family papers, 1803-1880 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Joshua Coit Correspondence, 1792-1798 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Records of District Courts of the United States. 1685 - 2009. Case Files. 1792 - 1869. U.S. v. Matthew Lyon
referencedIn Messinger, John, 1771-1846. Papers, 1797-1878. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
creatorOf Lyon, Matthew, 1749-1822. Matthew Lyon letter, 1813 Mar. 23. Kentucky Historical Society, Martin F. Schmidt Research Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bailey, Horace W. (Horace Ward), 1852-1914. person
associatedWith Clay, Joseph A., 1806-1881 person
associatedWith Coit, Joshua, 1758-1798. person
associatedWith Deane, Ernie. person
associatedWith Kentucky. Militia. corporateBody
associatedWith Messinger, John, 1771-1846. person
associatedWith Monroe, James, 1758-1831. person
associatedWith Moreland, George M. person
correspondedWith Shelby, Isaac, 1750-1826 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Southern States
Indians of North America


Birth 1749-07-14

Death 1822-08-01




Ark ID: w6z046qx

SNAC ID: 18808250