Justice Henry A. Lyons
Values Codes I-H-E-L
Henry A. Lyons was born in Philadelphia in 1809.
His parents were French Jews who migrated to America and settled in that city.
In the 1830s Lyons moved to Louisiana where he became a member of the Bar at St. Francisville.
California Supreme Court
The Gold Rush attracted him to California, and in 1849 he ran in Sonora, Tuolumne County for the first legislature, but was defeated.
The new California Constitution created a three-man Supreme Court.
Henry Lyons, already well known as an experienced lawyer, was selected by the Legislature for a four-year term on the first Court.
He received the second highest vote
When Chief Justice S.C. Hastings’ two-year term expired in 1852, Lyons became Chief Justice.
Chief Justice Justice Henry Lyons only served three months, when he resigned.
Justice Lyons lived in a fine Victorian home on Rincon Hill, then a fashionable San Francisco neighborhood.
Justice Henry Lyons was said to have been: “aristocratic in demeanor and an associate of cultured people.”
He was an ardent Southern sympathizer during the Civil War.
Henry Lyons left an estate of about a half-million dollars when he died in 1872, an enormous amount for that period.
Justice Henry A. Lyons remains are interred at Cypress Lawn Cemetery.
More information can be found in the following issue of Western States Jewish History:
- Justice Herny A. Lyons: First Jew to Serve on the California Supreme Court, San Francisco, California, 1809 – 1872, Vol 43#1
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