Joseph Lyman was born in 1840 in Lyon, Michigan. His family moved to Defiance, Ohio where Joseph grew up. He graduated from high school in 1856 and began teaching school at the age of 16.
Joseph received a scholarship to West Point but turned it down to study law.
The Lyman family moved to Pottawattamie County in 1857 and Joseph taught school in Macedonia. He then attended school in Grinnell, Iowa.
At the outbreak of the Civil War Joseph enlisted as a member of Company E, Fourth Iowa Cavalry. He served with the Cavalry until 1862 when he was appointed adjutant of the Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry. When the Civil War ended he had reached the rank of Major.
After the war, Joseph studied law in Des Moines. After passing the bar he took up practice in Council Bluffs.
In the summer of 1869 Joseph Lyman married Josephine Smith. Unfortunately Josephine passed away in January 1870. She is buried in Fairview Cemetery.
In 1875 Joseph married Rachel Shaw of Olney, Illinois. They had one son Aaron, who was born in 1881.
Joseph continued practicing law until 1884 when was elected as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives from Iowa’s 9th District. He was re-elected in 1886, but declined to run for a third term.
Joseph Lyman returned to Council Bluffs to resume his law practice. He passed away on July 9th, 1890. He is buried in Fairview Cemetery.
Aaron Lyman became a lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts. Rachel Lyman moved to be with her son shortly after Joseph’s death.