This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Thomas Lyons

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


, of Tolono Township, located on section 17 in 1873. Here he has 200 acres of highly cultivated land, and one of the finest residences in the county, a view of which is to be seen on another page. He is well known as one of the most successful and skillful farmers of this locality, who has secured a beautiful home and a competency through his own unaided efforts. Mr. Lyons is a native of "Erin’s Green Isle," and was born in County Kerry, in December, 1829. He is the son of Timothy and Julia (KANE) LYONS, and early in life was taught those habits of industry and economy which have been the secret of his success.

Our subject, in 1855, in company with his father, set sail for the United States. From New York City they proceeded to Chester County, Pa., where they remained until 1859, the mother having joined her husband and son the year after their arrival here. At the expiration of this time the parents came to Illinois and settled in Sangamon County, where the father died in 1861, and his remains were laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. The mother afterward joined her son in Champaign County, and departed this life at her home in Tolono Township. She was buried in Champaign Cemetery. Of their family there are now only two children living—Thomas, of our sketch, and his brother Michael, a resident of Colfax Township.

Our subject spent his early years in his native county, and when nineteen years of age sought the great city of London, England, where for a time he secured employment as a general laborer. After emigrating to this country he remained with his parents in Pennsylvania four years, working for one man during the entire time. After coming west to Sangamon County he was employed by one man seven years, beginning with $10 per month, which was increased to $20. In due time, by careful management and the exercise of close economy, he found himself possessed of $500, with which he purchased a team and other necessary farm implements, and commenced as an agriculturist on his own hook. For seven years he carried on a farm in De Witt County, whence he removed to Champaign County in 1873. He has been most prosperous in his undertakings, and considering the fact that he had but twenty-five cents in his pocket when landing upon American shores, his career has been truly remarkable.

The faithful and devoted companion of our subject, who has followed him through all his wanderings, and rejoiced in his successes, was Miss Lizzie CLIFFORD, who became his wife in London, England, in 1853. She was a native of his own county in Ireland, and they became the parents of nine children, of whom the record is as follows: Julia became the wife of Col. George BUTLER, of Indianapolis, Ind., and died there in 1883; she is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. Mary married John Loftus, and is living in Urbana; Heremiah is deceased, and his remains are interred in Oak Ridge Cemetery; Ellen is keeping house for her brother in Urbana; John F. is engaged in the grocery trade in the latter-named place; Thomas E. is a partner in the grocery trade at Urbana; William, deceased, is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery; Daniel W. is also engaged in the grocery trade with his brothers, John and Thomas, and the firm is well known as Lyons Brotheers; one child died in infancy, and is also buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Mr. Lyons, politically, usually affiliates with the Democratic party, although not by any means a partisan, but in 1860 cast his presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. Religiously he adheres to the Catholic faith of his fathers, and attends religious services at Tolono.

Return to Links Page

Return to Main Page