Matthew Lyon

Lyon, Matthew, 1750–1822, American political leader and pioneer, b. Co. Wicklow, Ireland. He emigrated to America in 1765, settling eventually in Vermont. During the American Revolution he served with Ethan Allen. After the war he moved (1783) to the town of Fair Haven, Vt., and, active in various business ventures, became its leading citizen. From 1797 to 1801 he was a vociferous Anti-Federalist member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1798 he was convicted under the Sedition Act for the publication in the Vermont Journal of a letter criticizing President John Adams. While serving a short jail sentence, he was reelected to Congress. Moving to Eddyville, Ky., in 1801, he represented (1803–11) that state in Congress. Lyon was appointed (1820) U.S. agent to the Cherokee in Arkansas, where he was elected the second delegate of that territory to Congress, but died before taking his seat. He was a hero of three successive frontiers, an able exponent of frontier views in Congress, and a man of shrewd business ability.

See biography by R. P. Williams (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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