A well known farmer of Doniphan county, now living retired, Thomas Lyons claims the Emerald Isle as the place of his birth, which occurred in county Mayo in 1825, his parents being John and Mary (Kahn) Lyons. They were also natives of the same isle, born in the parish of Keck, where they spent their entire lives. Thomas was reared at his parental home and the educational privileges which he enjoyed were those afforded by the county schools. At the age of thirteen he put aside his text books and began working for his cousin, who was living upon a farm, continuing in his employ for several years. He lost his father when seven years of age and was only twelve years old at the time of his mother's death, so that he was early forced to begin the battle of life for himself. After three and a half years spent in the service of John Lyons he entered the employ of another cousin, Patrick Lyons, with whom he also remained for three and a half years. On the expiration of that period he went to England, where he was employed for three years, and in 1850 he took passage on a westward bound vessel, which dropped anchor in the harbor of New Orleans after a voyage of seven weeks and two days. From the Crescent city he made his way to Cincinnati, Ohio, and in that vicinity secured employment as a farm hand. In November, 1856, he followed the tide of emigration which steadily drifted westward and thus became a resident of Doniphan county, Kansas, where he pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 33, Wolf River township. His first home was a little cabin, 16 x 17 feet. He was employed by Charles H. Phillips and Jacob Bennett through the first season of his residence in this locality and in 1857 began to break his own land, following that work by the planting of crops. Soon abundant harvests rewarded his efforts and later he extended his labors by engaging in the stock raising and grain business. He was very energetic, industrious and resolute, and thus was enabled to augment his capital and from time to time he has extended the boundaries of his farm until it comprises four hundred and twenty acres of land, on section 33. He erected there a substantial residence, good barns, corncribs and sheds, and placed the land under a high state of cultivation, the arable fields yielding to him a golden tribute in return for the care and labor he bestowed upon them. He was one of the most successful wheat growers in the state, having in one year harvested three thousand bushels of wheat in addition to ten thousand bushels of corn and sixteen thousand bushels of oats. These cereals he sold at good prices and realized therefrom a large profit. He also raised considerable barley at one time and sold that grain as high as one dollar and twenty-five cents a bushel. On one occasion he disposed of four car-loads of wheat to the firm of Bowen & Blair, millers of Atchison, Kansas. His stock raising efforts also brought him a good income, specially dealing in hogs.
On the 27th of September, 1856, Mr. Lyons married Miss Mary Heeney, a native of Butler county, Ohio, and a daughter of Edward Heeney, who is still living, at the very advanced age of one hundred and two years. He is remarkably well preserved, being in the possession of all his faculties. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Lyons has been blessed with seven children, four sons and three daughters, namely: John M. who died in 1898, at the age of forty years, leaving five children; Edward; James J., who is engaged in the dry-goods and grocery business and is regarded as one of the leading merchants of Severance, Kansas; Margaret, who died at the age of fourteen years; Rosa, the wife of D. P. Delaney, the clerk of the court and general agent for the McCormick Company in eastern Kansas; Barney E., a dealer in hardware and groceries in Everest, Kansas; and Mary, who is a student in the convent in St. Joseph, Missouri.
In 1892 Mr. Lyons moved his family to Severance, where he has since lived. He leases his property and the rental therefrom brings a handsome income of seventeen hundred dollars a year. He is now well advanced in life, having passed the psalmist's span of three-score years and ten, but age rests lightly upon him and he possesses the vigor of many a man of younger years. His life has been one of activity and usefulness and to his family, when death shall call him, he will leave not only a handsome property but also an untarnished name.
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