Memorable Manitobans: Robert Fern Lyons (1856-1926)
Born in Leeds County, Ontario on 1 July 1856, son of Michael Lyons and Ann Gardiner, brother of Joseph Benjamin Lyons, he was educated in the public schools and grammar school at Farmersville, Ontario. He came to Manitoba in 1879 and took up a homestead and established a general store on the plains.
When the Town of Carberry was platted, he and a partner purchased the first two lots sold in the business district on which they erected a building for a department store. In 1888 Lyons sold his interest in the department store. He owned twenty-seven hundred acres of land in the Carberry district, on sixteen hundred of which he grew grain and raised high grade stock.
For many years he was the largest operator on the stock exchange. He was a stockholder in the Lone Pine Gold Mining and Milling Company Limited and was Vice-President of the corporation. He owned a grain elevator at Carberry. A Conservative, he was elected to the Manitoba Legislature as member for Norfolk in 1892 and re-elected in 1899, 1903, 1907, and 1910 but was defeated in 1896, 1914, and 1915.
He was married twice, first on 20 April 1888 to Janet Josephine Hume (1861-1901, daughter of Margaret McNaughton and Thomas Hume, sister-in-law of Robert William Stewart) at Winnipeg. They had four children: Robert Ross Lyons (1889-?), John Wesley Blake Lyons (1892-1987), Ivan Lorne Lyons (1898-1971), and Janet Josephine Lyons (1901-1986, wife of H. C. “Chuck” Banister). On 25 February 1916, he married Jessie Melvina Livingston (1876-1935, daughter of Thomas Livingston and Barbara McNabb). He was a member of the Methodist Church, Masons, and Orange Lodge.
1901 and 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
The Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1914.
Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1926 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.
“R. F. Lyons, Carberry, dies very suddenly,” Manitoba Free Press, 30 December 1926, page 2.
Death registration [Jessie Melvina Lyons], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Carberry Plains - Century One: 1882-1982 by Carberry History Book Committee, 1982, page 193.
Obituary [Janet Josephine Banister], Winnipeg Free Press, 1 May 1986, page 56.
The People of the Big Plain by Carberry-North Cypress 125 History Book Committee, 2007, page 387.
Margaret McNaughton Hume, FindAGrave.
Ivan Lorne Lyons, FindAGrave.
John Wesley Blake Lyons, FindAGrave.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) and Heather Greene for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 December 2022