March 28, 2012

Matthew Lyon (1749 - 1822), Part 5: Kentucky Duel

I decided it's time to wrap up these posts along with the month of March with one last post.  It was either this anecdote or his Sedition trial, and when in doubt I always go with the duel.  I may do a post on his Sedition trial sometime in the future, maybe, but I'm not sure.  How specific of me, I know--don't hold your breath for it...

This article on Matthew Lyon comes from the Greenfield Gazette of Massachusetts on December 15, 1806.

We have heard it reported from a gentleman who was an eye witness to "the scene of action" that on the night of the election at Eddyville, Kentucky, a misunderstanding took place between the Hon. Matthew Lyon and a Mr. Cofield, in consequence of the latter's not voting for the former.  The circumstance as related to us, was, that Mr. Cofield was introduced to Mr. Lyon, but Mr. L. instead of greeting him as one of his own kidney; observed, he did not wish to be acquainted with him as he did not vote for him, consequently Mr. C. could not be his friend--this roused the passions of Mr. C and some few hard words ensued; among them Mr. C. asked Mr. L. if he was acquainted with a certain Roger Griswold, and mentioned the "scene of action" that once took place between a certain Matthew Lyon and him, concerning the spitting in the latter's face.  Mr. L immediately cracked away at Mr. C. but Mr. C. so completely defended himself that he parried off the blow and the "scene of action" commenced hot and hard--Mr. C. at last knocked the honorable gentleman down, and made an essay to gouge him--in the attempt, however, the honorable gentleman got Mr. C's thumb in his mouth and completely amputated it at the first joint.

From the New York Balance on December 8, 1806:
A serious fracas took place at Eddyville, Kentucky, on the night of the late election, between Matthew Lyon and a Mr. Cofield, who, it seems, had refused to vote for Lyon.  Cofield attempted to gouge--but his thumb was caught in Lyon's mouth, and bitten off at the first joint. --So that Matthew is not only a spitting, but a biting Lyon.

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