Historian Eugene Sawyer wrote of George Lyle; Exceptionally fortunate in her long line of wide-awake, intrepid sheriffs whose patriotism, intelligence, energetic aggressiveness and personal bravery have added so much to the superb stature of American manhood, California is at present to be congratulated because of a recent accession to the shrievalty officers' ranks in the person of the accomplished, public-spirited and popular sheriff of Santa Clara County, George W. Lyle of San Jose.
A native of St. Louis Missouri, Sheriff Lyle was born on August 14,1885. He was the oldest of three children born to Phillip and Ella Lyle. George attended the public schools of St. Louis, and after his graduation from high school, attended the Christian Brothers College.
In 1902 George moved west and settled in Santa Clara County, eventually settling in the city of Santa Clara. In 1904 he was hired as a Deputy Constable for Santa Clara under Constable John Toomey. When Constable Toomey resigned in 1909, George was appointed to succeed him.
George married Ora Van Curen in Santa Cruz in June of 1910. They had two sons, George and Robert. In the August election of 1918, he ran for Sheriff and beat the incumbent Arthur Langford 12,402 to 9,397 votes. George won the next two elections in 1922 and 1926, but lost the 1930 election to William Emig. Just days before the August primary election, the San Jose Mercury Herald reported that the "Bootleg King" of Santa Clara County was immune from arrest from Sheriff Lyle. The Mercury accused Lyle and some of his Deputies of aiding and protecting John Locurto, a convicted still operator. Lyle even went so far as to have two of his deputies arrest a witness who was to give sworn testimony on the bootlegging conditions in the county just as he was entering the Grand Jury Court room. Sheriff Lyle won the election in 1934, holding office for the last time. He lost to Emig in 1938, and again in the 1942 election.
At the age of 62, Sheriff Lyle died on his ranch in Uvas Canyon after suffering a stroke on January 19,1946.
The Santa Clara News, December 7, 1909
The Santa Clara News, August 30, 1918
The San Jose Mercury Herald, January 20, 1946
The San Jose Mercury Herald, August 23,1930
Sawyer, Eugene T., History of Santa Clara County California, Historic Record Co., Los Angeles Ca., 1922