On the Porch

Thomas and Melissa (Mussen) Lindsay moved to Fairview Township in Lyon County in 1872. They lived on their original homestead, which was located in Section 12 of Fairview Township about two miles southeast of Green Valley, until the time of their deaths. Thomas passed away on April 15, 1919 and Melissa passed away on Aug. 31, 1936. They are buried in the Marshall Cemetery.

Thomas Lindsay was born in New York on Aug. 4, 1839. In 1862, he enlisted in the 108th Regiment of New York Volunteers and soon thereafter acquired the rank of Commissary Sergeant. In June, 1865, following the end of the Civil War, he received his discharge and returned to New York, where he engaged in farming. Melissa was born in New York on April 23, 1846. Thomas and Melissa married on April 7, 1866 in Chesterfield, New York. In 1872, they journeyed west and homesteaded in Fairview Township in Lyon County.

The first school in Fairview Township was organized in 1874, and the first classes were held in an improvised room in a granary that belonged to the Lindsay’s. Thomas was involved in the community by serving as supervisor of Fairview Township and was chairman of the board. He was also a member of the D.F. Markham Post, Grand Army of the Republic. According to his obituary, which appeared in the April 25, 1919 edition of The News-Messenger of Lyon County, “Mr. Lindsay was a staunch and true patriot and in accordance with his wishes a large American flag, a keepsake of his, was buried with him.”

Thomas and Melissa helped organized the Presbyterian Church in Green Valley. When the church discontinued in Green Valley, due to not having the funds to hire a minister, Melissa conducted services and Sunday school there for six months. Their membership was later transferred to Marshall to the Presbyterian and Federated Churches. Melissa was also a charter member of the Women’s Relief Corps, the auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic.

Thomas and Melissa had four daughters: Melita, Aurilla, Effie, and Carrie. They had three sons: Herman, Thomas, and Martin. Melissa, also known as “Grandma Lindsay” lived on the original homestead with Martin and his family after the death of Thomas in 1919. According to her obituary, which appeared in the Sept. 10, 1936, edition of the Marshall Daily Messenger, “Grandma Lindsay will be missed sitting in the rocking chair of her window, every busy toiling with her hands, either quilting or sewing rugs or otherwise making herself helpful or useful.”

Thomas and Melissa’s great-grandson donated items to the Lyon County Museum this past week. The items include: large photographs of Thomas and Melissa, a photograph of the family in front of their house that was taken in 1900, books that belonged to them, and a quilt that was made by Melissa in the 1920’s or early 1930’s. The photograph featured this week is the family in front of their house. On the back of the photograph, it is written: “Carrie M. Lindsay. November 13, 1900. This was taken.” Carrie was one of the daughters of Thomas and Melissa. She did not marry and passed away on December 27, 1910.

The Lyon County Historical Society (LCHS) is a non-profit, member-supported organization. LCHS operates the Lyon County Museum at 301 W Lyon St in Marshall. The museum is open! For hours and more information, visit our website: www.lyoncomuseum.org, call: 507-537-6580, email: director@lyoncomuseum.org, or check our Facebook page.


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