Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/270

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The Volume XXV


Green June, 1913

Bag Number 6

Late Ex-Chief Justice William Penn Lyon of Wisconsin

By Duane Mowry

THE announcement of the death at San Jose, California, on the 4th of last April, of the Hon. William Penn Lyon, a former Justice and Chief Jus tice of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, brings to mind the public career of one of Wisconsin's eminent citizens and worthy public servants. Justice Lyon ceased to be a member of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin on January 1, 1894, after having served as one of its members for twenty-three years, the last two years of which period he was its Chief Justice ex officio. Prior to his appointment to the bench of the Supreme Court in 1871, Justice Lyon was one of the judges of the Circuit Court, having served in that capacity for five years, his home town being Racine. After his retirement from the Supreme Court, Justice Lyon was one of the members of the State Board of Control, which had under its immediate care and charge the several penal and charitable institutions of the state. Re cently Mr. Lyon had been living at the home of a daughter, Mrs. J. O. Hayes, at San Jose. The subject of this notice was born in Chatham, Columbia County, New

York, October 28, 1822. He was, there fore, at the time of his death, in his ninety-first year. His early education was obtained in the country schools of New York and in his father's store. This was supplemented by a year's training in select schools. In 1841, with his father, he came to Wisconsin. He began the study of law in 1844, and was admitted to the bar in 1846. He moved to Racine, Wis., in 1855, and lived there until the breaking out of the Civil War. He was district attorney of his county and a member of the state legislature in 1859 and 1860, in the latter session being elected speaker of the assembly. Mr. Lyon's ancestors were Quakers, a faith to which he always clung. Regard less of his religious faith, however, when Fort Sumter was fired upon, he raised a company and went to the front as a part of the Eighth Regiment, the famous Eagle regiment. Later he was promoted to the colonelcy of the Thirteenth regi ment of Wisconsin volunteer infantry, serving with bravery and distinction, and was brevetted a brigadier-general at the close of the war. Justice Lyon's record on the bench of the highest court in Wisconsin was above