Robert Lyon (duellist)
Robert Lyon (30 December 1812 – 13 June 1833), the son of a British officer, was the last fatality in Canadian duelling history, shot by a fellow law student, John Wilson in 1833.
Lyon was born in Inverurie, Scotland in 1812 and came to Canada along with his family in 1829.
Initiated by the 20-year-old Lyon at the urging of his eventual "second" Henri Lelievre, the duel was held over the love of local schoolteacher Elizabeth Hughes, and occurred above the Tay Canal outside Perth, Ontario. After Lyon's death, Wilson and his second Samuel Robertson were both charged with murder in Brockville, Ontario, though acquitted. Two years later he married Elizabeth Hughes and they had three children together; he went on to become a judge and Member of Parliament before dying in 1869.
The lawyer Wilson had studied under, James Boulton, left Perth after locals began claiming that he had goaded his understudy to push Lyon into the duel, since he was the understudy of Boulton's rival Thomas Radenhurst. Lyon's second, Henri Lelievre, fled the country fearing that some also considered him responsible for the duel, since he had encouraged a second round after both had missed their first shot. He is believed to have died in Australia.
In 1996, Susan Code wrote A Matter of Honour ISBN 1-896182-27-5, and a year later two students of Sheridan College oversaw the production of an independent film by the same name, telling the story of the duel. On his 1973 album Stompin' Tom and the Hockey Song, Stompin' Tom Connors released the song "The Last Fatal Duel," written by Freddy Dixon, detailing the battle (though accidentally referring to Lyon as William, not Robert).
Lyon's tombstone in the Anglican cemetery in Perth reads
- Friendship Offering,
- To the Memory of
- ROBERT LYON,
- He fell
- in mortal combat
- 13 June 1833
- in the 20th year
- of his Age
- Requieseat in Pace.