Miller and farmer Lyman T. Earl was born in Benton, Yates County, New York, on October 27, 1814. He lived there on a farm until 1826, when his father moved to a farm in Niagara County, New York. In 1832 he went to Kalamazoo County in Michigan Territory. There Lyman farmed and then engaged in the manufacture of lumber, shingles and lath.
Lyman married Miss Abigail Chipman on June 14, 1845, and together they raised five children: Charles; Luella; Lotilla; Alletta; and Austin.
In the fall of 1870 Lyman decided to seek a better life for his family farther West. A chance meeting in Cawker City, Kansas, with future Osborne County Hall of Famer Hiram C. Bull led to a partnership between
the two. Together they headed west into Osborne County, Kansas and co-founded the first town on that county. A nickel was tossed in the air to determine whether the name would be Earlsville or Bull City. Lyman lost but goodnaturedly went on to build the first buildings in Bull City (now called Alton). He also built the first water-driven mill on the South Fork Solomon River in the county.
Lyman farmed until 1881, when he engaged as a dealer in coal and held various local and township offices over the next few years. For a time he even served as a U.S. Deputy Marshal. Lyman died on January 28, 1890 at Alton. He lies buried together with his wife Abigail in the Pioneer Adventist Cemetery a few miles west of Alton.