This Page is part of the Allegany County, New York GenWeb site.

Excerpts from the Personal Diary


Spencer D. Lyon

extracted by

Irene Hammond Crowley

with footnotes added by Vivian Karen Bush

Spencer D. Lyon, was the son of Spencer Lyon and Betsy (Ricker) Lyon, early settlers in the town of New Hudson. He was born May 23, 1834. On May 7, 1851, he married Lydia Ann Pratt, daughter of Garrison and Almira Pratt. They had one daughter, Alice M. Lyon. Spencer died in March 1903, three months after his last diary entry.

Spencer's diary was mainly a financial record with a few personal notes recorded. A quote from his obituary aptly describes him: "Mr. Lyon was a man of few words but of the strictist integrity and honor in all things"


March 15 - Mr. Strait leased S. D. Lyon place on shares.

April 11 - Sold 20# butter @ 25 cents per pound.

June 9 - Dr Seneca Allen (1) died today. Household sorrowing.

Sept. 25 - Cuba Fair.  Rain.   No trot today.

Nov. 5 - Went to the center to vote in the election. (2)

Dec. 11 - Went to Cuba to buy sack of flour from Webster.  $2.25

Dec. 25 - Father (3) gave me a $1,000 bond for Christmas.


Jan. 1 - Bonfire, rang bell, fired cannon, not much sleep last night.

Feb. 19 - Great Northern lights    large and colorful.

Feb. 25 - Rearwin moved to Friendship.  Dividing his stock I am to have $12 on division plus his part of hay at $8 per ton.

March 13 - Sold 16 sheep for $100 to Mr. Little

March 17 - It was reported two black bears seen in town.

March 20 - Corporate caucus.   Lute (4) went to Belmont as delegate.

April 18 - Fire at Preston House, Prospect St in Cuba.

April 27 - Mrs Solomon Gee's (5) funeral.  Full house.

April 28 - Fire at 1 a.m.  Foundry burned down.

May 2 - Lydianne and Allie (6) went to see man walk rope across street  rope hung from roof tops.

May 25 - Took Allie fishing at the reservoir.  Got one about 1 pound.

June 6 - Helped Pol drop colt about 1:30 a.m.   Jirah went to the corners.  Allen and Libbie (7) start on NO. 1 for Ohio.

July 4 - Big bonfire for holiday.  Went to Olean to hear Colfax (8) speak.   Estimated 10 t0 15 thousand in crowd.

July 6 - Gen. Rufus Scott here for political speech.

July 7 - Went up to Henricks (9) to investigate burglar broke in and shot Henry and his wife.  Mrs. H. dangerously sick.

July 11 - Walt and Penty (10) here to dinner.   Circus drew large crowd, poor show.

July 14 - Mrs Hendricks died.  Funeral tomorrow.

Aug. 30 - Henry and Lem (11) left horses here while we went to Niagara Falls to hear Lord Hatch lecture.

Sept. 13 - To Olean by way of Haskell, took dinner with Bristol, Called at Olean band   Got $27.97 interest on bond.   Came back by way of Hinsdale.

Sept. 14 - Allie went to Henry (12) and Susie Alexander's wedding in Black Creek.

Oct. 10 - paid up Maggie and let her go.  Hired another girl $1.50 per week.

Oct. 13 - Tight rope walker wheeled a barrow forward and back across the street.  Stalwart man.

Nov. 7 - Went to election (13) then started for Centennial (14) on #12  Arr. NY city abt 11 a.m. Wed.

Nov. 8 - Left for Philadelphia abt noon, arr there 5 p.m.   Found lodging in Daskell St.  $1.50 per day.

Nov. 9 - Thousands on centnl grounds.  Splendid large fireworks.

Nov. 10 - President (15) on grounds.   Got to speak to him despite large crowd.  He knows Cuba.

Nov. 21 - Receivd 50 cents for 1 day jury duty.  Found no cause.

Dec. 3 - Mrs. Sam Story funeral saddens town.

Dec. 7 - Pd colored woman $1 to clean house for Allie.   Alma Truax (16) home from Wisconsin.

Dec. 29 - Pd state and county tax.   On house alone up to $17.69   Fierce for what it is.

Dec. 30 - Pratt (17) had shock.  Ote (18) says paraloces veyr bad.  I staid all night with him.


Feb. 27 - Ad Stevens auction today.

Mar. 16 - Thief took 2 watches from T. F. Rude store

Apr. 10 - Home talent show in hall.   Surprisingly professional.

May 5 - Allen Rogers (19) auction at Black Creek.

May 14 - Libbie came this eve.  Start for Kansas in the morning.

May 25 - To Olean, horse and buggy, staid all night at Bristol's.   Bought 51 yards carpet and lining for $50.

May 26 - Circus in town.  Nothing extra.  Small crowd.

June 9 - Took Holly to be bred.  Stallion named Security.   I am to pay stud fee of $5 if she has a good sound living colt.

Aug. 26 - Stevens tannery burned down.

Sept. 26 - Big show big crowd at Cuba Fair.

Oct. 10 - Drawed stone for the fence and gate in front of the cemetery at the corners.   Allen cemetery adjacent mowed.

Oct. 14 - Bought a cow from Gary $22.50

Dec. 24 - All the family to Chet's (20) for Christmas Tree.   Pleasant.  Most staid all night.


Jan. 28 - Mate and Lem Lyon (21) here for tea.

Feb. 27 - Paid state and county tax, house and store $41.28

March 7 - town meeting voted 67 dry.  No license.

March 30 - Lydianne and Allie went to Black Creek for a week.

April 13 - Wind took roof off the Story Block.

May 5 - Cuba postoffice broke into, safe blown apart, $1000 taken in stamps and money.

May 25 - Planted some corn in the garden, early type.

June 6 - Big turnout for Farmers' Picnic today.

June 7 - Worked awhile in Black Creek cemetery. In bad shape.

June 20 - 90 degrees in the shade most of the day in Cuba.

Sept. 7 - Heavy storm, dark as night at noon.  roofs, trees blown apart.

October - Doctor had hours at Kinney Hotel.  I had 7 teeth pulled, Lydianne had 2.

Oct. 18 - Lent Swift another $10 so he could go to Chicago, he didn't say why.

Dec. 28 - Dallas Whipple barn burned, 7 horses and a colt lost.


Jan. 11 - Lib Truax fell here and broke her wrist.  Had Ote Allen.

Jan. 12 - Ote here again for Lib and Lydianne  got new medicine off him.

Feb. 22 - Lena Lyon (22) home from Boston, stopped here to stay the night.

Feb. 28 - High water, some streets flooded.  Will Ackerley's house caught fire, slight damage.

March 16 - Large attendance  W. S. Lyon (23) funeral today.

April 26 - Marsha Rogers Lyon (24) died 8 O'clock today.  To be buried in Black Creek.

June 24 - Went to Pent's for Lena's wedding.   Stayed two day.   Pleasant.

June 30 - To F. B. Lyon's (25) for Mabel's (26) wedding to G. Whipple.

July 17 - Smith barn struck by lightning.  Horses and building lost.

Sept. 18 - Large crowd at fairgrounds, good races.   My pocket happy.

Oct. - Allie and Alfred and Bertha (27) went to Bradford for firemen's convention.

Oct. 27 - Plumbed for gas and did over store, bricked up son of the windows.

Masonry work$4.00
Mortar and dray  1.40
Carpenter work  2.50
plumb for gas  6.00
lumber  2.70
Hutchins' work  1.50
small bits out of pocket not included.

Nov. 3 - Shingled water closet.

Dec. 31 - A. Swift paid interest and some prin on mortgage leaving $2,200 due me.   Dr Dudley paid $8 for rent of a room over the store for a month and $11.50 for 4 months water rent.  I paid Ote Allen $18 of 20 house calls last five months.   Finances in fair shape should the grim reaper call me.


(1) Seneca Allen was the cousin of George Rogers, husband of Sylvia Lyon Rogers, Spencer's youngest Sister.

(2) This was the presidential election with President Grant running against Horace Greely, editor of the New York Tribune, for his second term.  Grant's previous term had been riddled with scandals.  Grant won by an electoral vote of 286 to 66.  The popular vote was 3,597,132 to 2,384,124.  This was also the year that Susan B. Anthony was arrested for leading a group of women to vote in the election.

(3) Spencer Lyon (1797-1873), father of Spencer D. Lyon.

(4) Lucius B. Lyon (1828-1896), brother of Spencer D. Lyon.

(5) Sarah Ann (Sally) Andrews Gee, mother of William A. Gee who married Spencer D.'s sister, Mary Ann Lyon.

(6) Spencer D.'s wife, Lydia Ann (Pratt) and his daughter, Alice.

(7) Libbie is Spencer D.'s sister, Elizabeth M. (Lyon) Truax.

(8) Schuyler Colfax, the vice-president of the United States.

(9) Henry Hendricks.  He was later arrested and convicted of staging the robbery and shooting his wife.

(10) Walt is Walter Spencer Lyon (1829-1904), Spencer D.'s brother.   Otis Spencer Lyon, called "Pent", was the son of Walter Spencer Lyon and newphew to Spencer D.

(11) Henry J. Lyon and Lemuel R. Lyon, sons of Lemuel Ralph Lyon Sr. (1822-1889), Spencer D.'s brother>

(12) Henry J. Lyon, son of Lemuel Ralph Lyon married Susan O. Alexander, daughter of John E. Alexander of New Hudson.

(13) Rutherford B. Hayes, republican, against Samuel J. Tilden, democrat.   Tilden had a popular vote of 250,000 but the republicans refused to concede the election because the returns from the states of Forida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon were in dispute.  A special commission had to finally determine the electoral vote and Rutherford B. Hayes won the election.

(14) The nation's 100th birthday celebration.   The Centennial Exposition, the 1876 world's fair was held in Philadelphia.   The Exposition covered 450 acres.  Each state had its own building.   Fifty foriegn nations also had exhibits.  The most popular attraction was Machinery Hall with its exhibits of the latest technology.

(15) Ulysses S. Grant.

(16) Alma Truax is the daughter of David and Elizabeth (Lyon) Truax, niece of Spencer D.

(17) Pratt may be Garrison Pratt, father of Lydia Ann (Pratt) Spencer.

(18) Dr. Otis Allen, brother of Dr. Seneca Allen.  Otis Allen was the son of Dr. Calvin L. and Minerva (Rogers) Allen.  He was born in New Hudson, Oct. 13, 1838.

(19) Allen Rogers is the son of George D. and Sylvia (Lyon) Rogers.

(20) Myron Chester Lyon, son of Walter Spencer Lyon, and nephew to Spencer D.

(21) Lemuel Ralph Lyon Jr. and wife, Mary (White) Lyon.

(22) Helena Mary Lyon, daughter of Otis Spencer and Mary Eva (Brown) Lyon.

(23) Walter Spencer Lyon, brother of Spencer D.

(24) wife of Walter Spencer Lyon and sister in law of Spencer D.

(25) Frank B. Lyon, son of Lucius B. Lyon (brother of Spencer D.)

(26) Mabel Lyon, daughter of Frank B. Lyon.  She married Gardner Whipple, son of Benjamin and Pamelia (Marsh) Whipple.

(27) Allie (Lyon) Hatch, her husband, Alfred D. Hatch and daughter, Bertha L. Hatch.


Allegany County History Page

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Last updated on July 20, 2006
© copyright 1999, Vivian Karen Bush
This page is part of the Allegany County, New York GenWeb Site and is not affiliated with any other society or organization.