So, I Googled ‘mary lyon thomas connecticut’ and clicked on the first result, a Wikipedia page for the Thomas Lyon House. I have to say, discovering some of my ancestors have Wikipedia pages is kind of cool.
More to the point for this post…My 7x great-grandmother, Mary Lyon, who was married to Joseph Stedwell, was born in 1649 in Stamford, CT. She was the only child of Thomas Lyon and Martha Winthrop. She was about 4 years old when her mother died and was then raised with her half-siblings by her stepmother, Mary Hoyt. She didn’t forget her heritage however; in a an assertive move following the bequest from her father of only a share of movable property, Mary pursued a claim on land that had gone to her half-brothers. She went to court with the claim that a portion of her father’s land came to him through his marriage to his first wife, Mary’s mother. The court agreed and she received payment in exchange for a quitclaim. You go, girl!
Thomas Lyon, the first immigrant of this line of my Lyon heritage, was born in England about 1621 and it was supposed he was the brother of two other Lyons who immigrated, Richard and Henry. (Henry was in my post earlier this week.) It is known that Thomas was in Stamford, Connecticut by 1647. At that time he was married to Martha Winthrop and wrote a letter to her grandfather, Gov. John Winthrop of Salem, MA, concerning the possibility of a bequest from her grandmother who had recently died. Apparently there were complications at hand because of Mary’s mother’s marital situation (she married a second time while still married to a husband who was deranged) and because of Martha’s very poor health (They hoped for means to assist with her care). Fortunately there exist several letters Thomas and Martha sent to her grandfather and her uncle, John Winthrop, Jr, that give an interesting picture of the times and especially of the circumstances faced by Quakers. (And include the entertaining spelling where Rhode Island is Road Island and Greenwich is Greenage.) Thomas died in Greenwich, CT in 1690.
As I prepared this post, I received my first issue (Summer 2011) of NEHGS’s American Ancestors. As I skimmed through the issue before settling down to read more thoroughly, I spotted a listing on page 56 in the Family Focus section under Family Associations. It seems the Lyon(s) Families Association is sponsoring analyses of DNA test results. Included in this listing was this tidbit of information: The long-held presumption about the relationship of the three Lyon brothers was inaccurate. It turns out Richard and Henry are connected to a fourth Lyon immigrant, William, and none of them are connected to Thomas.