Henry A. Lyons

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Henry A. Lyons
2nd Chief Justice of California
In office
January 1, 1852 – March 31, 1852
Preceded bySerranus Clinton Hastings
Succeeded byHugh Murray
Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
In office
December 1849 – December 31, 1851
Preceded byNew office created by adoption of the Constitution of 1849
Succeeded byAlexander O. Anderson
Personal details
Born(1809-10-05)October 5, 1809
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJuly 27, 1872(1872-07-27) (aged 62)
San Francisco, California, U.S.

Henry A. Lyons (October 5, 1809 – July 27, 1872) was the second Chief Justice of California, appointed to the court by the California State Legislature at the formation of the state. He was the first Jewish justice on the court.[1]

Background[edit]

Lyons was one of five sons and a daughter born to Solomon and Sarah (also known as Rebecca) Lyons in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] Around 1834, Lyons' older brother Zaligman Selwin became an attorney and moved to Jackson, Louisiana. Lyons then followed and settled in St. Francisville.[3] In May 1846, Governor Isaac Johnson appointed Lyons as an aide-de-camp to the commander-in-chief of the Louisiana militia during the Mexican–American War.[4] In April 1849, Lyons lost a lawsuit over a promissory note for $2,200 he signed in April 1843 in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.[5]

Lyons married Eliza Pirrie in 1840.[3][6] Pirrie was already twice a widow and had a boy, Robert Hillard Jr, from her first husband Robert Hillard, and two children (Isabelle and James Pirrie Bowman) with her second husband William Robert Bowman.[3] Together with Lyons, they had three daughters and a son: Lucy Pirrie,[7] Cora August and Eliza (who passed in childhood in 1853), and Henry A. Lyons, Jr.[3][8][9] In 1851, Lyons' wife passed at the age of 46.[3] On February 27, 1891, his daughter, Cora, died in San Rafael, California, at the age of 46, the same age as her mother.[10]

Career in California[edit]

Lyons left his family to travel to California during the Gold Rush, ultimately settling in the Sonora area.[3] In 1849, he ran for State Senate.[11] In 1849, he sought a seat on the newly formed state Supreme Court.[12] An experienced attorney, he came in second for the votes by the state Senate for the California Supreme Court (behind Justice Serranus Clinton Hastings).[13][14][3][15] Hastings had a two-year term ending in 1852, and Lyons then took over as Chief Justice.[16] Lyons resigned as Chief on March 31, 1852, after serving only three months.[3][15] Lyons wrote a total of eleven opinions during his term on the Court: nine as an associate justice and two as Chief.[3]

After his term, Lyons remained active in politics but did not return to practicing law. Instead, he focused on his business interests in San Francisco and mining ventures.[3][17] In June 1852, Lyons served as a delegate from California to the Democratic National Convention held in Baltimore, Maryland.[18][19]

Lyons died on July 27, 1872 in San Francisco.[20][21][15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "American-Jewish History, a book review of 'History of Jews in America'". The San Francisco call. Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. December 8, 1912. p. 4. Retrieved August 1, 2017. Among the men prominent in the affairs of California mentioned in the book are Solomon Heydendeldt,...Henry A. Lyons.
  2. ^ "Died". Daily Alta California (24 (8158)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 28 July 1872. p. 4. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Johnson, J. Edward (1963). History of the Supreme Court Justices of California, 1850–1900, Volume 1 (PDF). San Francisco, CA: Bender-Moss. pp. 31–33.
  4. ^ "Appointments by the Governor". Indiana State sentinel. Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. May 14, 1846. p. 2. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  5. ^ "Supreme Court of Louisiana". The daily crescent (Morning ed.). Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. April 18, 1849. p. 3. Retrieved August 1, 2017. Robert McCausland v. Lyons and Smith...The judgment below was therefore reversed and judgment rendered against Henry A. Lyons and Ira Smith in solido for the sum of $2200
  6. ^ Wilkie, Laurie A. (2000). Creating Freedom: Material Culture and African-American Identity at Oakley Plantation, Louisiana, 1840--1950. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-8071-2582-2. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  7. ^ "The City of New Orleans vs. Henry A. Lyons; same vs. Lucy L. Mathews; same vs. minors of Lucy L. Mathews". New Orleans Republican. Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. May 20, 1875. p. 3. Retrieved August 1, 2017. Foreclosure on parcel of property for back taxes.
  8. ^ "Married: Cora Lyons". Daily Alta California (23 (7844)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 15 September 1871. p. 4. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  9. ^ "Probate Court, Will Filed, Henry A. Lyons, deceased". Daily Alta California (24 (8168)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 7 August 1872. p. 1. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  10. ^ "Died". Feliciana sentinel. Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. March 7, 1891. p. 2. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  11. ^ "San Joaquin District". Weekly Alta California (47). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 22 November 1849. p. 2. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Goodwin, Cardinal (1914). The Establishment of State Government in California 1846-1850. New York, NY: Macmillan & Co. pp. 287–288. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  13. ^ Journal of the Senate of the State of California. Sacramento, CA: California Legislature. 1850. p. 53. Retrieved July 7, 2017. Proceedings of December 22, 1849.
  14. ^ "First State Officers of California". San Francisco Call (87 (20)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 20 December 1899. p. 4. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c Shuck, Oscar T. (1901). History of the Bench and Bar of California (PDF). The Commercial Printing House. pp. 349–350, 354.
  16. ^ "The Supreme Court, From Chief Justice Hastings to Chief Justice Beatty". The San Francisco call. Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. June 22, 1895. p. 5. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  17. ^ "City Intelligence". Sacramento Daily Union (42 (7412)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 15 February 1872. p. 2. Retrieved August 1, 2017. The following certificates of incorporation were filed in the office of the Secretary of State yesterday: Lyons & Wheeler Mining Company, to operate in Arizona. Capital stock $5,000,000. Principal place of business, San Francisco. Trustees--Henry A. Lyons...
  18. ^ "Two Weeks Later from California...Meeting of State Conventions". New-York daily tribune. Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. March 31, 1852. p. 4. Retrieved August 1, 2017. Henry A. Lyons of San Francisco were elected the Delegates
  19. ^ "Proceedings of the Democratic National Convention". The southern press. Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. June 3, 1852. p. 2. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  20. ^ "Local News". Red Bluff Independent (7). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 10 August 1872. p. 2. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  21. ^ "Personal". Chicago tribune. Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. August 8, 1872. p. 4. Retrieved August 1, 2017. Henry A. Lyons, formerly of the California Supreme Court, died in San Francisco last week.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Serranus Clinton Hastings
Chief Justice of California
January 1, 1852 – March 31, 1852
Succeeded by
Hugh C. Murray
Preceded by
New office created by adoption of the Constitution of 1849
Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
1849 – 1851
Succeeded by
Alexander O. Anderson