Lyons township shares its name source with the county. Both were named for General Nathan Lyon. The township was first settled in January of 1868 and organized on March 18, 1873 under the same name that it bears today. The first town election was held on April 1, 1873.

The Great Northern village of Russell was platted in May of 1888 within the township’s borders and incorporated on August 30, 1898. The town was named for Russell Spicer, the son of a promoter of building the branch of the railway in Lyon Count.

The drained lake of Black Rush also lies within Lyons township.