History of Lyons, Nebraska
From: A History of Burt County, Nebraska
From 1803 to 1929
The Ludi Printing Co.
Wahoo, Nebraska - 1929


The first furrow was broken in the soil that later became known as Everett precinct in which Lyons is situated, on July 4, 1866, by Riley S. Hart, a Civil War veteran who came from Wisconsin with his brother James D. Hart, after their discharge from the Union army in March of that year. They were members of the first colony, largely from Wisconsin, who came about June 12, 1866. They crossed the Missouri river at Decatur, then proceeded westward over the hills finally coming into the broad and beautiful valley which later came to be known as the Logan valley. In this band of first settlers into this territory were Merrit Witlse, Riley S. Hart, James D. Hart, Titus E. Hall, Greenwide Beeman, Peter McMullin. The Hart brothers are the only survivors of that band of immigrants. A few months later other settlers came, among them being Franklin Everett, Beniah W. Everett and wife, Josiah Everett, Jackson Coil, Oliver Wait, Henry Mowerer, Tom Senters and Mel Senters. In 1867, among the settlers were Charles Morter and two sons, Geo. and Charles, John Clements, Ed. R. Libbey, Joe Southwell, these and other families soon made this new settlement in the valley the stopping place for travelers between West Point and Decatur, and Fremont. The first house was built by Josiah Everett in 1866 and was located on what is now described as the southeast quarter, sections 24, 23 and 8, about three quarters of a mile northeast of the present site of Lyons.

The first store was established by B. F. Barber in 1868, on the west side of Logan creek. In order to reach the store by the people living on the east side of the stream, it was necessary for them to use a boat; this was connected to an overhead wire which gave assistance in pulling the little boat to the other side; wires were also there to walk upon, support being given by holding on to the overhead wire.

The first school in the locality was taught in Josiah Everett's house in 1868 by Sarah Hall. The first schoolhouse was erected in 1875. Among the first teachers in the building were Mary Force Brooks, Susie Watson Barber, Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Thomas, Clara Leonard.

The first Post Office was located in the "Freeland building" now the site of the Shumway business block. Mr. Everett was the first postmaster. The town received its name following the application for a postoffice when a name for the settlement had to be secured. Riley Hart is said to have proposed the name of Lyons, in honor of Waldo Lyon, one of the influential citizens who was doing much for the development there. Stage routes were established between West Point, Decatur and Fremont, mail coming from West Point. Titus Hall was one of the stage drivers who had a route between Lyons, Decatur and Tekamah.

Chronicling of early day events would be amis did it not include the name of Charles Hotkiss, he was the pioneer carpenter and mechanic and besides plying his trade he would conduct religious services on Sundays and when called upon would make a casket and bury the dead in due form. The first grist mill was built in 1869 by Waldo Lyon. He had operated a saw mill on the banks of the Missouri river east of Tekamah for sometime previous, but following its destruction by fire he decided to move to the new settlement in the west part of the county and operate a grist mill. The mill still stands and was in operation last year. For years it secured its power from the Logan creek, later using electricity. It is the largest remaining landmark of that pioneer industry.

The first little church was built in 1868, it was a union church, and all the settlers joined in its erection and support. The lumber was hauled across the Missouri river in midwinter on the ice and then by team the remainder of the way by Franklin Everett and Joel Yeaton. Among the first pastors was the Rev. Mr. Wolfe and Rev. J. M. Peebles, the latter being from Decatur. It so happened that more ministers of the Presbyterian faith preached there and in time it came to be known as the Presbyterian church. In 1870 the Presbyterians erected their first church building within the corporate limits of Lyons, the second one was built in 1893. The first Methodist preacher to go as far as Lyons was Jesse Perkins who organized the church there in November 1870. The Catholic church was organized in 1884.

Lyons was incorporated April 28, 1884, and said date W. G. Waite, R. S. Hart, M. E. Ford, L. Kryger and J. E. Ferrington were duly appointed by the Board of County Commissioners as a Board of Trustees for the village of Lyons. The townsite is a few miles away from the first little settlement moved there due to the location of the postoffice, the railroad and other houses. This so happened to be on the land of Waldo Lyon who decided to divide it up into town lots. In arranging for the new townsite, Waldo Lyon placed one restriction on the purchase of lots, that restriction was made a part of every deed, it being that the keeping, selling of making of intoxicating liquors would be forever forbidden and a violation of the agreement would forfeit the deed and the land would revert to the original owner or his heirs. This was probably one of the very first instances of this kind to be made anywhere in the country against the liquor traffic. The railroad built through the locality in 1878 from Omaha, on its way toward Sioux City, it was the Omaha & Northern Nebraska Railroad then, but now is a part of the Northwestern system. The Burlington railroad built through Lyons on its line from Lincoln, Neb. to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1907.

Lyons of today has a population of close to one thousand people, it is paved, sewered, has its own municipally owned water and electric light plant and is one of the most prosperous communities to be found in northeast Nebraska. The water system was put in in 1905, the sewers in 1925 and paving in 1927. The electric light plant was built by the city in 1915, previous to this the town was lighted by a gas plant for a few years, but this did not prove satisfactory and was abandoned upon the completion by the city of the new electric plant. The assessed valuation of Lyons for 1928 was: real estate $624,005.00; personal $331,525.00; intangible, $203,860; total, $1,159,390.00.

Lyons has two parks. Upon the completion of the new high school building in 1917, in another location, the land abandoned was sold to the city for the consideration of one dollar for park purposes. It was beautified and now makes an attractive place adjoining the Burlington railway station. In 1923 fifteen acres on the west side of the town, was secured. This has been made one of the beauty spots as far as parks is concerned, to be found in any city. Water is furnished by the Logan meandering through it upon which boats can be used; a band shell, a cement swimming pool and bathhouse is there together with a spacious dancing pavillion erected by the American Legion post of that place, a modern baseball diamond adjoins the park.

The outstanding industry of this thriving young city is its coperative creamery started in the summer of 1929. It is the first of its kind in Burt county and is proving a success. Butter shipped to New York markets has brought the best test of any shipped out of the state of Nebraska. Livestock and grain shipments compare favorably with any other town of like size in this section of Nebraska.

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