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 • Catron County
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Edward Wainwright Lyon
Birth: 1860, England
Death: May 20, 1885
Catron County
New Mexico, USA


Boot Hill is what old-timers called cemeteries where men who die violently - with their boots on..

Two were "murdered" in nearby mining towns - one in 1888, the other in 1899 - and five were "killed by Apaches" in 1885.

One of the five slain by Apaches is a civilian. But the other four are U.S. cavalrymen, enlisted men killed in a fight on Dry Creek, a dozen or so miles south of Alma, on Dec. 19, 1885.

Buried just before Christmas that year, these four soldiers have rested here all this time, far from their homes in the East and the Midwest, and, likely, visited only occasionally by strangers.

A fifth soldier, this one an officer, died on Dry Creek that December day in 1885. He was buried here, too, but exhumed after only a few weeks and reburied at his hometown in Maryland, in a plot near the church of his youth, a place kinder to memories than this steep and rocky slope.

On May 17, 1885, 150 Chiricahua Apaches, including women and children, left the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona because they were unhappy with conditions there.

Led by men such as Geronimo, Natchez and Ulzana, they raided east into New Mexico, killing, looting and burning as they went.

One of their first victims was Edward W. Lyon, a civilian who is buried in Boot Hill cemetery. His father was Arthur Wentworth Lyon, and his mother was Sarah (nee Schwind) Lyon.

Lyon, just 25, was an Englishman, visiting in this country with former classmate Montague Stevens, founder of the WS and SU (Stevens-Upcher) ranches, both in what is now Catron County.

Lyon had ridden from the SU Ranch to Alma to pick up the mail and was ambushed and killed by Apaches on May 20, 1885, north of Alma on his way back to the ranch.

When he failed to return, Montague Stevens and others set out looking for him and found his body not far from scraps of torn mail.

Lyon was the first person buried in the Boot Hill graveyard, but before the year was out, he'd have company.

In November and December 1885, Ulzana and about 20 warriors went on a 1,200-mile rampage through eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, killing about 38 persons. In December of that year, Lt. Samuel Fountain led Troop C of the 8th U.S. Cavalry in pursuit of the marauders.

Fountain and his men caught up with and tangled with the Apaches on Dec. 9 in the Mogollon Mountains, but even though the Army captured two mules, 10 horses and food supplies belonging to the Apaches, the Indians themselves managed to slip away.

On the morning of Dec. 19, Troop C, consisting of three officers, 28 enlisted men and 10 Navajo scouts, found the Apaches at Dry Creek, about 12 miles south of Alma.

Fountain was at the rear of the column, trying to hurry up some stragglers, when the cavalrymen, led by Lt. De Rosey Cabell and Dr. Thomas J.C. Maddox, an assistant surgeon with the rank of lieutenant, confronted three Apaches near the top of a hill.

It is reported that one of the Apaches laughed before all three commenced to fire on the soldiers. As the cavalrymen dismounted to find cover, other Apaches, hidden among the boulders and brush on either side of them, started shooting, too.

Maddox was shot in the chest, knocking him from his saddle. One account says he was trying to remount when a second bullet hit him in the head, killing him.

Pvts. George Gibson of Pennsylvania and Harry McMillan of Michigan were shot down and killed as they and other soldiers, led by Fountain and Cabell, moved toward the concealed enemy in an attempted counterattack.

Also killed in the fighting were wagoner Frank Hutton of Illinois and troop blacksmith Daniel Collins of Massachusetts.

The Apaches lost no men in the brief fight. They took some Army horses, guns and ammunition and disappeared.

Fountain, as soon as he was sure the enemy was gone and had assessed his losses, went to blacksmith Collins, who was dying from his wounds.

"He asked me to pray for him," Fountain wrote later. "I had my little prayer book with me and read to him the prayers for the dying. He realized his condition, was calm and followed the prayers with appreciation. He died soon after.

Fighting with the Apaches continued until September 1886 when Geronimo and his band surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in Arizona.

The Apaches were shipped off in trains to imprisonment in Florida. Later, some of them, including Geronimo, would be moved to Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

Maddox's body was taken from its first resting place in the Boot Hill cemetery on the WS Ranch and reburied in Maryland on Jan. 7, 1886.

But the enlisted men who died on Dry Creek are still here on this rough slice of hillside. Like the Apache people they fought, they ended up a long way from home.

 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Arthur Wentworth Lyon (1818 - 1882)
  Sarah Schwind Lyon (1827 - 1905)
 
 Siblings:
  William Walter Lyon (1851 - 1885)*
  Arthur Wentworth Lyon (1852 - 1935)*
  Charles Sturges Lyon (1854 - 1929)*
  Herbert Lyon (1856 - 1919)*
  Edward Wainwright Lyon (1860 - 1885)
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Boot Hill Cemetery
Alma
Catron County
New Mexico, USA
 
Created by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Record added: May 12, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14270343
Edward Wainwright Lyon
Added by: Jim Hutcheson
 
Edward Wainwright Lyon
Added by: Alf
 
Edward Wainwright Lyon
Added by: C. Fahey
 
 
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