METHODIST-L ArchivesArchiver > METHODIST > 2000-04 > 0954654666
From: "Sara J. Lyon" <>
Subject: Rev. Richard Lyon
Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2000 21:51:06 -0800
Can anyone help me find Rev. Richard Lyon, the great great
grandfather of my husband, Robert Jay Lyon, a retired United
According to family tradition Rev. Richard Lyon was a Methodist
minister in NJ and/or PA in the early 1800s. I have written the
archives but they found nothing and suggested that he may have
been a lay preacher.
This is the information that I have from the Family Bible (which
was given to a grandson Milford Lyon, who entered the ministry
and was an Evangelist. Unfortunately contact with him was lost
but a notarized copy of the family records was made and has been
passed down in the family.)
REV. Richard LYON - born 23 July 1772 d. 29 Dec. 1828 or
married (1) - 7 Nov. 1809 Susan BRADY - b. 26 Dec. 1783 d. 26
children - RICHARD b. 27 Aug. 1810
EZEKIEL - b. 5 Nov. 1811
married (2) - 3 Feb. 1817 Mary MURCH b. May 1794 d. 26 Feb.
1880 Clayton Co., IA
(a handwritten note by a granddaughter states: 'She was a
native of Maryland and was a slave owner.')
children - EDMOND BURKE - b. 12 Feb. 1818 Camden, NJ
SUSAN - b. 5 Oct. 1819 (1850 census gives her
place of birth as PA)
SAMUEL - b. 18 Sep 1821, d. 18 Apr. 1822
After the death of Richard Lyon, Mary Murch Lyon married Richard
Pearson, a widower with young children and they moved to Clayton
Co. Ia. The deed for property belonging to Richard Pearson,
gives his wife's name as Mary Ann Pearson. She is buried in
the Pearson lot. Edmond Burke Lyon homesteaded property next
door to the Pearson farm.
Pearsons still live in the area and a descendant of Richard
Pearson sent me some genealogy material. According to records
from the Pearson family "Richard Pearson, b. 1786, married the
widow of a clergyman, Dr. Lyon. "
According to family records Rev. Richard Lyon. was pastor of the
First Methodist Church of Camden, NJ. I have checked with the
Archives and no record of him was found. Recently we were sent
an old newspaper clipping of an article about Harriet Sisson
Lyon, the widow of Edmond Burke Lyon in which she tells that
Edmond lived as a boy in Princeton, New Jersey.
I wrote to the Princeton United Methodist Church and received
the following reply:
"You mentioned a Richard Lyon as pastor of the Methodist
Episcopal Church of Camden, New Jersey, in 1818. The Methodist
Trail in New Jersey (1961), Frank Bateman Stanger, Editor,
The year 1809, in addition to marking the birth of Lincoln, also
marked the beginnings of Methodist in Camden. The city was then
known as Coopers Ferry, not being named Camden until 1828.
Under the direction of Rev. Richard Sneath, a class of seven
members was formed with James Duer, a member of St. Georges,
Philadelphia, as leader.
This was the beginning of what was called the First Methodist
Church of Camden at the time this book was written. Another
Methodist church was not established in Camden until 1838, so
this must be the Camden church you are looking for. Well into
the 19th century most Methodist ministers were circuit riders;
even those serving fairly large churches were usually assigned
smaller congregations where they might preach on Sunday
afternoons a few times a month. The earliest ministers to visit
Princeton rode a circuit from Trenton, now a short twenty minute
drive by car (except during commuting hours). Camden is located
just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia and would
probably have been served by circuit riders with a home base in
that city, or perhaps by ministers from Bridgeton in the
southern end of the state, where Methodism developed much
I have done some research at the Methodist Archives at Drew
University and I found that early records were very sparse.
Ministers traveling constantly by horseback could carry very
little with them, and many local congregations rather informally
grew from small class meetings, with little recognition of their
transition into a church and little feeling for the importance
of keeping records. "
The letter stated that a Methodist church was not established in
Princeton until 1847, many years after Richard Lyon's death. She
wrote: "As the home of the College of New Jersey (which became
Princeton University in 1896) and the Princeton Theological
Seminary, Princeton was dominated by Presbyterians. The entire
faculty of the Seminary were Presbyterian clergymen, and the
College had only a few non-ministerial members on its faculty.
Tales of enthusiastic singing and noisy conversions at camp
meetings gave the Methodists a reputation among the more sedate
Presbyterians of being loud and lacking in dignity, perhaps
verging on rowdyism. It was thought that these Meth-odists would
certainly be a bad influence on the college and seminary
students, and a subtle form of discrimination was ex-erted,
making it difficult to secure a suitable plot of land on which
Richard Lyon's son, Edmond Burke Lyon and most of his 14
children and their descendants were staunch Methodists.
Any help or suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you.