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Lyon Levy (abt.1765-1810) SUICIDE in London
Posted by: Richard Leveson (ID *****0728) Date: November 30, 2007 at 13:05:44
  of 662

Lyon Levy was a London merchant in precious stones who, on January 18th 1810, killed himself by jumping of The Monument in London. He was my third great grandfather.

I am trying to trace his origins and if anybody can help, I shall post some interesting relevant data below.

Lyon Levy - his death

[January 18th 1810]
DREADFUL SUICIDE*
At seven o'clock in the evening an inquest was held in Upper Thames-street, before Thos. Shelton, esq. coroner for the city of London, on the body of Mr. Lyon Levy, who was found dead about noon that day in Monument-yard. It appeared in evidence, that the deceased had paid for admission into the Monument, observing to the keeper, that some ladies were shortly to join him; upon which the man said "Sir, had you not better wait until the ladies come?" The deceased, however, proceeded onwards directly; he reached the gallery, precipitated himself over the railing, and falling on his head, expired without a groan. His fall appeared at first to be in such a straight perpendicular direction, that it was thought he would have fallen inside of the railing; his feet, however, striking against one of the griffins by the way, threw him some distance from the monument, and he fell into the yard surrounding it. He was one of the most extensive dealers in diamonds, pearls, rubies, topazes, emeralds, and other precious stones, in England. He was of the Jewish persuasion; and, besides some very extensive connections abroad, he had nearly twenty Jews about the streets of London, who acted as hawkers or runners to his house, and each of whom had power to give credit to the jewelers to a great extent. Within the course of the last month he called on a person of responsibility in the trade, residing in Craven-buildings, and offered him diamonds and other precious stones to the amount between two and 3000l. on credit; but the other prudently refused the offer, on account of the very great risk he ran of disposing of such a quantity of valuable gems in time sufficient for the repayment. The deceased was a man of such correctness in all his dealings, that up to the very day of his death he could have got credit, amongst the other merchants in his line of business, to almost any amount. He had been, however, unfortunate in several very extensive speculations to Gibraltar and other places abroad; he could not brook the idea of sustaining his credit for some time longer by the assistance of friends, whom, perhaps, he might not have had it in his power to pay; and after having passed many years in the most honourable affluence, his altered circumstances made a deep impression on his mind; he was observed to be frequently of a gloomy habit, was totally absorbed in thought, and absent in everything that was the topic of conversation around him. He has left a wife and eight children to bewail his loss, and it is supposed his wife is pregnant with a ninth child - under these circumstances, the jury brought in their verdict - Insanity.

*(From The New Annual Register or general repository of history politics and literature for the year 1810 - John Stockdale Piccadilly)

His wedding 8th July 1783

The London Magazine, Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer "July 9th 1783 At Leathersellers' Hall according to the Jewish ceremonies(?) Mr. Lyon Levy to Miss Benjamin, of Falmouth, the young couples ages united amounted to 35"

Trade registers

Kent Directory 1794 Levy Leon, Mercht., Haydon-square, Minories
Kent 1795 LEVY, Leyon merchant Haydon Sq Minories
Holden 1802 LEVY, Leyon diamond & pearl mrchnt 5 Haydon Sq Minories
Holden 1805 LEVY, Leyon Merchant 5 Haydon Sq

More background

Also there's a book "Jews of Georgian England wherein we see the following list of names: "Nathan Solomons, and Lyon de Symons), the maskilim Joshua Van Oven and Moses
Samuel, Dr. Joseph Hart Myers, Leyon Levy, EI Keyser, .."

Leyon Levy is said to be of the Maskilim "The maskilim, whose label is derived from the Hebrew word for "the enlightened ones," were Jews who participated in secular and rationalistic scholarship in the 18th and 19th centuries in an effort acculturate Jews to modern secular societies in the West." See Jews of Georgian England



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