George Armstrong Lyon (1784-1855)

George Lyon was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on April 11, 1784, the son of William and Margaret Lyon. His father had been one of the patentees of the 1773 school and was a prominent Carlisle Presbyterian. Lyon attended the local Dickinson Grammar School and joined the Dickinson College class of 1800 in 1797. He became a member of the Union Philosophical Society at the College but did not complete his degree. He instead trained as a lawyer.

Lyon followed his family's prominence in Carlisle, operating a law practice, and was president of a local bank. He served as a member of the Dickinson College Board of Trustees between 1815 and 1833. He was also the president of the Presbyterian Church of Carlisle during the tenure of the well known "new light" minister, George Duffield. Conservative and rigid of principle, Lyon resisted Duffield's revivalist influence on his church. He also suspected and resented Duffield's perceived influence on the operation of the College and its President How. Lyon gathered evidence for a charge of heresy against Duffield and was instrumental in placing Duffield's 1832 book, Duffield on Regeneration, on trial before the Presbytery. Before that matter was concluded, however, Lyon had led seventy families out of the Carlisle church to form the Second Church of Carlisle. This permanent split was the fatal weakening of local Presbyterian support for Dickinson College and the institution closed its doors in the spring of 1832.

George Lyon married Anna G. Savage of Northampton County, Virginia in June 1815 and the couple had five daughters and four sons, including John and William Lyon, both in the class of 1839, Andrew Parker Lyon, class of 1848, and Thomas Lyttleton Lyon, class of 1852. George Armstrong Lyon died in Carlisle of tuberculosis on January 6, 1855 and was buried in the Old Church Yard.

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Dickinson College Archives
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