Matthew Lyon


Researched by : Tina Easley

Typed by : Becky Roberts



Matthew Lyon Obit


            The Arkansas Gazette announced the death, after a short illness, at Spadre Bluff, Arkansas Territory, of Col. Matthew Lyon, United States factor for the Cherokee nation of Indians, aged about 76 years.

            Col. Lyon has been so much in public life, and at one time was so conspicuous as a partisan politician, that a brief account of the principal incidents of his life, drawn from an obituary notice of him in the Arkansas paper, may be interesting. He was a native of Ireland, but emigrated early in life to this country, and was one of the first settlers in Vermont. In the War of the Revolution, he was active in his exertions to serve its liberties and independence. He had filled several important offices in Vermont, previous to his election as a member of the Convention, which formed the constitution of that state. He was several times elected to the state legislature, and about the year 1796, was elected a representative to the congress of the United States. It was here that, he rendered himself obnoxious to the then ruling party, during the presidency of Mr. Adams, by the firm and resolute manner in which he opposed the odious sedition law, and after his efforts to prevent its passage proved unsuccessful, by exerting his utmost influence to render it unpopular. This was done by the free expression of his sentiments at all times, and by causing the publication of a letter addressed to him by an American citizen in France, which contained severe animadversions on the conduct of the Federal administration. ---For the free use of speech and of the press, he was arrested for a violation of that odious law, though at the time a representative of the people, in the national councils, tried and sentenced to an imprisonment of three months, and the payment of a fine of one thousand dollars. When on the eve of departure to take his seat in congress, the sentence was carried into effect and Col. Lyon was thrown into prison, in am inclement season of the year, and treated with no great delicacy, while he remained incarcerated.  These violent and arbitrary measures produced throughout the union a general and loud burst of indignation and had great effect in bringing about the change in the administration, which soon followed. The constituents of Col. Lyon, approved his conduct, remained his fast friends, and re-elected him to Congress, while he was in prison.

            Having been unsuccessful in the manufacturing business, in which he was engaged in Vermont, he removed about the year 1802, with his family, to Eddyville, Kentucky, and was there for some time engaged in business. In 1808 he was elected a member of Congress from that state, and was re-elected during the twelve succeeding years. He was also several times chosen a member of the legislature of Kentucky. He was a member of Congress during fourteen sessions.

            In Kentucky he was again unfortunate in his business, and found himself at an advantage age reduced in his circumstances. He then applied, through his friends, to the executive for an appointment, and obtained the situation, which he filled at the time of his death. At the last election for a delegate to congress from the territory of Arkansas, Col. Lyon offered himself as a candidate and received nearly as many votes as his successful rival.