Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr. was born in Stuart Circle Hospital in Richmond Virginia. He was the first baby born there
in 1925 having been born on January 3rd. He is the son of
Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Sr.
who was a lawyer, an
historian and President of William and Mary College. He is the grandson of
10th President of the United States. President John Tyler had 15 children and Died in 1862. Lyon's father was
born in 1853. His father had 6 children. (Click on father and grandfather names above.)
Lyon's wife's family bought a farm house in Williamson County in 1947. She was the former
Lucy Jane Pope. She was the daughter of Barton Pope, a long time member of the Franklin Lions Club.
Lucy and Lyon were married in 1958. When Lucy's parents died she and their daughter, Susan, inherited the farm so
they came back to Williamson County to live. The farm was located on Clovercroft Road. Most
of the farm has been sold to the Jones Company and is now part of The Villages at Clovercroft subdivision.
There are still five acres with the old house. Right now Lyon is living in an apartment in Aspen
Grove and the old house is being remodeled. They are adding about 1000 Sq. Ft. to the house. It
will have about 4000 sq. ft. when they finish it.
Lyon finished High School at St. Christopher School in Richmond Va. He then went on to get an
AB degree from the College of William and Mary. His degree was in Jurisprudence. After that
he obtained a Law Degree from the prestigious U. of Virginia Law School.
During the first year out of Law School he was a law clerk for Judge Dobie of the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the 4th Circuit. After that he was a practicing attorney in Richmond and in
Charles City County, Virginia. He was the Commonwealth Attorney, which would be like the
District Attorney General in Tennessee.
After about 10 years in law practice, Lyon was appointed as Director of the Virginia Civil War
Centennial Commission where he served from 1959 to 1963. He drafted the Purposes of the
Centennial and published a book titled "Virginia's Opportunity" on how to observe a Centennial. His book has been copied by
many other states. Tennessee has recently purchased copies of that book.
During his service on the Centennial Commission Lyon produced movies, organized re-
enactments, and many other programs to commemorate historical sites, events and people,
and gave historical lectures throughout the state. In his
talks and writings he emphasized that most of the men and women on both sides of the conflict made
mistakes which led to the war. But many on both sides of the conflict served and fought with dedication and honor. He
believed we should learn to emulate the courage, the devotion, and the love of God that our
All these experiences caused him to seek a change in his career. He went back to school,
attending Duke University and obtaining a PhD in History in 1967.
He taught History at the University of Richmond, at Virginia Military Institute and taught at the Citadel for 20 years. He
says he "got to build" the new VMI Museum and that Stonewall Jackson's horse, which was stuffed and preserved, is at that
museum. The museum also contains mementos of Matthew Fontaine Maury, the pathfinder of the seas, who was born
in Williamson County. Also there are mementos of General George C. Marshall and General George Patton.
Through much of this period, he and his wife were spending quite a bit of time in Tennessee
because of her family and the family farm being here. Their primary home was in Charleston.
His wife became ill and sought medical treatment at Vanderbilt Hospital. When her condition
was diagnosed she went to the Mayo Clinic and was told she might have only two weeks to live.
She lived for two years after that diagnosis and died in 2001.
They have a daughter, Susan, who is an interior designer. Susan obtained a degree from Oral
Roberts University and then obtained an Interior Design Degree from the University of
Tennessee. Although at the very moment she is traveling in Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia she
is designing the remodeling of the old family home at 4085 Clovercroft Road. The home was
first built about 1910.
Lyon was an active member of the Lions Club in Charleston since the early 1970s. He was very
active there, serving on the Board of Directors. The club met only a block from his home. That
club did a lot of work on the streets. The club would ring the bells for the Salvation Army, as one
example. In that club you got fined if you wore the wrong color coat, or if you had an article
printed about you in the newspaper. That was called "advertising".
Lyon often visited the Franklin Lions Club when he and his wife were visiting here with her
parents. Up to the year 2000 they were going back and forth between Tennessee and Charleston.
During WWII, Lyon served in the U.S. Navy. He was in the Navy V-12 program. He was an
Engineering Officer and a Navigator on an LCI in the Amphibious Navy. He was in the
Philippines, in Okinawa and in China but never saw any combat. He says that whenever they
would get to a potential battle site the Japanese had already left. Lyon continued to serve in the
Naval Reserve until his recent retirement.
During his Naval Reserve enlistment, Lyon served in Naval Intelligence. That required him to
keep closely abreast of events in Latin America.
Lyon is a faithful member of the Lions Club whose impressive biography clearly illustrates our
need to get to know each other better.