A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
HON. CHARLES W. LYON, one of the ablest attorneys practicing at the bar of
Polk County, and candidate of the regular Republican party for congressman from
the Seventh Congressional District of Iowa in 1928, is a man in whom the
people have implicit confidence, and one who had honorably won the high position
he occupies. He was born on a farm in Van Buren County, Iowa, a son of
Charles H. and Sarah (Tiffy) Lyon, both of whom were born in Van Buren County, he
in 1840 and she in 1846.
Charles H. Lyon was a farmer and dairyman upon an extensive scale. When war
was declared between the states he enlisted in Company A. First Iowa Cavalry,
and served until peace was declared. From the organization of the
Republican party he took an interest in it, and his first vote was cast for Republican
candidates, and he continued his support of his party's principles until his
death. Both he and his wife were active members of the Christian Church.
She, too, has passed away. They had seven children, namely: Ella, who
married N. G. Richardson, a newspaper man of Andover, Ohio; Charles W., who is the
second in order of birth; John D., who is a physician and surgeon of
Minneapolis, Minnesota; Willard H., who is an attorney of Knoxville, Iowa; Paul T.,
who is a physician and surgeon of Chicago, Illinois; Mary who married Rupert
O. Bard of Gordon, Nebraska, a merchant; and Ray B., who is an attorney of
Paso Robles, California.
Since he was two years old Charles W. Lyon has resided in the Seventh
Congressional District, and he was reared on the farm of his parents in Dallas
County, whose rural schools he attended. Later he was a student of the Dexter
High School in the same county, and was graduated therefrom. He continued his
studies in Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa, and later still in the Iowa State
Teachers College, Cedar Falls, Iowa. At intervals between these courses he
taught school, first in the rural districts of Dallas County and later was for
four years superintendent of schools of Collins, Story County, and for seven
years was superintendent of schools of Valley Junction, Polk County. He
then read law in the office of Attorney George W. Dyer, Nevada, Story County,
and was graduated in law from Drake University. In 1902 he was admitted to the
bar of Iowa, and for four years was assistant attorney general of Iowa. For
ten years he was a member of the Iowa State Board of Law Examiners, and
during 1920 and 1921 was head of the legal department of the City of Des Moines.
For four years he was a member of the Republican State Central Committee,
and in 1924 was a delegate to the Republican National Convention held at
Cleveland, Ohio. Since 1898 he has been a resident of Polk County, and no man in
its domain is better known and more universally respected than he.
On June 4, 1928, Charles W. Lyon was a candidate in the primaries for
congressman on the Republican ticket from the Seventh Congressional District,
comprised of the following counties: Dallas, Madison, Marion, Polk, Story and
Warren. He came before the people on the following platform:
"Agriculture. The prosperity and welfare of the nation as a whole is
dependent upon the prosperity and welfare of our agricultural population. The
question of agriculture is therefore a fundamentally national one. Iowa demands
equality for agriculture.
"The McNary-Haugen Bill should be enacted into a law and made operative as
soon as possible. The situation demands the immediate enactment of a tariff
sufficiently high to maintain the home market for agricultural products. The
price for agricultural products must be stablized above the cost of production.
"Agriculture is demanding equal opportunity in the financial world, and to
this end I would introduce and support in the Congress such measures as will
bring about and insure this result.
"We are situated in the very heart of the great agricultural territory of
the United States. Farm values have been greatly deflated, the number of farm
bankruptcies has multiplied, two-thirds of the bank failures since 1920
occurred in the twelve leading agricultural states - Iowa heading the list.
"I am anxious for the opportunity to help remedy this condition. As your
representative in Congress I could not and would not content myself to sit idly
by but would exert every ounce of strength that God gives me to bring about a
bette condition. Every farmer, every wage earner, every banker, every
business and professional man and woman and every housewife is, I am sure,
interested with me in bringing about a bettered situation.
"Foreign Relations: I fully recognize the widsom of and the practical
necessity for an adequate system of national defense. I would cooperate in all
sound movements which would commit this nation to positive leadership in
securing world peace. In our relations with other nations, whether large or small,
the policy of good will and friendly cooperation should prevail. I favor
arbitration between nations as a substitute for war and I look with disfavor on
the spirit of competitive armament.
"Law Enforcement: I am in favor of the enforcement of all laws including
the Eighteenth Amendment.
"Labor: I am in hearty accord with the efforts put forth by organized labor
to improve the living and social conditions of the wage earner and his
family, and I believe in and will seek to maintain the American standard of living
"Soldiers: I believe it to be the patriotic duty of the Federal government
to make ample provision for the proper care of the disabled soldiers who
offered their lives in teh Civil, Spanish-American and World wars.
"Conscription: In case of war no discrimination should be made between men
and wealth - if there is conscription of men there should be conscription of
"Deep Water Ways: I heartily favor the proposals to establish and develop
the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence and Mississippi-Missouri water ways.
"Flood Protection: The Federal Government should take such action as will
adequately protect life and property from destruction by floods along the great
water ways of this country.
"Arid Lands: Reclamation of arid lands and irrigation projects should be
postponed until such time as agricultural conditions warrant such reclamation.
"Economy: The burden of taxation has become so serious as to threaten
business and personal interests. Economy in government expenditures should be
uppermost in the mind of every Congressman. I pledge myself, as your
representative in Congress, to do everything in my power to secure the ends of
"I recognize public office as a public trust, and conceive the office of
representative in the Congress of the United States as affording enlarged
opportunities for public service; and as your representative in Congress my policy
would be to initiate and actively promote legislation looking to the welfare
of all the people, and, further, when such legislation is enacted, to use
every legitimate means to secure its administration."
On August 14, 1901, Mr. Lyon married Miss Grace Minnis, of Minburn, Dallas
County, a daughter of Charles and Margaret (Woods) Minnis, both born in the
North of Ireland, and came to the United States in young manhood and womanhood.
The farm on which they settled in Dallas County, Iowa, is still in the
Later he became a merchant at Minburn. Mrs. Lyon was educated at Minburn
and in the State Teachers College, Cedar Falls, and prior to her marriage she
was a teacher in the public schools of Oak Park, Illinois. Two children have
been born to Mr. and Mrs. Lyon, namely: Homer M. who was born October 4,
1902, was graduated from West High School, Des Moines, Iowa, and from Drake
University with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws and member
of Signa Alpha Epsilon and professor of law in the law school of the
University of Saint Louis, Missouri, having the distinction of being the youngest man
to hold such a position in the United States, and he was admitted to the bar
in June, 1926; and Howard W., who is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and
Drake University, Des Moines, and during his senior year in each of these
institutions he was president of the Student Council and of the Young Men's
He is now engaged in the mercantile business with Younker Brothers, Des
Moines, Iowa. The Lyon family all belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, of
which Mr. Lyon is a steward, and for seventeen years he has been a teacher of
an adult Bible class in the Sunday School. High in Masonry, he is a member
of the Scottish and York Rites, and he also belongs to the Mystic Shrine, the
Elks, the Modern Woodmen of American, Knights of Pythias, Sons of Veterans,
Golf and Country Club, and is active in all of these organizations.
Posted at this site with Debbie's permission
*Check stated facts, do not know how accurate.
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