This summer the Fayette County Historical Commission is republishing some of its earliest Footprints of Fayette articles. The series began in 2001. Look for new articles this fall.
By Norman Krischke
(First Published: Aug. 12, 2001)
DeWitt Clinton Lyons founded the town of Lyons, a mile south of the railroad tracks in Schulenburg, near State Highway 77 in 1842. Comanche Indians five years prior killed his father, James Lyons, in October of 1837.
DeWitt had built a General Store at the crossroads of the stagecoach lines on land originally owned by Kesiah (Cryer) Taylor. Mrs. Taylor had obtained the land from the Mexican Government in April of 1831. Part of Schulenburg was built on Kesiah’s league of land. She lived at Lyons for a short time until her third husband, George Taylor, died and then she moved back to Arkansas. [Additional research since this story was originally published leads us to believe that Kesiah stayed in Texas and was buried in the Navidad Baptist Cemetery.]
The town was first called Lyons Store, then Lyons (Stage) Station, followed by Lyons Post Office, Town of Lyons, Lyonsville and, finally, simply, Lyons.
J.G. Armstrong surveyed the townsite about 1845. D.C. Lyons General Store was also the residence of D.C. and Elizabeth (Bridges) Lyons. D.C. and wife moved to near Runge after the Civil War where they are buried in the Lyons Private Cemetery. DeWitt served nine short terms with the Texas Rangers, including the 1845-1846 war with Mexico.
The town of Lyons had a stage station, post office, doctor, Masonic Lodge, public school, and several general stores. The post office with D.C. Lyons as postmaster was established in May of 1846 in the Lyons Store and had four boxes in the “lobby.” Lyons Lodge No. 195, A.F. & A.M, was founded Jan. 23, 1857 with 21 charter members. Dr. Henry P. Overbay, buried at Old High Cemetery, was the first Worshipful Master, and D.C. Lyons was the first Senior Stewart. The lodge building was moved to Schulenburg in 1874, where it was used as the lodge meeting place and as the public school from 1862 to 1900. W. H. Dixon was the first teacher. Lyons Lodge No. 195 is still in existence and located on College Street in Schulenburg.
The Lyons Mounted Riflemen Civil War Company was organized in May of 1861 at Mrs. Bridges’ Spring on School Branch. A.J. Murray was captain of the company of 101 men. William F. Upton was the first lieutenant and W. B. Anderson was first sergeant.
The doctor who served the community was Dr. Henry P. Overbay. A.J. Street was the blacksmith, R.H. Skinner operated a carpenter shop and Neill McKinnon had a general store. The town died in 1874 after the founding of Schulenburg in 1873 when the people moved to the new railroad town. The site of the old town of Lyons is marked with a State Historical Marker, erected in 1972.
From Historical Sites
Lyons, now just a memory, was one of the towns that packed up and moved to the railroad tracks when Schulenburg was being formed. Sparsely settled from 1831 to 1845, Lyons began to grow rapidly, peaking in 1860, when the local sons marched off to war. The ones that did return found their farms in disarray and squatters living on their land. Lyons was named after a family that was attacked by Comanches and the father killed. The youngest son, Warren, was captured and lived with the Comanche for many years. He eventually returned to his family, but never fully gave up the Indian way of life.
Text from historical marker
erected on State Highway 77,
one-half mile south of
Schulenburg in 1972:
Site of Former Town of Lyons
Early town on land grant of Keziah Cryer. Named for settler James Lyons, killed by 1837 Indian raiders, who kidnapped his son Warren. In 1860s town had stores, Masonic Lodge, school, post office; and was on “Cotton Road” to Mexico, but it died in 1870s when the Southern Pacific Railroad was built.