Matthew Lyon


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(1749–1822) Continental army officer, born in Wicklow County, Ireland. Lyon was court-martialed and dishonorably discharged after acquiescing to the demands of his mutinous troops that they abandon their posts because of the threat of Indian attack along the boundary they were guarding. Lyon was later taken on as a scout and guide, however, and was eventually made captain and paymaster of a regiment. He also served as a volunteer during the battle of Saratoga (1778). Lyon, who had come to America as an indentured servant, earlier fought with the Green Mountain Boys in their struggle to prevent New York from taking over the land between it and New Hampshire, and played an important role in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga (1775). He served two terms in Congress as a representative from Vermont (1797–1801) and several more terms later as a representative from Kentucky (1803–11). In the presidential election of 1800 that resulted in a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, throwing the vote into the House, Lyon cast the deciding ballot for Jefferson.


From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence.

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