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Septimus A. Lyon (1890)


Posted By: Kent Transier (email)
Date: 5/27/2005 at 12:20:32

Unknown St. Charles Newspaper
Hiatt Obituary Collection
Madison County Historical Society


Thursday, October 28, S.A. Lyon, of this place, was a healthy, jovial man and Thursday night at 10:30 he was a lifeless corpse. Thursday evening he was around in the stores as usual, at which time he went to the drug store, borrowed a putty knife to use the next day, and bought sixty grains of chloral, a drug which he was in the habit of using to procure rest and alleviate rheumatic pain to which he was subject.

In the afternoon he had taken two saws to G.W. Armstrong to have sharpened for use on Friday. He walked home in the company with T.F. Hoff about 10 o'clock, remarking to Mr. Hoff that he wanted a good night's rest and was going home and take some chloral and go to bed.

We learn from the family that he came in and was preparing for bed when Richard Howard called on his way home from church to get some paint, Mr. Lyon remaking that he would mix it the next day and take it down to Hanley. Before retiring it appears that he took the entire 60 grains of chloral. He had been in bed but a few moments (he slept on a lounge) when his daughter thought she heard him fall off the lounge and ran up stairs for her brother Charlie to come down and see what was the matter. When Charlie came down his father was on the floor and just dead. The doctors and neighbors were call at 10:30, only to view the lifeless corpse of S.A. Lyon, who an hour before was in apparent good health and spirits, except as before state.

The coroner was summoned and an inquest held the next day, the verdict of which is appended hereto. There is no doubt in the minds of the people acquainted with Mr. Lyon but that his death was simply the result of a mistake on his part. He was not of a temperament that would indicate that he entened [sic] suicide.

It might be remarked, however, that an empty bottle was found near his bed which had contained a liniment prescribed for him by Dr. Roberts and put up at the drug store some two weeks previous, and which was composed of alcohol, chloral, ether, etc., for external application. Whether or not he had failed to secure the desired effect from the dose of chloral and drank the liniment, supposing it to be harmless, it not known. But one thing is sure, whatever he took stopped the action of the heart immediately, and it is thought that his death struggle consisted of just one desperate move in which he fell from the bed.

His father, Chas. Lyon, and his sister, Sarah Lyon, were telegraphed for and they arrived at 9:55 a.m. Monday from their home in Jamestown, N.Y.

The funeral services were conducted in the M.E. church at 10 a.m. Monday under the auspices of the G.A.R., Rev. Williams as chaplain, and the remains were deposited beside those of his wife in the St. Charles cemetery.

Winterset Madisonian
Winterset, Iowa
October 31, 1890


S. A. Lyons Dies at St. CharIes From an Overdose of the Drug.

Coroner Hobson was called to St. Charles last Friday to hold an inquest upon the body of Septimus A. Lyon, a man about 48 years of age, who had died very suddenly under circumstances to Indicate that his death was not a natural one. A coronerís jury, consisting of J. M. Browne, W. B. Hodges and George W. Armstrong was empaneled. The facts brought out showed clearly that the deceased came to his death by an overdose of chloral, to the habit of taking which he was addicted. It seems that he went to the drug store of Dr. Sayers about 9 oíclock in the evening and purchased 60 grains of chloral, which would be sufficient for three doses. He then went to his home which he shared with his eldest daughter, and it is supposed took the whole amount at a dose, and died from the effects at about half past ten. His daughter understood that he took the drug because he was feeling sick and nervous and wished to obtain sleep. He was addicted to the use of liquor, which probably helped to form the chloral habit and also weakened his system so as to make him unable to withstand its effects. The following is the verdict of the coronerís jury:

STATE. OF IOWA, Madison Co., ss.

An Inquisition holden at St. Charles Madison county, on the 24th day of October, 1890 before .J. M. Hobson coroner of the said county, upon the body of Septimus A. Lyon, there lying dead, by the Jurors whose names are hereto subscribed The said jurors upon their oaths do say that it is our opinion that the the said Septimus A. Lyon came to his death by reason of an accidental overdose or chloral, and that from the evidence produced before us we believe it was taken to alleviate pain.

J. M. Browne,
W. B. Hodges
Geo. W. Armstrong

M. I. Bean, Clerk
J. M. Hobson, Coroner

The deceased was forty-eight years of age and was a native of New York State. He was a widower and had a number of children besides the daughter with whom he made his home. He was a union veteran and a member of the G.A.R. Naturally of an amiable and upright character, he might have stood well in the estimation of the community but for his unfortunate yielding to appetite.


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