In the fall of 1856, there were 87 members of the Free State Militia stationed near Lawrence. Capt. James A. Harvey and his men had been pro-slavery prisoners in Missouri and had made their way back to Lawrence. They had been mustered out of service November 30, 1856. Most of these men were unmarried and about 80 of them joined Thaddeus Hyatt and William F.M. Arny to help in forming a colony. and or about December 10th they arrived at the proposed townsite. It was located on the North half of the Southeast quarter and the Northeast quarter of Section 10 and South half of the Southeast quarter, Section 3, Township 21, Range 19 of Washington Township. The men began selecting claims along Cedar Creek and near the townsite. The original camp for the men was along Cedar Creek west of the town. They lived in tents and endured many hardships through the winter.
Arny's family remained in Lawrence and prepared to move to Hyatt in the spring of 1857 where Arny had purchased a military bounty claim to establish his home and farm.
During the winter months they cut timber for buildings and erected a hotel, a store and a blacksmith shop. With the arrival of spring in 1857 they erected a sawmill, probably the first in county, and in the fall attached a gristmill to the sawmill. The town was platted and named Hyatt after Thaddeus Hyatt and the county Arny after the town's co-founder. William F.M. Arny was named president of the Hyatt Town Company in February and the town filed in Lecompton. Later the county's name was changed to Anderson.
During the summer of 1857 the first store opened selling dry goods and groceries. A post office was established there in June, 1857, and it was probably the first post office in Anderson County. July, 1857, brought much sicknesses and many deaths to the town. A cemetery site was south of the town. Building progressed and the townspeople built a school and a city park, sometimes known as a promenade. There was a stage/wagon stop in the town where five trails crossed going to different towns.
The first railroad through the county was the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Ft. Gibson and it ran through the town of Garnett. Later the railroad was known as the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston. Not wanting to be outdone by Garnett a railroad company was formed to run a railroad through Hyatt, the Jefferson City and Neosho Valley Railroad, The company failed when they could now secure land grants for the railroad right a way.
Hyatt was in competition to become the county seat of Anderson county with Garnett, Central City, Canton, and Shannon. Following the epidemic of 1857 and when Garnett became the county seat in 1859 people began leaving Hyatt. It was also about this time "Pikes Peak Gold Fever" struck and many of Hyatt's citizens left for western Kansas to seek their fortunes and the little town quickly disappeared. In 1859 the western border of Kansas was located west of Denver and Colorado Springs.
Hyatt was also known as Hyattville or Hiatville.
Thaddeus Hyatt the President of the Hyatt Town Company. Image from: Wikipedia Free Base.
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