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The Children of James H. and Sarah Lyons, Generation Three: Part 3


November 18, 2021

Editor’s Note: The first 10 children of James H. and Sarah Lyons were detailed in the Nov. 4 and Nov. 10 editions of the Herald. This article continues with the next four children. The remaining two children will be featured in the next edition of the Herald.

Esther, born in 1862, was the 11th child born to James and Sarah. She married Blair W. Brown, living on Brush Mountain Road in Frankstown Township, Blair County. Blair and Esther held a reunion for students of the separate public school in Hollidaysburg at their grove in 1927; featured in an article in the Altoona Tribune that August. Invited were former teachers and pupils, their offspring and friends who had attended the colored school before the separate school system was abolished. They were the parents of seven children. She died in 1937 at age 75, and was buried in the Union cemetery in Hollidaysburg.

Another son, John F., born in 1863, followed several brothers’ careers in house painting, as he left his signature in a home near Salemville. On a wall between the rafters in the attic of a home on Golden Rule Drive (later owned by Naomi Sollenberger), are the letters J F Lyon, 1887 July. 14. ACN June 1.19.11. A marriage certificate shows that he married a local girl, Lucy L. Rice, daughter of Abraham and Barbara (Hinkle) Rice of New Enterprise in 1888; the ceremony performed by J.H. Snoeberger, Justice of the Peace. They had no children.

His obituary in the Altoona Tribune in 1902 revealed a mystery as to his death at age 38, as he was found dead in the police station in Altoona. It took a jury’s findings to determine that police had found an inebriated man lying in an alley on 17th Street about 10:20 p.m. on a Friday night. They took him to the police station and left him there, and in checking later thought him still sleeping. About 2:30 a.m., several policemen again checked, and were surprised to find him dead, confirmed by two doctors. Unable to stop drinking, his death was termed heart failure, affected by alcoholism and exposure. His body was taken to his old home in Salemville where two of his sisters, Mrs. Henry Golden and Mrs. Joseph Fetters, resided. On Sunday morning, services were held in the German Baptist Brethren by Elders D.T. Detwiler and C.L. Buck in the presence of a very large congregation, after which the interment was made in the New Enterprise cemetery.

Daughter Barbara Anna joined the Lyons family in 1866. She married Henry F. Pearl, and at the time of her death in 1957, at age 91, she was widowed, living in Williamsport in Lycoming County. She was buried in the Washington Cemetery, Washington County, west of Pittsburgh. They had no children.

Another daughter, Emma, was born the next year in 1867 and married Oliver Simpson of Fayette County in 1898. Strangely, their marriage certificate states she was born in Fayette County and that she had never been married before. However, according to other records found, she had a complicated life. Emma had a son, Samuel Levi Detwiler, born in 1884 in Salemville; although he was listed in the household of Samuel and Nancy Detwiler. In 1887, she was named as the mother of Lottie E. Bachtel, daughter of Christian or Christopher Bachtel/Bechtel. A son, Victor St. Claire Lyons, was born in 1889 to an unnamed father. The Simpsons, with daughter Berneice, lived in Irwin. At the time of her death in 1932 at age 64, she was living in the Sacred Heart Free Home for Incurable Cancer in Philadelphia County, and was buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland.


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