More about crazy Esther and the Lyons…

One of my goals on my trip to Salt Lake City the week before last, was to see if I could find more out about my crazy 5x great grandmother Esther (Newell) Lyon.

My belief was that because I could not find a death record for her in Vermont, maybe there is something in Asa Lyon’s probate records that could help answer the question. The assumption being that if she wasn’t mentioned in his probate records she had probably died.

probate_lyon_asap199

A page from Asa Lyon’s probate records of Chittenden County, Vermont.

I am happy to say that she was.

For those who don’t remember – Esther was born in 1761 in Goshen, Litchfield County, Connecticut eldest daughter of the Rev. Abel Newell and his wife Abigail Smith. She married Rev. Asa Lyon, who was two years younger than her, in 1796 when she was 34 years old. They lived in Grand Isle County, Vermont for most of their married life and had three known children together: Abigail, who married Abijah Hatch, Esther, who married Daniel Brown, and Newell, who married Arrietta unknown.

Asa Lyon, the patriarch of the family, died in 1841, and thankfully he left us probate records regarding his estate. In these estate papers I learned several interesting things, the most important was that Esther, his wife, was still alive at the time of his death. However, it was also learned that his daughter Esther had died. She had lived long enough to marry, but it is doubtful she had any children as they are not mentioned in the probate record. The only two children inheriting any part of the estate were Abigail and her brother Newell.

When Asa died he owned close to 1500 acres of land in Vermont, the largest tract being about 300 acres. not all together, but in various places in the state. Its total worth was about $29,000 (that would be about $830,000 in 2015 dollars). So needless to say the Lyons were a family of means and property. I guess it helps if you are a bit of a skinflint, as Asa was known to be.

Abigail’s husband Abijah had been named as Esther’s guardian:

On Application of Abijah B. Hatch guardian of Esther Lyon, widow of Asa Lyon, late of Grand Isle, deceased, an insane person.

and one of the responsibilities of probate court was to make sure that Esther’s needs were going to be taken care of, as seen in this entry:

The said Abijah & Abigail agree to maintain and support the widow of the said Asa Lyon during the residue of her natural life free of any charges upon the said Newell or upon that part of the estate of the said Asa Lyon which shall in the distribution thereof be set to him by procuring for her suitable apartments in the house in which she now resides, and such meats and drinks medicines, bedding, attendance and other accommodations as shall render her as comfortable and happy as in her circumstances she can be made during her life, and inter her remains and lay her coffin beside that of her husband Asa Lyon.

The court even makes sure that her body is properly ‘placed’ when she does pass out of this world.

The probate case file continues until 1843, at no time during this period is it indicated that Esther has died, but, she is not listed in the 1850 census as living with her daughter Abigail. So I can only assume that sometime between 1843 and 1850 Esther died.

This was more than I knew before, so even if I don’t have an exact date I am very pleased.

Their son Newell married and had 6 children with his wife Arrietta. Only his eldest, Asa N. Lyon, survived to adulthood. But Asa married very late in life and never had any children of his own, so, it was up to my 4x great grandmother Abigail to keep the family line going, which she did with great gusto as she had 11 children with Abijah, (that we know of). Her son Oscar Ebenezer Hatch is my ancestor.

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