Matthew Lyon, Patriot

Matthew Lyon, first congressman from Vermont, editor of newspaper, founder of Fair Haven, Vt.

Matthew Lyon, first congressman from Vermont, editor of newspaper, founder of Fair Haven, Vt.

Matthew Lyon, born in 1749, came to this country from Ireland as a 13-year-old boy who became an indentured servant. After working off this indebtedness for nearly ten years he became a member of the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont, an original patriot, and later became Vermont’s first congressman, the editor of its first newspaper, and founder of the town of Fair Haven, Vermont. He later was thrown into jail for attacking the president for suggesting another undeclared war (sound familiar?). He cast the deciding vote for the election of Thomas Jefferson as president. He was a real citizen legislator, not a politician who sought a permanent job in the house or senate. He founded another town in Kentucky and died in Arkansas serving as the U.S. representative to an Indian nation. And though the genes run thin in this century, he was my great-great-great grandfather. The first time I saw the painting shown here was one day walking through the Vermont state house and stopping in my tracks seeing his picture, thinking it looked somewhat familiar. Little did I realize until later that it should have. When I think how corporations and politicians have assumed too much power in our affairs, I am reminded of him and know what he would have said and done today.

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