Outside Looking In

Lyon County Sesquicentennial

Lyon County Sesquicentennial
The actual Lyon County sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, is Aug. 12, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the planned celebration and activities are being postponed until 2021.
However, the sesquicentennial will continue to be honored throughout the year. A Lyon County images book is being released and will be available for purchase this year. Commemorative t-shirts are also being sold.
The Lyon County Historical Museum will have a display and show videos and online programs commemorating the 150th anniversary.
August 12, 1870 was the first meeting of the Lyon County Board of Commissioners.
The Lyon County Museum will have a temporary 150th Anniversary display at the museum this fall. Opening date is to be determined.
Lyon County is named after Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon, a U.S. Army officer who served in the Dakota and Minnesota territories before he was killed in the Civil War in 1961. Prior to his death, Lyon had achieved the rank of general.
Lyon County features 11 incorporated cities and census designated places - Balaton, Cottonwood, Florence, Garvin, Ghent, Lynd, Marshall, Minneota, Russell, Taunton and Tracy. There are also four unincorporated communities - Amiret, Burchard, Dudley and Green Valley.
Lyon County previously was much larger until an act passed in 1872 that made the western 43 percent into the newly-formed Lincoln County.
As of the 2010 census, the population of Lyon County was just under 26,000.

Banner to fly high
The Lyon County Museum announced in a press release that on Saturday, Aug. 15 at approximately 10:30 a.m., a Cessna 182 plane will fly into the Marshall Airport to pick up an 80-foot banner, which was produced for Lyon County’s 150th anniversary.
The pilot, David McCandless, of Council Bluffs, Iowa will fly the banner across Lyon County, which will take approximately three to four hours. His company has been pulling banners since 1948.
Lyon County and the Lyon County Historical Society will work with the schools in Lyon County to have students and faculty sign the anniversary banner over the course of the upcoming school year. The banner will be displayed at the 2021 Lyon County Fair. After the fair, the banner will be preserved at the Lyon County Museum in Marshall.

Who was Nathaniel Lyon?
Lyon was born on July 14, 1818 on a farm in Ashford, Connecticut.
He was the first Union general to be killed in the line of duty during the Civil War on Aug. 10, 1861. He had strong pro-Union views. While commander of the Union arsenal in Missouri, a divided state, he became suspicious of Missouri Gov. Claiborne Jackson, who was working with Jefferson Davis on a secret plan for secession.
Under Lyon's command, hid arsenal forced the surrender of the pro-Confederate militia and was promoted to brigadier general for his efforts and was given command of Union troops in Missouri by President Abraham Lincoln. His efforts had prevented Missouri from joining the Confederacy.
Counties in Iowa, Kansas and Nevada are also named after Nathaniel Lyon. Fort Lyon in Colorado, Fort Lyon in Virginia, Lyon Park in St. Louis, Lyon Street in San Francisco and Lyon Lane in Carson City, Nevada are also all named in Lyon's honor.
Lyon was killed at the Battle of Wilson's Creek in Springfield, Missouri while trying to rally his outnumbered soldiers.
At the Battle of Wilson's Creek in Springfield, Missouri, the Union soldiers numbered around 6,000, while Confederate forces were nearly twice that amount. During the battle on the morning of Aug. 10, Lyon was wounded when shot in the head and leg.
While trying to rally his badly outnumbered soldiers, Lyon led a countercharge and eventually ended up with no weapon while being completely surrounded by Confederate soldiers. Lyon then picked up rocks and continued to fight, striking a Confederate soldier named John Morgan in the face. Morgan then delivered the final blow by shooting Lyon in the heart.
Lyon is buried in a family plot in Eastford, Connecticut. An estimated 15,000 people attended his funeral.

Nathaniel Lyon

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