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Tuolumne County









            The story of the struggles and triumphs of a self-made man is usually interesting, and it is always instructive and encouraging.  One of the best known of this class of men in Tuolumne County is John N. Lyon, the proprietor of the Stent Hotel, who is also well known in connection with mining interests.  Mr. Lyon was born in Mentone, Kosciusko County, Indiana, March 4, 1869, a son of Isaac and Sarah (Nichols) Lyon, both of Irish ancestry but descended from early settlers in New York.  They were themselves pioneers in Ohio and later in Indiana, and in 1869 removed to Kansas, where Mr. Lyon died in November 1882, in the thirty-seventh year of his age, and his wife three years afterward at the age of thirty-five.  A man and woman of the highest respectability, they were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Lyon’s keen intelligence made him locally prominent as a businessman, and, as a Republican, he filled the office of county assessor for three terms.  Isaac and Sarah (Nichols) Lyon left three sons and a daughter.  Their daughter, Charlotte, died in March, 1897, and two of their sons, John N. and William, live at Stent.  The other son, David, lives in Labette County, Kansas.

            John N. Lyon was reared on his father’s farm and had small opportunity to obtain an education during the years of his youth, but by reading and observation he has become a well informed man.  At the age of eighteen years he began to earn his own living as a miner in Missouri and Kansas.  After coming to California he remained awhile at Fresno, and then came to Stent, where he was one of the first settlers and where he built the Golden Rule store, the first building erected in the town, in which he engaged in merchandising, and in which as postmaster he handled the mail of the town.  Eventually he sold out his stock of goods, and in 1896 he built the Stent Hotel, a sightly structure containing an office, parlor, dining room, kitchen and forty-four rooms for the accommodation of guests.  By close attention to business and by his studying the wants of the traveling public he has made a success of the enterprise and does the hotel business of the town.  He is perhaps the best representative of the class of self-made men so large in California which his town affords.  No longer ago than 1893, he was in such financial strait that his capital amounted to no more than fifteen cents; but he is now the principal property owner and businessman of his town and is the proprietor of a part of the town site, and also the owner of undeveloped mining claims.  He is a member of the Miners’ Union, of the Order of Foresters and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is a leading and influential Republican and a citizen of much public spirit, who never loses an opportunity to advance the interests of his town.  He gives the closest attention to his business and is a genial, whole-souled nature, easily making and retaining friends.  Mrs. Lyon is a most hospitable woman and is known as a model “landlady” and has contributed not a little to his success in the hotel business.

            Mr. Lyon was married October 1, 1898, to Miss Alice Fitzgerald, a native of Tuolumne County and a daughter of Andrew Fitzgerald, an early settler in California, and they have a little daughter named Maud, who was born December 4, 1899.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 489-490. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.




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