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EARLY LYON/LYONS IMMIGRANTS TO THE AMERICAS

Leonard P. Lyon

George Lyon : Formerly of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Colonel of the Royal North Carolina Regiment. Bachelor. Administration of estate to Walsingham Collins, attorney for nephews and next of kin John Dunlop and Colin Campbell, in Port Glasgow, Scotland, August 1790. Dobson, Scots in the Carolinas, p. 115.

George Lyon : merchant, shipped June 1684 from Port Glasgow, Scotland to Carolina in Pelican of Glasgow.  Dobson, Original Scots Colonists, p. 162.

George Lyon : was selectman in Dorchester, Mass., 1645, indicating arrival at an earlier date. Believed to have been born in England, probably Essex. No further Information on origin, dates, or age. Lyon Memorial, Vol. 1.

Henry Lyon : became a member of the First Church, Milford, Conn., 24 Feb 1649; but this was at the time of the change in date for New Year's Day from 25 March to 1 January and it may be that the date should be restated as 24 Feb 1650, new calendar. In fact, if the tradition that he was a Scottish soldier who witnessed the execution of King Charles I is true, either the old calendar date of 30 Jan 1648 for the execution or the revised church date has to be used, since matching the new calendar date of 30 Jan 1649 for the execution and 24 Feb 1649 for church admission does not give time for Henry to have both watched the execution and appeared in Connecticut at that date - it took about six weeks to cross the Atlantic at that time. If this date problem can be resolved either way, then the Scottish soldier tradition may as well apply to Henry as to Richard.1 It is possible that Henry and Richard were, in fact, brothers, since Henry was soon in Fairfield, CT, where Richard settled, before making his move to Newark, New Jersey, in 1666. Lyon Memorial, Vol. II.

Henry Lyon : sailor, resident of Edinburgh, shipped 18 Aug 1699 from Clyde to Darien, Central America, in Rising Sun. Edinburgh record. Dobson, Original Scots Colonists, p. 162.

James Lyon : from Scotland to North Carolina 1739. Appointed Justice of the Peace 28 Feb 1740. Possibly the James who left a will dated 1752 in Bladen County, NC, naming wife Zillah, son George, daughters Ann, Elizabeth, and Mary, with a John Lyon as an executor. La Verne Good Parsons, personal communication, information from Bladen County, NC probate records; and Donald Whyte,Scottish Emigrants to the U. S. A, Magna Carta Book Company, Baltimore MD.

James Lyon : from Scotland, settled in Maryland by 1785; Daughter Elizabeth married, in Edinburgh, 15 June 1785, William Turnbull, gentleman's servant. Donald Whyte, Dictionary of English Emigrants to the U. S. A, Magna Carta Book Company, Baltimore, MD.

James Lyon : of London; 18 years old in 1774 when he arrived in Virginia on the William(?) between 28 November and 6 December of that year as an indentured servant. Coldham, Complete Book of Emigrants 1751-1776).

James Lyon : wright, from Scotland, settled Barbados. Died before 1676. David Dobson, The Original Scots Colonists of Early America, 1612-1783, p. 162, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1989.

Jeremiah Lyon : Transported 1680, presumably to Maryland. Servant. Skordas, Ship Lists, p. 297, Maryland Hall of Records reference Liber WC2, Folio 395.

John Lyon : a brother of James Lyon (of Bladen County, NC, above?). A botanist who "travelled the southern wilds of North America". Died at Nashville, NC, on 14 Aug 1814 (this from record at Dundee, Scotland). Dobson, p. 115.

John Lyon : Came with wife Margery to Somerset County, Maryland in 1673, possibly from Northampton County, Virginia where a John Lyon was recorded in 1661 (no further mention of a John Lyon in that area). John and Margery sold 200 acres in Somerset County in 1679, and a survey of this land in 1683 states that John had removed to Dorchester County, Maryland. Dorchester land records do show a John Lyon there in 1676, 1690, and 1696, a John Lyon will dated 1703, and a distribution! to John Lyon's heirs in 1705. He had sons named John, James, and Peter; these names appear ca 1750 in Amherst County, Virginia but the name Lyon disappears from Dorchester County after 1773. See Robert R. Goldsborough  and Anita B. Goldsborough, John Lyon of the Eastern Shore, Lyon Memorial Book IV, Lyon Families Association of America, 1976.

John Lyon : it is stated by Sidney Elizabeth Lyon, compiler of the Lyon Memorial, Vol. II, in the introduction to that book, that William, below, had an older brother John who, at age 18, came in the Hopewell, Captain Babb, 12 Feb 1634, presumably to Boston. She speculates that this may have been the John Lyon who was in Salem, MA from 1638 to 1648. No confirmation. Sidney Elizabeth Lyon, Lyon Memorial, Families of Connecticut and New Jersey, (Vol II), Wm. Graham Printing Co., Detroit, MI, 1907 .

John Lyon : native of Scotland. Surgeon. Died at St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, 1817. Dobson, Scottish Settlers in North America, Vol. III, p. 102.

John Lyon : resident of Forfar Angus, Scotland, transported Aug 1752 from Aberdeen to Virginia in St. Andrew. The date suggests transportation by the English of a prisoner from the 1745 uprising (Bonnie Prince Charlie). Dobson, Original Scots Colonists, p. 163.

Joseph Lyon : "late of Charles County, Maryland", 1783. Said by his descendants to have been born in Scotland. No information on embarkation or arrival has been found. See Charles County, MD, probate records; also from Richard Lee Lyons, personal communication.

Martin Lyons : born ca 1735 in Craghead, Tipperary, Ireland, came to the Miramichi River, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, Canada in 1775 with sons John and Thomas. His first wife Helena Anderson may have come with him, but this is not certain. His second wife was Helen Taylor, first cousin of Helena, whom he married in 1801: wives dates and places of birth and death not known. In 1810 Martin stated that he had 11 children; whether this includes those who had passed away is not known, but he had at least one more child, Martin, Jr., born 1812, who had son, also named Martin, who relocated to Wisconsin and raised a family (names not known) there. From John Skarda, personal communication .2

Matthew Lyon : age 49. Resided Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, sailed from Greenock to North Carolina in Ulysses, master J. Wilson; two dates given, May 1775 and 5 July 1775. Weaver in Glasgow. Wife Mary, age 50, and son James, age 21, with him. David Dobson, Scots in the Carolinas, Genealogical Publishing Co., TJIC., Baltimore, 1986.

Michael Lyon : tailor, Jacobite, living in Dublin, transported 1747. The date suggests transportation by the English of a prisoner taken in the Scottish uprising of 1745 in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Dobson, Original Scots Colonists, p. 163.

Peter Lyon : made freeman in Dorchester, Mass., in 1649, indicating arrival at an earlier date. Believed to have come from London. No further information on origin, dates, or age. No known relationship to George, above, but probable. Lyon Memorial, Vol. I.

Philip Lyon : Jacobite (Scottish) prisoner. Captured at battle of Preston by the English, who transported him from Liverpool to South Carolina on the Wakefield, master Thomas Beck, sailed 21 April 1716. Dobson, Original Scots Colonists, p. 163.

Richard Lyon : in Fairfield, Conn., by May 1649. There is a family tradition that Richard Lyon was a soldier "on guard" at Whitehall in London at the execution of King Charles I on 30 Jan 1649 (new calendar), and that he "fled" immediately thereafter, taking ship, presumably to Connecticut. The fact that he bequeathed to his sons a rapier and a backsword, military weapons of the time, lends credence to the tradition that he was a soldier.  Jacobus, Families of Old Fairfield, Vol. 1, Part IV, page 393; and Lyon Memorial Vol. II.

Robert and Margaret Lyon : emigrated from Loch Broom, Rossshire, Scotland, to Pictou, Nova Scotia on the Hector, 1773. Presumably brother and sister or husband and wife. David Dobson, Directory of Scottish Settlers in North America, 1625-1825, Vol. II, p. 89, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1984.

Robert Lyon : native of Scotland, was merchant in London, then merchant in Tobago, West Indies. Died Tobago 1786. John Hutcheson of Fulbar, Renfrewshire, Scotland was cousin and executor of estate, registered 7 May 1822 (presumably in Glasgow). Dobson, Scottish Settlers in North America, Vol. IV, p. 86.

Samuel Lyon : in Philadelphia by 1690, but soon after to Maryland. No reliable information about his country of origin has been found, but he is believed by his descendants to have been either English or Scottish. A small book about him and his descendants has been written, in which he is called "Samuel Lyon the Centenarian", since he lived to be a hundred. From Barbara Lyon Harrison, personal communication.

Theodore Lyon : Gardener, of Donibristle, Scotland. Thief. Banished to America for life, at Perth 29 Sept 1784. Dobson, Scottish Settlers in North America, Vol. 1, p. 112.

Thomas Lyon : in Stamford, Conn., by 1647, but had arrived at an earlier date - a letter shows him settled there, origin, dates, or age not known. In fact, there are conflicting stories, one that he was born in England about 1621. What is known is that he married a granddaughter of Gov. John Winthrop of Massachusetts and that he wrote a letter to him dated 25 Aug 1647 which is in good English indicating that he was an educated man (unless it was written by a scribe, but there is no indication of this). He apparently lived first in Stamford, CT, then Rye, NY, and was buried Byram Neck, Greenwich, Fairfield County, CT, in 1690. It does appear, however, that he was the Thomas Lyon, described as "sometime of Fairfield" in the deed of sale, who owned a "long lot" in Fairfield, CT, purchased in 1654, sold by his sons in 1707. He is usually called "Thomas Lyon of Rye." Donald Lines Jacobus Families of Old Fairfield, Vol. 1, Part IV, p. 394, the Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter, DAR; and A. B. Lyon and G. W. A. Lyon, Lyon Memorial, Vol. III, page 28+, Wm. Graham Printing Co., Detroit, MI.

Walter Lyon : Formerly in Barbados. Prisoner in Edinburgh Tolbooth. Transported from Scotland to the Plantations 23 Sept 1662. David Dobson, Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1984.

William Lyon : born 1715 in Scotland. Patented "Wester Ogle" at Pikesville, Maryland, in 1754. He was son of Robert Lyon, Minister of Minfauns, Scotland, and grandson of George Lyon of Wester Ogil, Scotland, descendants of John Lyon, 3rd Lord Glamis, who was a great-grandson of Sir John Lyon. This William is the only known Lyon immigrant to the Americas who claims descent from Sir John, whose descendants later became Earls of Strathmore. From unpublished Strathmore family tree.

William Lyon : born ca 1687 in Buckinghamshire, England; married, 9 Dec 1714 in Boston, Mass., Experience, daughter of John Hayward. She was born ca 1687 and died in New Haven, CT, 17 Sept. 1751. They lived in New Haven, but he died in Barbados at age 39 in March 1726. See Donald Lines Jacobus, New Haven, Conn., Families, p. 1119.

William Lyon : Jacobite (Scottish) prisoner. Captured at Battle of Preston by the English, who transported him on the Elizabeth and Anne, master Edward Trafford, from Liverpool to Jamaica or Virginia, sailed 29 June 1716. Unindentured. Dobson, Original Scots Colonists, p. 163.

William Lyon : native of Scotland, merchant in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Married Anne Simpson, daughter of Reverend Simpson, Eastwood, on 20 July 1789. Dobson, Settlers in North America, Vol. III, p. 102. Scots in the Carolinas.

William Lyon : to Boston on ship Hopewell sailed from London 11 Sept 1635. 14 years of age. Said to have been youngest son of William and Ann (Carter) Lyon of Heston, Middlesex, England (now part of London). Settled in Roxbury, Mass. A. B. Lyon(s) and G. W. A. Lyon, Lyon Memorial, Massachusetts Families, (Vol. I), Wm. Graham Printing Co. Detroit, MI., 1905.

Possibly others; Scottish records have been better researched than English or Irish, but there were few Irish immigrants, who usually spelled the name Lyons, before 1800. Edward MacLysaght, formerly the Chief Herald of Ireland, in "Irish Families, Their Names, Arms, and Origins", Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1972, says "The name Lyons, with the final Is', of a different derivation related to O'Lyne, Lehane, and Lane, is a familiar Irish name”.

Notes:

1 The best account of this tradition is probably that found in the preface to Sidney Elizabeth Lyon, The Lyon Memorial, Families of Connecticut and New Jersey (Vol. II), Wm. Graham Printing Co., Detroit, Michigan, 1907. The origin of the tradition is not given, and was probably not known to the author; it does not appear in any extant document left by Henry, Richard, or Thomas. It has the ring of truth, but there are disturbing questions.

2 This information was provided by letter by John Skarda, 775 Alder Street.- Junction City, OR 97448.

The Lyon Memorial vol II (pub 1907) begins, “Henry, Thomas and Richard Lyon, Lyons of Glen Lyon in Perthshire, soldiers in Cromwell's army, were on guard before the Banqueting House at Whitehall on January 30th, 1648, and they witnessed the execution of Charles I.” and in the next paragraph appears, “The three Lyon brothers from Glen Lyon, took advantage of a national privilege.”  So begins a myth that has been propagated falsely until now.

 

If one reads the publisher’s note at the beginning of vol II, it says, “The present volume deals with three closely related families, whose progenitors, Thomas, Henry, and Richard, appeared almost simultaneously in Fairfield County, Connecticut.  The editor of this volume accepts as historical facts certain family traditions for which documentary evidence has not yet been found.  For this she assumes individual responsibility.” 

(italics are mine)

 

But, because the “family traditions” appeared in print, they became gospel to generations of researchers.

 

Fast forward 107 years. The “family tradition” that these three were brothers has been discredited through DNA research (a scientific and forensic area unknown in 1907).  Numerous descendants from Thomas, Richard, and Henry have had their DNA tested.  In June, 2010, the Lyon’s Tale contained a summary of the DNA findings as of that time.  The article read in part, “Based on a match of 46 of 46 marker locations tested for the descendants of Henry and Richard, and assuming a genetic mutation rate of 0.0045 (an accepted value currently used and is the average number of mutations per generation per marker tested – in other words a mutation occurs about every 222 generations in each marker) there is a 98% probability that the two descendants share a common ancestor within 10 generations – which means Henry and Richard were probably brothers.

Based on a match of only 21 of 31 common locations tested for the descendants of Henry, Richard and Thomas, the preliminary results show that Thomas was not related to Henry and Richard and their descendants would not have shared a common ancestor for many, many generations.”  (Italics are mine)

 

If your family history shows these three as brothers, you need to disconnect Thomas from the other two.  And please help us get the word out about this error !

 

Furthermore, the belief that these men came from Glen Lyon in Scotland is completely unfounded, as there is no record of any Lyon families having lived there.