Caleb Lyon, 2nd Governor of Idaho Territory

Is your surname Lyon?

Research the Lyon family

Caleb Lyon, 2nd Governor of Idaho Territory's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Caleb Lyon

Birthdate: (52)
Birthplace: Greig, Lewis, New York, USA
Death: Died in New York City, New York, New York, USA
Place of Burial: Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Caleb Lyon and Marietta Henrietta Lyon
Husband of Mary Ann Lyon
Father of Caleb Lyon, III and Henrietta Fredrica Lyon
Brother of Lyman Rasselas Lyon and Elizabeth Phillips

Managed by: Eldon Clark (C)
Last Updated:

About Caleb Lyon, 2nd Governor of Idaho Territory

Caleb Lyon (December 7, 1822 Greig, New York – September 8, 1875 Staten Island, New York) was Governor of Idaho Territory from 1864 to 1865 during the last half of the American Civil War.


Caleb Lyon was the son of Marietta Henrietta Dupont (1788–1869) and Caleb Lyon (1761–1835). In 1841, he married Mary Ann Springsteen (1823–1881). They had a son Caleb (b. 1842) and a daughter Henrietta Frederica (b. 1843).

He attended and graduated from the American, Literary, and Scientific Institute (later Norwich University) Class of 1841.

In 1847 he was appointed US Consul to Shanghai, but never made it to China – instead he moved to California, and was credited as the designer of the California State Seal adopted in 1849, although the actual design was by Robert S. Garnett.

Lyon was an Independent member of the New York State Assembly (Lewis Co.) in 1851. He resigned his seat on April 26, and was elected to the New York State Senate on May 27, serving during the 74th New York State Legislature's special session in June/July 1851.

Lyon was elected as an Independent to the 33rd United States Congress, holding office from March 4, 1853, to March 3, 1855.

As Governor of Idaho Territory, Lyon proved to be extremely unpopular. One journalist wrote he was "a conceited, peculiar man, who made many enemies and misappropriated much of the public funds." During Lyon's administration, the territorial capital was moved from Lewiston to Boise, reputedly because Lyon thought it was better to have the capital in a larger city.

Lyon started a diamond-prospecting frenzy when he claimed that a prospector had found a diamond near Ruby City, Idaho. Although hundreds of men staked claims, no genuine diamonds were found as a result.

Toward the end of his life, Lyon was a resident of the town of Rossville, Staten Island, New York, where he purchased a home known as “Ross Castle” in 1859.

A small collection of Lyon’s papers is preserved by the Staten Island Historical Society at Historic Richmond Town in New York, along with various artifacts associated with the Lyon family.

view all

Caleb Lyon, 2nd Governor of Idaho Territory's Timeline

December 7, 1822
Greig, Lewis, New York, USA
Age 19
Age 20
September 8, 1875
Age 52
New York City, New York, New York, USA
Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States