Canton was a townsite located approximately 4 miles northeast of Garnett along present day Highway 169. The townsite was laid out in 1857. Brockton Tyler arrived in Anderson County in 1856 and was the founder of the town. The townsite was in Section 22, Township 20 and Range 20 in Monroe Township. The site where Canton set was originally a federal grant to a U.S. soldier, Private Peter Staeger as a special military land grant program of the mid-1850's. The land was never clamed by Staeger and was sold to Brockholst Tyler of New York.
Tyler ran a general store in Canton. He also managed to get a post office and was the postmaster. The mail was brought to Canton from Trading Post, Missouri. Tyler also built a hotel, and the blacksmith shop was operated by A. Osborn. A carpenter shop was also in Canton.
There was an old Indian racetrack south of Canton on the Jesse Dotts farm east of the hotel. It was quite visible and indicated horse racing and gambling were an active pastime. The town was also noted to be a gathering place for “desperados” and the town had a bad reputation. W.A. Johnson in his history of Anderson County mentioned the cause of the town’s demise was, “Such was the fate of the once noted rendezvous of intemperance and wickedness.”
Canton was in the race to be the county seat. However, when Garnett became the official county seat the town rapidly declined. The post office was closed on November 22, 1866, and the town abandoned in the mid-1860’s.
Ralph Mains standing in front of the old store building left standing in Canton in 1941.