When I came across Humberson Lyon and his connection to Abraham Crabtree, I was not expecting to stumble into a giant morass of information.
Will of Humberson Lyon, Proved 1784 in Washington County, VA
Will begins, left, four lines from the bottom of the page
Part of a Chancery Suit, 1809, Augusta County, Virginia
Lyons Heirs v. George Pemberton
Other than naming wife, Mary (MNU), and his five children – William, James, Stephen, and Jacob plus daughter Susannah – there are no other important details in Humberson Lyon’s will. As William is named first and Susannah married in 1801, the children were most likely listed in birth order.
While some online trees state that this man was born in 1732, I do NOT believe that. His will makes no mention of previous children from any other marriage and all five of these children are quite young, based on the dates of their marriages. Also, if Humberson was born that early, it seems much more likely that a man older than Abraham Crabtree (about 34 years old and illiterate) would have been chosen as executor of an estate that would remain open and active for perhaps fifteen years.
I believe that this Humberson Lyon was more likely born in the late 1740s or maybe 1750. If William was born about 1773, his parents probably married around 1772 with Humberson probably 21-25 years old.
Here, then, is the family of Humberson Lyon (born c1750) and wife Mary (MNU):
1. William, born c1773; married (1) Margaret Clark, between 15 October 1794-27 January 1795 (undated marriage return in Washington County, Virginia, but filed between those dates.) He may also be the same William Lyon who married (2) Betsey Clemon, 18 December 1805, also in Washington County.
2. James, born c1775; married Jane Clark, 25 November 1798, Washington County, Virginia
3. Stephen, born c1777; said to have married Margaret Snodgrass, c1802. There are DAR members who joined through descent from this couple.
4. Jacob, born c1779; living in Sullivan County, Tennessee in 1850 and Washington County, Virginia in 1860; married Polly Snodgrass, 10 December 1818, Washington County, Virginia. He may have an earlier unrecorded marriage, given that he was 39 when he married Polly.
5. Susannah, born c1781; married Joseph Miller, 20 May 1801, Washington County, Virginia
Let’s move on to Humberson Lyon #2 (born c1760-1780 at Battle of Kings Mountain). By all accounts, there were militiamen from Washington County, Virginia who fought and died at the Battle of Kings Mountain, South Carolina in 1780. One of the men honored with a plaque is Humberson Lyon, but this man is a bit of a conundrum. It is thought that he was a young, unmarried man because there was no estate entered for him on 24 November 1780 in Washington County, Virginia. There were estates entered for other Washington County men killed in that battle.
Many have conflated Humberson who married Mary and left the 1784 estate with Humberson who died at Kings Mountain in 1780. Others have made the two men father and son, which would push the estimated birth year for Humberson Sr. way earlier than 1750. It is thought that the Kings Mountain Humberson was around 20 or 21 when he died, putting his birth year around 1760.
There isn’t much else to add about this man.
Next, we have Humberson Lyon #3. This man is attributed as the father of Humberson who died early in 1784. Humberson Lyon #3 was in Monocacy, Maryland by 1732 and living in Prince George’s County, Maryland by 1739. On 16 October 1742, he signed a petition requesting the formation of Frederick County, Maryland, which happened in 1748.
Clearly, this “Humberston” Lyon was born no later than 1711 to be of legal age in 1732 records. However, it is very possible that he was much older than 21. How much? There isn’t really an answer to that question because I can’t find him anywhere before the mention in 1732.
This man is more of a mess than the questions surrounding Humberson #2 because #3 supposedly died in Augusta County, Virginia in 1743. However, I can find no mention of and estate administration or will for any Lyon in the 1740s in Augusta County and I have no idea where someone got that date.
Here are more Lyon family clues – factual clues – found in county documents, abstracted by Lyman Chalkley:
24 June 1741 – Richard Ratcliffe by deed of renunciation signed over his administrative rights to his uncle, Richard Touchstone of Monocacy Hundred, Maryland. Then on 25 June 1741, Richard Touchstone gave bond as the administrator of the estate of brother-in-law Robert Ratcliffe. “Humbertston” Lyon witnessed the deed and then was one of the securities for Richard Touchstone. Could Humberson Lyon’s wife been a Ratcliffe or Touchstone???
16 October 1742 – Humberstone Lyon signed a petition to form Frederick County, Maryland
In Augusta County, Virginia
1 April 1743 – Capt. Thomas Cresap vs. Humberstone Lyon. Defendant from Prince George’s County, Maryland
19 March 1746 – Humberstone Lyon witnessed a deed transaction
19 November 1746 – Humberson Lyon on road work
20 November 1746 – Humberson Lyon and Susan, wife of William Miles, charged with adultery
12 February 1746/47 – Humberstone Lyon deposes that James Conoly accused Humberstone of stealing 15 red deer skins and 28 red deer skins from the house of James Skaggs.
21 May 1747 – Humberson Lyon, vice constable
11 May 1749 – Humberson Lyon signed a petition for a road for “frontier inhabitants”
23 May 1750 – Humberson Lyon, road work
August 1753 – Stuart assignee vs. Humblestone Lyon
1754 – Stephen Lyon killed on the Holston River
1760 – Nathaniel Lyon married Margaret Armstrong
25 August 1764, Nathaniel Lyon, (summons?) returned, not in bailiwick
19 November 1764 – Nathaniel and Margaret (Armstrong) Lyon sold 220 acres to John Cotton
October 1765 Devit vs. Francisco – Nathaniel Lyon called brother-in-law of Robert Armstrong
22 November 1768, Lydda Lyon, orphan, bound to Francis Smith
1769 – Nathaniel Lyon, jailed for debt, 20 days
Now, why do I think there perhaps is Humberson Lyon #4? Because of this entry in Chalkley:
On 29 January 1767, Humbertson Lyon appraised the estate of Robert Andrews. In 1766 there is some kind of note about a commission involving Humbertson Lyon JUNIOR. That implies that there is a Humberson Sr. wandering around and both Humbersons would have been 21 years old or older so born no later than 1745.
If a Humberson died in 1743, then who is the second Humberson mentioned in the 1760s? If no Humberson died in 1743, do we have the man who came from Prince George’s County plus a second man, maybe his son? Remember, too, we have Humberson #2 who died at Kings Mountain. If born in 1760, he certainly wouldn’t be mentioned in a court record, but it would mean that at least 3 Humbersons were alive in the 1760s.
I would dearly love to know if there really was a Humberson Lyon who died in 1743!!!
Back to my research question – Was Abraham Crabtree’s wife Mary LYON? Given the lack of vital records so far found, there is no evidence to dissuade me from the idea and the fact that Abraham Crabtree took on the executor role for Humberson Lyon’s estate, I still think this is a distinct possibility.
Next, I need to search land records and probates for myself.