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Wednesday, February 06, 2019

The Tenth Trapshooting Amateur National Championships Held in Pelham in 1915


Introduction

Anticipation was high!  Over the winter of 1914-1915, the New York Athletic Club spent more $50,000 (about $1,262,000 in today's dollars) to improve its already-famous shooting grounds on Travers Island in the little Town of Pelham.  The improvements made the shooting grounds "undoubtedly the best in the country."  The improvements were prompted by the highly-anticipated tenth annual Amateur Championship of America among trap shooters from throughout the United States held on Travers Island April 30 - May 1, 1915.

Among the 143 who stepped to the firing line during that competition was George Leonidas Lyon.  An avid sportsman and trap-shooting enthusiast, Lyon was among the best in the United States.  Indeed, he was tapped to serve as an Olympic Coach and adviser to the United States Men's Trap Team for the Summer Games of the V Olympiad held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1912.  He coached James Graham of the United States to the Gold Medal in the Men's Trap event at those games.  He led the entire team to a first place finish in those Summer Games.

In the spring of 1915, however, as Lyon stood on the firing line at the New York Athletic Club among his friends and competitors, only he knew that his health was failing him.  His beautiful wife, Annie Snowden Carr Lyon, had died of tuberculosis only months before in 1914.  George Lyon suffered from the same disease; it was taking its toll.  Indeed, as Lyon stood on the Travers Island firing line, his life was ebbing away.  He even admitted, at the time, that he was in "very poor health."  George Lyon would die of the terrible disease only nine months later on January 11, 1916 in a sanatorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he sought relief.

During the two-day championship competition April 30 - May 1, 1915 held on Travers Island, however, George Lyon used all energy he could muster to focus on the competition.  When the event ended, he had broken all records and finished as the Amateur Champion of America in men's trap.  He considered it his "greatest triumph."



Portrait of George Leonidas Lyon in About 1911.  Source:
Ashe, Samuel A'Court, et al., Sketches from the Biographical
History of North Carolinap. 316 (Greensboro, NC:  C. L.
Van Noppen, 1908 - 1925).  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.


George Leonidas Lyon

George Leonidas Lyon was born on February 3, 1881 in Durham, North Carolina.  He was the second son of Robert E. and Mary Duke Lyon.  His paternal grandfather, Zachariah Inge Lyon, was a tobacco magnate, as was his maternal grandfather, noted philanthropist Washington Duke.  

As a young man, Lyon received a sterling education at Horner School (Oxford, North Carolina), Bingham Military School (founded in Mebane, North Carolina in 1865 and moved to Asheville in 1891.  This school is not to be confused with Bingham Military School founded in Williamsborough, North Carolina in 1826 and subsequently moved to Littleton and then Oxford, North Carolina).  Lyon matriculated for two years at Trinity College (now Duke University) in 1897.  

While visiting in Baltimore in 1901, Lyon attended a match at the Baltimore Shooting Association.  One of the members of the Association showed Lyon how to shoot clay targets and was shocked to learn that Lyon was a natural talent.  This sparked an interest in firearms that led Lyon to a career as a field representative and demonstrator for such companies as Remington Arms, Du Pont Powder, and Union Metallic Cartridge.  Within a remarkably-short time, Lyon "jumped into fame as an amateur and then as a professional trap-shooter."

In 1904, Lyon won the North Carolina - Virginia combined trapshooting championship (one of three such championships.  According to one account, he "progressed year by year for four state wins in North Carolina, the Grand American Preliminary in Chicago, the Southern at Birmingham, and the Great Eastern in Boston, all as an amateur."  Source:  Flannagan, Clara Hamlett Robertson, Lyon, George Leonidas, NCPedida (visited Feb. 2, 2019).

Shooting as an amateur, Lyon competed successfully in the Grand American Handicap held in Indianapolis in 1906.  This "brought him into national fame."  He continued to compete as an amateur until 1910 when he turned professional.  Between 1910 and 1912, he shot professionally representing a number of manufacturers.  (Hence his service as a coach during the 1912 Olympic Summer Games rather than a competitor.)

In 1913, Lyon gave up his professional status and returned to competing as an amateur -- perhaps with his eye on the 1916 Olympic games.  He won a national championship during the 1913 Grand American Handicap in Dayton, Ohio.  He followed that by winning the 1914 and 1915 annual championships of the Long Island Sound Clubs.  According to one biographer, these victories "brought him national recognition again and the popular title of 'Chief Bull Durham,' which had previously been given him in the trapshooting social organization, the Okoboji Indian Chiefs."  Id.

The 1915 Amateur Championship of America on Travers Island

In 1915, Lyon achieved what some believe is among his greatest accomplishments.  He set records in, and won, the tenth annual trapshooting Amateur Championship of America held on Travers Island April 30 - May 1, 1915.



Magic Lantern Slide Displayed to Silent Film Audiences in 1915
During News Displays Prior to Each Movie.  The Caption Reads:
"A team taking part in the national championship trap shooting
contest at Travers Island, N. Y. More than 100 gunners took part.
Shown Through Courtesy of The Haverhill Electric Co."  Source:
Recent eBay Auction.

Anticipation for the 1915 Trapshooting Amateur National Championship on Travers Island was high in the New York Athletic Club and in all of the Town of Pelham.  During the winter of 1914 - 1915, the New York Athletic Club spent more than $50,000 to improve the shooting grounds at the island to make it "undoubtedly the best in the country."  The club enlarged and improved the old shooting house overlooking the bay.  Indeed, according to one newspaper account, the improved shooting house was so nice that it was preferred by shooters over the main clubhouse.  According to the same account, quoted in full at the end of this article, "It has been handsomely furnished in a manner that appeals to the eye of gunners.  Heads of deer, moose and other large game are upon the walls, as also are pictures of hunting and shooting scenes.  Handsome skins are thrown over the floor and there is a big open fireplace in which blazing logs warm the gunners when they come from the firing line."

Even before shooters began registering for the competition, the New York Athletic Club expected the event to be the largest such championship competition to date.  To accommodate such a large event, the club member in charge of trapshooting, George J. Corbett, devised a new technique to move the competition along more quickly.  There were four traps available for shooting.  Previously, trapshooters were broken into multiple groups of four squads with even squads (squads 2 and 4) shooting on traps 1 and 2 and odd squads (squads 1 and 3) shooting on the other two traps -- traps 3 and 4 -- then moving along to the next trap.  Often, one of the squads would finish long before others.  That squad would have to wait to move to the next trap until all gunners had finished on all three other respective traps.

Corbett implemented a new process for the championship.  He described it as follows:

"This year I am going to divide the squads into companies of five squads each and shoot the companies together.  In this manner I should save several hours in handling a big field.  The first company will be made up of squads Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.  In the second company will be squads Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.  The next five squads will make up the next company, and so on until all squads have been put into companies.  At the start of the shoot the first four companies will take to the trap and will interchange at the end of the first string of 'birds.'  In this manner we should facilitate matters and save considerable time.  I expect at least 200 gunners at Travers Island for the amateur championship.'"

Lyon won the preliminaries by breaking 191 out of 200 targets, a new record.  He then broke 192 out of 200 targets in the finals of the championship, another new record.  Of course, his competition total of breaking 383 out of 400 targets was yet another record.  According to a biography of George Lyon, he considered the victory "his greatest triumph."

During the finals, Lyon was pushed by A. L. Chamberlin of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The targets were shot in eight sets of 25 targets.  After the third set, Chamberlin was up by one target.  After the fourth, Lyon was up by one target.  Lyon was up by three targets at the end of the sixth.  He was up by two targets at the end of the seventh.  The two men each broke 23 out of 25 targets in the eighth and final round, leaving Lyon as the champion with 192 broken targets versus 190 broken by his principal opponent.  The two men shot as follows:

Lyon
23
25
24
25
24
24
24
23
192
Chamberlin
24
25
24
23
22
24
25
23
190

Conclusion

Only months later, George Leonidas Lyon died of tuberculosis on January 11, 1916.  He was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in the mausoleum of his maternal grandfather, Washington Duke.  The cemetery is near Lyon's Park in Durham, North Carolina.  The park is named after him.  He was inducted into the Trapshooting Hall of Fame posthumously in 1976.  See Trapshooting Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame Inductee George Lyon Inducted in 1976 (visited Feb. 2, 2019).  

Trapshooting Hall of Famer George Leonidas Lyon died at the age of 34 after achieving his "greatest triumph" in the tiny little town of Pelham, New York.  



Chateauesque Revival Home of George L. Lyon Designed by Charles W. Barrett
Once Located at 803 South Duke Street, Durham, North Carolina and Demolished
in 1975.  Source:  Barrett, Charles W., Colonial Southern Homes -- Illustrated by
Camera and Pen, pp. 20-21 (Raleigh, NC:  Presses of Edwards and Broughton,
1903) (NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge).


*          *          *          *          *

"INTER-YACHT CLUB TRAP-SHOOTING
-----
NEW ROCHELLE WINS FIRST TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MEET.
-----
Tenth Annual Amateur Tournament for the National Title on the New York Athletic Club Grounds at Travers Island. . . . 

The tenth annual championship of America will be shot for at the Travers Island traps of the New York Athletic Club on April 30 and May 1.  The preliminary match at 200 targets will be shot on the first day, for five prizes, and on the second day, in addition to the championship, at 200 targets, there will be a five-man team match for that championship, each member of the team receiving a gold medal.  In addition to this, there will be a gold medal for the highest score of the two days, and another for the longest continuous run in the two days.  A silver cup will be given for the top score in 100 targets over each set of traps.  Capt. Corbett, of the New York Athletic Club has made all the arrangements. . . ."

Source:  INTER-YACHT CLUB TRAP-SHOOTING -- NEW ROCHELLE WINS FIRST TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MEET -- Tenth Annual Amateur Tournament for the National Title on the New York Athletic Club Grounds at Travers Island, The Evening Post [NY, NY], Jan. 18, 1915, p. 10, col. 3.  

"GUNNERS TO SHOOT FOR NATIONAL TITLE
-----
Over 200 Will Assemble on April 30 at N. Y. A. C. Traps on Travers Island.
-----
NEW SYSTEM TO BE USED
-----

Out of town gunners who take part in the tenth annual amateur championship of America at clay birds on April 30 and on May 1 will be impressed by the improvement that the New York Athletic Club has made in its shooting grounds at Travers Island.  During the winter more than $50,000 has been spent in improvements and the grounds now are undoubtedly the best in the country.

The old shooting house by the waters of Pelham Bay has been enlarged and now is used by the nimrods in preference to the big clubhouse on the island.  It has been handsomely furnished in a manner that appeals to the eye of gunners.  Heads of deer, moose and other large game are upon the walls, as also are pictures of hunting and shooting scenes.  Handsome skins are thrown over the floor and there is a big open fireplace in which blazing logs warm the gunners when they come from the firing line.

Four sets of traps have been used throughout the winter at Travers Island.  As a result the New York Athletic Club has been able to handle an unusually large number of gunners each Saturday.  It has been no uncommon thing to have more than fifty on the firing line.  All this has helped the sport, and indications point to the shoot at the end of the month being the largest ever held for the title.

George J. Corbett, who has had full charge of the shooting at Travers Island this winter, will try an innovation at the big shoot which should facilitate matters.  'It has been the custom in former years,' said Mr. Corbett yesterday, 'to shoot all the even squads in traps No. 1 and No. 2, and all the odd squads on traps Nos. 3 and 4.  It quite often happened that one of the squads would finish long before the other.  It would hold them up for quite some little while as the squads could not swing from one trap to another until all the gunners had finished on their respective traps,

'This year I am going to divide the squads into companies of five squads each and shoot the companies together.  In this manner I should save several hours in handling a big field.  The first company will be made up of squads Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.  In the second company will be squads Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.  The next five squads will make up the next company, and so on until all squads have been put into companies.  At the start of the shoot the first four companies will take to the trap and will interchange at the end of the first string of 'birds.'  In this manner we should facilitate matters and save considerable time.  I expect at least 200 gunners at Travers Island for the amateur championship.'"

Source:  GUNNERS TO SHOOT FOR NATIONAL TITLE -- Over 200 Will Assemble on April 30 at N. Y. A. C. Traps on Travers Island -- NEW SYSTEM TO BE USED, N.Y. Sun, Apr. 4, 1915, Vol. LXXXII, No. 216, p. 15, cols. 5-6.  

"TRAVERS ISLAND SHOOTERS' PARADISE
------

Out of town shooters who will take part in the tenth annual amateur championship of America at clay birds on April 30 and on May 1 will be struck with the improvement that the New York Athletic Club has made in its shooting grounds at Travers Island.  During the winter more than $50,000 has been spent in improvements, and the grounds now are among the best in the country.

the old shooting house by the waters of Pelham Bay has been enlarged and now is used in preference to the big clubhouse on the island.  It has been handsomely furnished in a manner that appeals to the eye of experts.  Heads of deer, moose and other large game are upon the walls, as also are pictures of hunting and shooting scenes.  Handsome skins are thrown over the floor, and there is a big open fireplace in which blazing logs warm the men when they come from the firing line.

Four sets of traps have been used throughout the winter at Travers Island.  As a result the New York Athletic Club has been able to handle an unusually large number of competitors each Saturday.  It has been no uncommon thing to have more than fifty on the firing line.  All this has helped the sport, and indications point to the shoot at the end of the month being the largest ever held for the title.

George J. Corbett, who has had full charge of the shooting at Travers Island this winter, will try an innovation at the big shoot which should facilitate matters.  'It has been the custom in former years,' said Mr. Corbett yesterday, 'to shoot all the even squads in Traps No. 1 and No. 2, and all the odd squads on Traps Nos. 3 and 4.  It quite often happened that one of the squads would finish long before the other.  It would hold them up for quite some little while, as the squads could not swing from one trap to another until all the gunners had finished on their respective traps.

'This year I am going to divide the squads into companies of five squads each and shoot the companies together.  In this manner I should have several hours in handling a big field.  The first company will be made up of Squads Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.  In the second company will be Squads Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.  The next five squads will make up the next company, and so on until all squads have been put into companies.  At the start of the shoot the first four companies will take to the traps and will interchange at the end of the first string of 'birds.'  In this manner we should wonderfully facilitate matters and save considerable time.  I expect at least 200 competitors at Travers Island for the amateur championship.'"

Source:  TRAVERS ISLAND SHOOTERS' PARADISE, N. Y. Herald, Apr. 11, 1915, 1st Section, Part IV, p. 2, col. 6.

"CHAMPIONSHIP TRAP SHOOTING TOURNEY TODAY
-----

NEW YORK -- Record work is expected to take place today, when the amateur marksmen of the United States compete at Travers island in the championship trap shooting tournament of the Amateur Athletic Union.  A preliminary shoot was held Friday and a number of new marks were registered.  

The first record to fall was in the number that took part in the hoot, there being 115 gunners, principally from out of town, on the firing line.  It was the biggest field that ever has taken part in a preliminary shoot.

G. L. Lyon, New York Athletic Club, was the high man of the day.  He captured the feature event with a record score of 191 out of a possible 200 targets.  Last year the event was won by R. L. Spotts, the present amateur champion.  

Spotts finished third yesterday, the second prize going to A. B. Richardson, who comes from Dover, Del.  The fourth gunner was J. L. Snow of Boston.  All these gunners did better than the old record of 184 made by Spotts a year ago.

In addition to the individual shoot, the gunners of the New York Athletic Club and the Boston A. A. decided the second leg of their home and home series.  In the shoot in Boston, the Hub gunners won by 27 targets.  Friday, they were beaten by the Winged Foot experts, who won the second leg by 1783 to 1694 targets.  It gave them 89 targets on the day, enough to win the series by 62."

Source:  CHAMPIONSHIP TRAP SHOOTING TOURNEY TODAY, The Christian Science Monitor [Boston, MA], May 1, 1915, Vol. VII, No. 133, p. 30, col. 2.  

"Trap-Shooting Championship.

The national trap-shooting championship tournament was begun yesterday at Travers Island, and will be concluded today with the contest for the title at 200 targets.  In the preliminary shoot at 200 targets.  In the preliminary shoot at 200 targets yesterday G. L. Lyon of the New York Athletic Club won, with 191; A. B. Richardson was second, with 190; R. L. Spotts, third, with 186; J. L. Snow, fourth, with 185, and A. L. Burns, fifth, 19th 184.  New York Athletic Cub shots won the second leg of their contest with the Boston Athletic Association by 1,783 to 1,694, making their total advantage 62 targets, as they lost by 27 in the first shoot.  The New York Athletic Club second team also beat the Boston Athletic Club second team by 1,543 to 1,433."

Source:  Trap-Shooting Championship, The Evening Post [NY, NY], May 1, 1915, p. 11, col. 6.  

"LYON TAKES TITLE IN NATIONAL SHOOT
-----
Home Representative Leads at Trap with Record Score of 192 Out of 200.
-----
CHAMBERLIN IS SECOND
-----
Bridgeport Gunner Misses Only Ten Targets in Big Event  at Travers Island.
-----

George L. Lyon of Durham, N. C., representing the home club, won the tenth annual national trap shooting championship over the Travers Island traps of the New York Athletic Club yesterday.  He took the event with a score of 192 out of a possible 200 targets.  It was the highest score that has ever won the title.

Lyon had a great fight before he won the title.  Throughout the shoot A. L. Chamberlin of Bridgeport, A. E. Conley of Buffalo, C. H. Newcomb of Philadelphia, a former national champion, and E. A. Randall of Portland, Me., were always close up.  Conley led at the end of the sixth string by a single bird.

In the next 25, Lyon came back and was only seven down at the 175 mark.  The other three were ten down.  The champion finally won by two targets from Chamberlin.  The individual strings of the two leaders were:

Lyon -- 23, 25, 24, 25, 24, 24, 24, 23 -- 192.

Chamberlin -- 24, 25, 24, 23, 22, 24, 25, 23 -- 190

The prize for the longest run during the two days was won by A. B. Richardson, who finished sixth.  He had a straight run of 131 targets.  R. L. Spotts, who won the championship in 1914, fell down badly and finished fifteenth.  He had a total of 183.

Quaker Team Leads.

In the team race Philadelphia was the winner, her best five men scoring 927, with C. Newcomb leading with 189.  Other scores were:  A. B. Richardson, 187; A. Heil, 187; W. Foord, 186, and J. C. Griffith, 178.  The New York A. C. was five points behind, its score being 922.  The Mercury Foot team was made up of G. L. Lyon, 192; A. L. Burns, 186; R. L. Spotts, 183; J. H. Hendrickson, 181, and Dr. G. H. Martin, 80.

There were 143 gunners on the firing line, practically all finished well before dark.  This was due to the excellent work of George J. Corbett, chairman of the Shooting Committee of the New York A. C., who managed the affair.  Last night the New York A. C. gave the visiting gunners a beefsteak diner at Healy's.  

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP -- 200 TARGETS.


Name.
…………………
1st 100 T’gets,
2d 100 T’gets.
Total.
W. G. Allen
…………………
74
71
145
H. G. Galt
…………………
85
87
172
F. G. Hogan
…………………
88
81
169
C. E. Sheldon
…………………
87
82
169
B. F. Mallory
…………………
80
85
165
L. O. Graham
…………………
90
91
181
E. C. Gunther
…………………
90
90
180
N. B. Cook
…………………
84
81
165
W. C. Newton
…………………
79
89
168
J. C. Griffith
…………………
87
91
178
J. Fountain
…………………
74
77
151
E. B. Melrath
…………………
82
83
165
C. B. Platt
…………………
93
90
183
F. Plum
…………………
81
94
175
H. G. Allyn
…………………
92
83
175
W. S. Silkworth
…………………
82
90
172
T. Lenane, Jr.
…………………
80
90
170
E. N. Dickerman
…………………
85
93
173
M. McVey, Jr.
…………………
81
78
159
E. A. Wilson
…………………
84
80
164
E. A. Staples
…………………
93
91
184
H. C. Brooks
…………………
89
85
174
C. B. Tucker
…………………
71
78
149
W. B. Farmer
…………………
86
85
171
C. P. Blinn
…………………
80
79
159
D. C. Culver
…………………
90
88
178
R. R. Debacher
…………………
79
77
156
W. B. Ogden
…………………
87
89
176
W. H. Yule
…………………
87
85
172
J. H. Hendrickson
…………………
94
87
181
E. J. Monahan
…………………
66
63
129
E. L. Bartlett
…………………
86
85
171
G. J. Tuckett
…………………
74
86
160
W. A. Flinn
…………………
84
84
168
V. Oliver
…………………
85
88
173
L. B. Flint
…………………
81
81
162
J. E. Lynch
…………………
82
81
163
T. B. Heintz
…………………
88
80
168
W. F. Carlton
…………………
72
77
149
A. E. Conley
…………………
96
93
189
J. H. Vanderveer
…………………
87
72
159
A. Chandler
…………………
77
67
144
Frank Hall
…………………
89
87
176
J. I. Brandenburg
…………………
88
88
176
F. A. Baker
…………………
70
80
150
C. W. Billings
…………………
83
86
169
A. B. Richardsons
…………………
94
93
187
C. H. Newcomb
…………………
96
93
189
W. M. Foord
…………………
92
94
186
A. Heil
…………………
91
96
187
George L. Lyon
…………………
97
95
192
A. L. Burns
…………………
90
96
186
G. J. Corbett
…………………
88
90
178
D. F. McMahon
…………………
89
88
177
T. Lawrence
…………………
84
70
154
G. S. Moller
…………………
89
88
177
C. J. Stein
…………………
90
90
180
W. R Delehanty
…………………
68
76
144
B. F. Eldred
…………………
81
77
158
H. J. Thielman
…………………
78
88
166
E. A. Ranney
…………………
86
90
176
D. T. Leshy
…………………
87
87
174
R. L. Spotts
…………………
87
96
183
R. A. King
…………………
90
95
185
A. W. Church
…………………
88
81
169
S. W. Putnam
…………………
87
95
182
E. H. Kidder
…………………
90
85
175
J. Clark, Jr.
…………………
81
89
170
F. O. Williams
…………………
90
88
178
C. F. Marden
…………………
85
87
172
E. A. Randall
…………………
93
95
188
W. H. Stohle
…………………
83
88
171
O. P. Weymouth
…………………
92
84
176
C. S. Randall
…………………
85
92
177
W. D. Hinds
…………………
84
83
176
S. B. Adams
…………………
86
86
172
G. Gill
…………………
92
90
182
F. U. Rosebury
…………………
87
87
174
G. R. Steel
…………………
89
83
172
T. O’Donohue
…………………
83
86
169
G. F. Pelham
…………………
90
88
178
E. H. Locatelli
…………………
82
79
161
R. N. Burns
…………………
84
81
165
R. K. Spotts
…………………
80
82
162
C. W. Berner
…………………
74
73
147
C. C. Moore
…………………
86
81
167
C. B. Cotler
…………………
85
82
167
A. L. Chamberlin
…………………
96
84
190

FINAL STANDING OF LEADING GUNNERS.


G. L. Lyon, 192; A. L. Chamberlain, 190; G. H. Newcomb, 189; A. E. Conley, 189; E. A. Randall, 188; A. Heil, 187, A. B. Richardson, 187; J. L. Snow, 187; W. M. Foord, 186; A. L. Burns, 186; R. A. King, 185; E. A. Staples, 184; C. T. Dey, 184; J. E. Baldwin, 184; R. L. Spotts, 183; C. B. Platt, 183; L. C. Wilson, 183; S. P. Senlor, 183; C. W. Van Stone, 182; G. Gill, 182; S. W. Putnam, 182; J. H. Hendrickson, 181; L. O. S. Graham, 181; C. J. Stein, 180; E. C. Gunther, 180; G. L. Osborn, 180; G. H. Martin, 180.

Shoot-off for third and fourth place won by Newcomb, with Conley fourth; shoot-off for sixth place, won by Richardson; shoot-off for seventh place won by Snow, with Heil eighth; shoot-off for ninth place won by Foord, with A. L. Burns, tenth.

TEAM SHOOTS.

Philadelphia, 927; New York A. C., 922; Smith Gun Club, Jersey City, 887; Portland, Me., 884.  Also competed, Boston A. A., Baltimore and Bridgeport.

LONG-RUN PRIZE.

Won by A. B. Richardson with 131."

Source:  LYON TAKES TITLE IN NATIONAL SHOOT -- Home Representative Leads at Trap with Record Score of 192 Out of 200 -- CHAMBERLIN IS SECOND -- Bridgeport Gunner Misses Only Ten Targets in Big Event at Travers Island, The New York Press, May 2, 1915, Vol. XXVIII, No. 10,014, Part III, Sports Section, p. 8, col. 7 "NATIONAL TRAP SHOOTING TITLE GOES TO LYON
-----
N. Y. A. C. Gunner Takes Trophy with Highest Score on Record.
-----
PHILADELPHIA WINS TEAM COMPETITION
-----
Uniformly Good Work by Quaker Nimrods Offsets N. Y. A. C. Stars.

George L. Lyon won the tenth annual clay bird championship of America at the Travers Island traps of the New York Athletic Club yesterday.  He took the event with a score of 192 out of a possible 200 targets.  It was the highest score that has ever won the title.

Lyon had a great fight before he won.  Throughout the shoot A. L. Chamberlin, of Bridgeport; A. E. Conley, of Buffalo; C. H. Newcomb, of Philadelphia, a former national champion, and E. A. Randall, of Portland, Me., were always at his heels; in fact, Conley led the field at the end of the sixth string by a single bird.

In the next 25 Lyon came back, and was only seven down at the 175 mark.  The other three were ten down.  The champion finally won by two targets from Chamberlin.  The individual strings of the two leaders were:


Lyon
23
25
24
25
24
24
24
23
192
Chamberlin
24
25
24
23
22
24
25
23
190

The prize for the longest run during the two days was won by G. A. B. Richardson, who finished sixty.  He had a straight run of 131 targets.  R. L. Spotts, who won the championship in 1914, fell down badly and finished fifteenth.  He had a total of 183.

In the team race Philadelphia was the winner, its best five men scoring 927.  The New York A. C. was 5 points behind; its score being 922.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP -- 200 TARGETS.


Name.

First 100 Targets,
Second 100 Targets.


T’l.
W. G. Allen
…………………
74
71
145
H. A. Galt
…………………
85
87
172
F. G. Hogan
…………………
88
81
169
C. E. Sheldon
…………………
87
82
169
B. F. Mallory
…………………
80
85
165
L. O. Graham
…………………
90
91
181
E. C. Gunther
…………………
90
90
180
N. B. Cook
…………………
84
81
165
W. C. Newton
…………………
79
89
168
J. C. Griffith
…………………
87
91
178
J. Fountain
…………………
74
77
151
E. B. Melrath
…………………
82
83
165
C. B. Platt
…………………
93
90
183
F. Plum
…………………
81
94
175
H. G. Allyn
…………………
92
83
175
W. S. Silkworth
…………………
82
90
172
T. Lenane, Jr.
…………………
80
90
170
E. N. Dickerman
…………………
85
93
173
M. McVey, Jr.
…………………
81
78
159
E. A. Wilson
…………………
84
80
164
E. A. Staples
…………………
93
91
184
H. C. Brooks
…………………
89
85
174
C. B. Tucker
…………………
71
78
149
W. B. Farmer
…………………
86
85
171
C. P. Blinn
…………………
80
79
159
D. C. Culver
…………………
90
88
178
R. R. Debacher
…………………
79
77
156
W. B. Ogden
…………………
87
89
176
W. H. Yule
…………………
87
85
172
J. H. Hendrickson
…………………
94
87
181
E. J. Monahan
…………………
66
63
129
E. L. Bartlett
…………………
86
85
171
G. J. Tuckett
…………………
74
86
160
W. A. Flinn
…………………
84
84
168
V. Oliver
…………………
85
88
173
L. B. Flint
…………………
81
81
162
J. E. Lynch
…………………
82
81
163
T. B. Heintz
…………………
88
80
168
W. F. Carlton
…………………
72
77
149
A. E. Conley
…………………
96
93
189
J. H. Vanderveer
…………………
87
72
159
A. Chandler
…………………
77
67
144
Frank Hall
…………………
89
87
176
J. I. Brandenburg
…………………
88
88
176
F. A. Baker
…………………
70
80
150
C. W. Billings
…………………
83
86
169
A. B. Richardson
…………………
94
93
187
C. H. Newcomb                                                      
…………………
96
93
189
W. M. Foord
…………………
92
94
186
A. Heil
…………………
91
96
187
George L. Lyon
…………………
97
95
192
A. L. Burns
…………………
90
96
186
G. J. Corbett
…………………
88
90
178
D. F. McMahon
…………………
89
88
177
G. H. Martin
………………...
90
90
180
J. L. Snow
…………………
94
93
187
T. C. Adams
………………..
84
84
168
G. L. Osborn
………………..
91
89
180
S. A. Ellis
………………..
91
84
175
I. H. Davis
………………..
84
92
176
A. J. McManus
………………..
80
84
164
T. Lawrence
…………………
84
70
154
G. S. Medler
…………………
89
88
177
C. J. Stein
…………………
90
90
180
W. R Delehanty
…………………
68
76
144
B. E. Eldred
…………………
81
77
158
H. J. Thielman
…………………
78
88
166
E. A. Ranney
…………………
86
90
176
D. T. Leahy
…………………
87
87
174
R. L. Spotts
…………………
87
96
183
R. A. King
…………………
90
95
185
A. W. Church
…………………
88
81
169
S. W. Putnam
…………………
87
95
182
E. H. Kidder
…………………
90
85
175
J. Clark, Jr.
…………………
81
89
170
F. O. Williams
…………………
90
88
178
C. F. Marden
…………………
85
87
172
E. A. Randall
…………………
93
95
188
W. H. Stoble
…………………
83
88
171
O. P. Weymouth
…………………
92
84
176
C. S. Randall
…………………
85
92
177
W. D. Hinds
…………………
84
83
176
S. B. Adams
…………………
86
86
172
G. Gill
…………………
92
90
182
F. U. Rosebury
…………………
87
87
174
G. R. Steel
…………………
89
83
172
T. O’Donohue
…………………
83
86
169
G. F. Pelham
…………………
90
88
178
E. H. Locatelli
…………………
82
79
161
R. N. Burns
…………………
84
81
165
R. K. Spotts
…………………
80
82
162
C. W. Barner
…………………
74
73
147
C. C. Moore
…………………
86
81
167
C. B. Cutler
…………………
85
82
167
A. L. Chamberlin
…………………
96
94
190
J. J. Phelan
………………..
55
50
105
H. L. F. Funche
………………..
77
87
164
H. H. Shannon
………………..
86
85
171
T. J. Mooney
…………………
85
84
169
W. H. Luckett
………………..
77
80
157
F. Fowler
………………..
75
71
146
H. Lee
………………..
83
84
167
J. W. Mason
………………..
87
85
173
J. E. Baldwin
………………..
94
90
184
W. M. Collins
………………..
85
73
158
J. L. Griggs
………………..
84
83
167
T. Fleming
………………..
75
82
157
M. H. Ithner
………………..
73
70
143
G. Percy
………………..
89
90
179
E. Byram
………………..
87
82
169
H. N. Brigham
………………..
84
90
174
W. H. Mathews
………………..
67
72
139
H. D. Tracy
………………..
88
84
172
C. T. Day
………………..
92
92
184

Source:  NATIONAL TRAP SHOOTING TITLE GOES TO LYON -- N. Y. A. C. Gunner Takes Trophy with Highest Score on Record -- PHILADELPHIA WINS TEAM COMPETITION -- Uniformly Good Work by Quaker Nimrods Offsets N. Y. A. C. Stars, New York Tribune, May 2, 1915, Part II, p. 4, col. 5.  

"GEORGE LEONIDAS LYON

THE subject of this sketch, George Leonidas Lyon, was born in Durham, N. C., February 3, 1881.  He was the second don of Robert Elkana and Mary Duke Lyon, and the grandson of two captains of industry, Zachariah I. Lyon, manufacturer and originator of the 'Pride of Durham' smoking tobacco, and Washington Duke, manufacturer, patriot and philanthropist, sketches of whom will be found in the present work.

George Lyon received his academic training at Horner School (Oxford), at Guilford College and Trinity College. But neither his disposition nor his interests encouraged him to pursue any of the learned professions, and it was by the merest accident, it seems, that he found a career in which he could distinguish himself and a profession that could claim his time and energy.  While visiting in Baltimore in 1901, he was invited to attend a match at the Baltimore Shooting Association.  One of the members of this association took enough interest in young Lyon to show him how to hit inanimate targets, and the pupil became so apt that he at once attracted the attention of the members of the association, and in a remarkably short time jumped into fame as an amateur and then as a professional trap-shooter.

From 1906 till 1910 he shot as an amateur.  His shooting [Page 317 / Page 318] at Indianapolis in 1906, where he competed successfully in the Grand American Handicap, brought him into national fame which was sustained a year later at Chicago, and in 1908 he won the Great Eastern Handicap at Boston, making ninety-one successful shots out of a hundred at nineteen yards.  He continued piling up winnings as an amateur until 1910, when he joined the professionals.  A short time afterward America sent a team of amateurs to the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, and George Lyon accompanied the team as coach and adviser, and it was due in part to his work that the American team was successful.

He established his claim to national distinction by defeating Lester German in 1911 in a match game for the world championship at inanimate targets.  This title was won at Atlantic City, and later defended in a contest between Lyon and German at the Dupont Trap Shooting Club, Wilmington, Del., May 4, 1912.  It was in 1915 that he made a record-breaking record at the New York Athletic Club grounds, Travers Island, where against a field of one hundred and forty-three of the crack shots of the country he won out for the national championship honor with a total of one hundred and ninety-two breaks out of two hundred targets.  He also won the preliminary event with a score of one hundred and ninety-one out of two hundred targets.  These winnings, with his average of three hundred and eighty-three breaks out of four hundred, established a new record in this country.  This victory the young champion considered his greatest triumph.  At that time he was in very poor health, but he finished with the remarkable record given above.  The best previous score he had made was one hundred and eighty-eight out of two hundred.  His winning of the preliminary handicap at the same time and place was by a score that passed any ever before turned in.  Previous to this contest he won the annual championship of the Long Island Club, held at the Manhasset Yacht Club.  The last important shoot in which he took part was a southern handicap at Memphis, Tenn., held in May, 1915.  At that time he pushed Woodfolk Henderson to the limit for high average honors but [Page 318 / Page 319] his strength was now failing and his career was coming to a close.  His health did not permit him to enter into any other great contest.  

While still young this inclination for sport found for him an occupation that was congenial to his disposition and in harmony with his brilliant but short career.  The Remington Arms Company discovered in him a very worthy representative, and he remained in the employ of this company until his failing health made it possible only for him to serve one master -- the dreaded disease that had already claimed him for a victim.

Feeling that his life was ebbing away, he went to Albuquerque, N. M., in search of health, but his journey was in vain.  The summons had already come, and on January 11, 1916, he died at St. Joseph's Sanatorium, Albuquerque, N. M., in his thirty-fifth year.

He was regarded as one of the best all-around shots in this country and was respected as a clean-cut and congenial sportsman.  Sporting Life of Philadelphia paid him this tribute:  

'George L. Lyon was one of the greatest trap shooters that ever stepped to the firing line.'

The sporting fraternity has organizations called Indian bands or tribes, and this beautiful tribute by one of these tribes is paid to the subject of the sketch:

'THE SPIRIT OF THE CHIEF HAS PASSED

'George L. Lyon, of Durham, N. C., is dead, as announced by the signal fires built at Albuquerque, N. M., January 11, 1916.  The spirit of one of the very best of the Okoboji Indian chiefs has passed to the happy hunting grounds.  Yet Chief Bull Durham will live in the memory of the tribe until generations have come and gone, until a sufficient number of years have passed that the falling of the seared and withered leaves, dropped by the winter blasts, will make a comfortable covering to his grave and memory.  The Great Spirit will welcome Chief Bull Durham to the realms of the happy hunters.  His many acts of kindness on this mundane sphere have been placed to his credit, hence there is much due him in the happy hunting grounds.

'Popular here, popular there, hence the sunny smile, winning manners, and most pleasing personality of George L. Lyon will constitute him a star guest in the realms where men are weighed up for their true worth and their welcome extended accordingly.  We have lost a valued chief and a close friend.  The Great Father beckoned and he has gone to that land from which no warrior returns.  He has gone from our ranks and council, but never from our hearts.  Until the next regular meeting of the tribe, this tribute from the high chief will represent the sorrow and grief of the tribe as an entity.

'In witness hereof, in deep token of our respect, sympathy, regret and esteem we, the tribe of Okoboji Indians, inclusive of squaws and papooses, assure the family of Chief Bull Durham that in their hour of grief and trouble we sorrow with them.  Hereunto is fixed the official seal of the Okoboji Indians.

'TOM A. MARSHAL, High Chief.

'CHICAGO, January 12, 1916.'

The following tribute from the celebrated Mr. Sousa is but one of many similar expressions rendered to Mr. Lyon's memory by the large hosts of friends which he had in all the walks of life:

'The companionship of Mr. Lyon and myself was one of sunshine and happiness at all times.

'I admired him tremendously for his worth as a man and was very proud of his achievement as a wonderful shot.

'I question if there are many men who were so generally beloved as George Lyon.

'While his individuality and personality always commanded the respect of those who met him, there was something so cheery and happy about him that everybody felt at ease in his presence.

'I am sure his memory will remain in the hearts of all who knew him.

'Very sincerely yours,

'JOHN PHILIP SOUSA.'

Mr. Lyon was married November 6, 1900, to Miss Snowden Carr, daughter of the late L. A. Carr, of Durham, and a niece of George W. Watts, the Durham philanthropist.  His wife preceded him to the grave by two years.  Three children survive him:  Clara E., George L., Jr., and Mary Duke; and he leaves one brother, E. B. Lyon, and one sister, Mrs. J. E. Stagg.

Soon after his marriage he connected himself with the Presby- [Page 320 / Page 321] terian Church.  He served his city as police and fire commissioner until his failing health compelled him to resign.  At his death he was a member of the New York Athletic Club, the Quail Roost Gunning Club, of Durham, and seventy-two other sporting clubs and social orders.  He was a Mason, and just before his death he had the thirty-third degree conferred upon him in Albuquerque, N. M.  Moreover, he was a stockholder in a number of Durham enterprises.  His genial and sunny disposition won for him a host of friends, and the number of clubs in which he retained membership is an evidence of his popularity.  He lived and died a true sportsman.

E. C. Brooks."

Source:  Ashe, Samuel A'Court, et al., Sketches from the Biographical History of North Carolina, pp. 316 - 321 (Greensboro, NC: C. L. Van Noppen, 1908 - 1925).


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