George Lyon

soldier, entrepreneur, politician, landowner
by JOHN Curry NEWS STAFF
George Lyon., was one of early Richmond’s busiest entrepreneurs. Son of the Mayor of a Scottish town, he had joined the 100th Regiment of Foot in 1808, serving .until settling in the Richmond area in 1818: Holding the rank of lieutenant, he had fought and been wounded at the Battle. of Chippawa in the War of 1812, resulting in a citation for bravery.
When he settled in Richmond his land holdings included the acreage on which this .summer’s archeological dig took place. He also went on to acquire many more land holdings, many perhaps acquired as other early settlers pulled up stakes and left the area as Richmond lost its prominence and importance to the growing settlement of Bytown. It is believed that he controlled over 2,000 acres of land at one time.
During the years 1818 to 1822 when Richmond was military settlement, George Lyon was the Pension Agent, a plumb job. When the Military financial support ceased and the military jobs ended, George Lyon became the Inspecting Field Officer for the Militia, assuming the rank of Captain.
However, George Lyon did not have all of his apples in the military/militia basket. He began a grist mill operation on the Jock River at Richmond in the, early 1820’s, providing a local service for farmers from far and wide. He also started a carding mill for wool, perhaps not at the same location, but in the vicinity of the Jock River.
He ran a licensed still in Richmond, from the 1820’s nto the 1850’s according to Larry Cotton in his book “Whiskey And Wickedness”.
In 1831, George Lyon, by then an established entrepreneur in Richmond, combined forces with a William Teskey of Appleton in neighboring Beckwith township to petition the government for money to survey a new road to run between the two communities. It would head west from Richmond, cutting diagonally across Goulbourn to Ashton from where it would continue on to Appleton. This road would enable even mere farmed to bring their grain to the Lyon grist mill in Richmond.
George Lyon was active in politics, being elected as one of the provincial representatives for the area in both 1832 and 1834. He also served as a Justice of the Peace for the area.
George Lyon died on March 26, 1851 at the age of 61. He was buried in the St. John’s Anglican Church graveyard at Richmond where his gravesite is marked by an elevated, horizontal headstone about four feet by eight feet in size, certainly a final resting place that gives an indication of his prominent role in the affairs of early Richmond.
Archeologist Paul Thibaudeau, who undertook the archeological dig in Richmond this summer on land once owned by George Lyon and which contains an historic stone foundation, has done considerable research about George Lyon for his archeological report on the site. However, he is interested in knowing as much as possible about this early Richmond entrepreneur and would like to hear from anyone who has even the smallest tidbit of information about him. Anyone with any information on George Lyon should contact Mr. Thibaudeau at 613-296-1742 or via email at pthibaud@Connect.carleton.ca.

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