HON. CHARLES W. LYON, one of the ablest attorneys practicing at the bar of Polk County, and candidate of the regular Republican party for congressman from he Seventh Congressional District of Iowa in 1928, is a man in whom the people have implicit confidence, and one who had honorably won the high position  he occupies.  He was born on a farm in Van Buren County, Iowa, a son of Charles H. and Sarah (Tiffy) Lyon, both of whom were born in Van Buren County, he in 1840 and she in 1846.

Charles H. Lyon was a farmer and dairyman upon an extensive scale.  When war was declared between the states he enlisted in Company A. First Iowa Cavalry, and served until peace was declared.  From the organization of the Republican party he took an interest in it, and his first vote was cast for Republican candidates, and he continued his support of his party's principles until his death.  Both he and his wife were active members of the Christian Church.  She, too, has passed away.  They had seven children, namely:  Ella, who married N. G. Richardson, a newspaper man of Andover, Ohio; Charles W., who is the second in order of birth; John D., who is a physician and surgeon of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Willard H., who is an attorney of Knoxville, Iowa; Paul T., who is a physician and surgeon of Chicago, Illinois; Mary who married Rupert O. Bard of Gordon, Nebraska, a merchant; and Ray B., who is an attorney of Paso Robles, California.

Since he was tow years old Charles W. Lyon has resided in the Seventh Congressional District, and he was reared on the farm of his parents in Dallas County, whose rural schools he attended.  Later he was a student of the Dexter High School in the same county, and was graduated there from.  He continued his studies in Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa, and later still in the Iowa State Teachers College, Cedar Falls, Iowa.  At intervals between these courses he taught school, first in the rural districts of Dallas County and later was for four years superintendent of schools of Collins, Story County, and for seven years was superintendent of schools of Valley Junction, Polk County.  He then read law in the office of Attorney George W. Dyer, Nevada, Story County, and was graduated in law from Drake University.  In 1902 he was admitted to the bar of Iowa, and for four years was assistant attorney general of Iowa.  For ten years he was a member of the Iowa State Board of Law Examiners, and during 1920 and 1921 was head of the legal department of the City of Des Moines.  For four years he was a member of the Republican State Central Committee, and in 1924 was a delegate to the Republican National Convention held at Cleveland, Ohio.  Since 1898 he has been a resident of Polk County, and no man in its domain is better known and more universally respected than he.

On June 4, 1928, Charles W. Lyon was a candidate in the primaries for congressman on the Republican ticket from the Seventh Congressional District, comprised of the following counties:  Dallas, Madison, Marion, Polk, Story and Warren.  He came before the people on the following platform:

"Agriculture.  The prosperity and welfare of the nation as a whole is dependent upon the prosperity and welfare of our agricultural population.  The question of agriculture is therefore a fundamentally national one.  Iowa demands equality for agriculture.

"The McNary-Haugen Bill should be enacted into a law and made operative as soon as possible.  The situation demands the immediate enactment of a tariff sufficiently high to maintain the home market for agricultural products.  The price for agricultural products must be stabilized above the cost of production.

"Agriculture is demanding equal opportunity in the financial world, and to this end I would introduce and support in the Congress such measures as will bring about and insure this result.

"We are situated in the very heart of the great agricultural territory of the United States.  Farm values have been greatly deflated, the number of farm bankruptcies has multiplied, two-thirds of the bank failures since 1920 occurred in the twelve leading agricultural states - Iowa heading the list.

"I am anxious for the opportunity to help remedy this condition.  As your representative in Congress I could not and would not content myself to sit idly by but would exert every ounce of strength that God gives me to bring about a better condition.  Every farmer, every wage earner, every banker, every business and professional man and woman and every housewife is, I am sure, interested with me in bringing about a bettered situation.

"Foreign Relations:  I fully recognize the wisdom of and the practical necessity for an adequate system of national defense.  I would cooperate in all sound movements which would commit this nation to positive leadership in securing world peace.  In our relations with other nations, whether large or small, the policy of good will and friendly cooperation should prevail.  I favor arbitration between nations as a substitute for war and I look with disfavor on the spirit of competitive armament.

"Law Enforcement:  I am in favor of the enforcement of all laws including the Eighteenth Amendment.

"Labor:  I am in hearty accord with the efforts put forth by organized labor to improve the living and social conditions of the wage earner and his family, and I believe in and will seek to maintain the American standard of living for labor.

"Soldiers:  I believe it to be the patriotic duty of the Federal government to make ample provision for the proper care of the disabled soldiers who offered their lives in the Civil, Spanish-American and World wars.

"Conscription:  In case of war no discrimination should be made between men and wealth - if there is conscription of men there should be conscription of wealth.

"Deep Water Ways:  I heartily favor the proposals to establish and develop the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence and Mississippi-Missouri water ways.

"Flood Protection: The Federal Government should take such action as will adequately protect life and property from destruction by floods along the great water ways of this country.

"Arid Lands:  Reclamation of arid lands and irrigation projects should be postponed until such time as agricultural conditions warrant such reclamation.

"Economy:  The burden of taxation has become so serious as to threaten business and personal interests.  Economy in government expenditures should be uppermost in the mind of every Congressman.  I pledge myself, as your representative in Congress, to do everything in my power to secure the ends of practical economy.

"I recognize public office as a public trust, and conceive the office of representative in the Congress of the United States as affording enlarged opportunities for public service; and as your representative in Congress my policy would be to initiate and actively promote legislation looking to the welfare of all the people, and, further, when such legislation is enacted, to use every legitimate means to secure its administration."

On August 14, 1901, Mr. Lyon married Miss Grace Minnis, of Minburn, Dallas County, a daughter of Charles and Margaret (Woods) Minnis, both born in the North of Ireland, and came to the United States in young manhood and womanhood.  The farm on which they settled in Dallas County, Iowa, is still in the family.  Later he became a merchant at Minburn.  Mrs. Lyon was educated at Minburn and in the State Teachers College, Cedar Falls, and prior to her marriage she was a teacher in the public schools of Oak Park, Illinois.  Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Lyon, namely:  Homer M. who was born October 4, 1902, was graduated from West High School, Des Moines, Iowa, and from Drake University with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws and member of Signa Alpha Epsilon and professor of law in the law school of the University of Saint Louis, Missouri, having the distinction of being the youngest man to hold such a position in the United States, and he was admitted to the bar in June, 1926; and Howard W., who is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and Drake University, Des Moines, and during his senior year in each of these institutions he was president of the Student Council and of the Young Men's Christian Association.  He is now engaged in the mercantile business with Younker Brothers, Des Moines, Iowa.  The Lyon family all belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mr. Lyon is a steward, and for seventeen years he has been a teacher of an adult Bible class in the Sunday School.  High in Masonry, he is a member of the Scottish and York Rites, and he also belongs to the Mystic Shrine, the Elks, the Modern Woodmen of American, Knights of Pythias, Sons of Veterans, Golf and Country Club, and is active in all of these organizations.


Harlan, Edgar Rubey.

A Narrative History of the People of Iowa.

Vol IV. Chicago:  American Historical Society, 1931

Iowa History Project

Return to the Dallas County Home Page * Dallas County Biographies