WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP is situated in the geographical center of the county, and contains fifty six square miles.
It is supplied with plenty of timber on Cedar and South Pottowatomie creeks, which furnish abundance of stock water.
The township was organized in October, 1857. Henry Williams and Francis A. Hart were appointed justices of the
peace in November, and were the first officers in the township. H. M. Rumley and John B. Dilday were the first
white settlers in the township; they located on South Pottowatomie in July, 1855. Ephraim Reynolds came to the
settlement in the fall of 1855. None of these now live in the county. Rumley and Dilday removed to Missouri, and
Reynolds died in the army, a brave and good soldier, in defense of his country. In the summer of 1856 a number
of settlers located in the township, among whom were Miles Morris and Patrick Tyler.
A colony was formed at Lawrence about the first of December, 1856, consisting principally of men who enlisted in
the Free State cause in 1856. Thaddeus Hyatt, of New York, and W. F. M. Amy, of Bloomington, Ills., took an active
part in organizing the colony, Hyatt furnishing the necessary provisions for the colony, numbering more than eighty
persons, for the winter of 1856-7, which was unusually severe, to induce them to settle in Anderson county. After
John W. Geary, Governor, had established a more peaceable state of affairs, companies of militia were organized,
by order of the War Department, to maintain the peace in the Territory. Two companies of militia, all Pro Slavery
men, were stationed at Lecompton; and one company, all Free State men, was to remain at Lawrence. These companies
were armed with muskets and accoutrements, clothed and fed by the United States government. The company recruited
at Lawrence was organized about the first of October, 1856, with Samuel Walker, captain, James A. Harvey, first
lieutenant, and J. W. Walker, second lieutenant, each of whom had seen some service in our border troubles; and
James A. Harvey had served through the war with Mexico. He was colonel of the Third Free State regiment during
the troubles of 1856. This company numbered eighty seven men. After camping out three weeks, and drilling every
day, it was supplied with United States uniforms and Sibley tents, and went into camp in the timber west of Lawrence,
near the camp of Maj. Wood's battalion of United States infantry, where they performed guard duty until the 30th
day of November, 1856, when they were mustered out of the service by Maj. Wood, U. S. A. These eighty men, mostly
unmarried, discharged at the beginning of winter, with no employment, and no means to support themselves, nor to
return to their homes in the States, were organized into a colony by Thaddeus Hyatt, as heretofore stated, and
on the 15th day of December, 1856, proceeded to Anderson county; and on the 18th of December selected the north
half of the southeast quarter and the northeast quarter of section 10, and the south half of the southeast quarter
of section 3, township 21, range 19; and in a few days thereafter moved their camp on to Cedar creek, just west
of the townsite of Hyatt. The colony spent some ten days in selecting claims, there being no settlements on Cedar,
and but three families in the west part of the county at that time. The most of the colonists selected claims on
Cedar and South Pottowatomie creeks. The colony lived in tents, enduring many hardships, until April, 1857, when
a majority of them went on their claims and commenced improvements. They prepared timbers for a hotel, store and
blacksmith shop, which were erected during the winter on the townsite of Hyatt. In the spring of 1857 a saw mill
was built - the first erected in the county - and in the fall a grist mill was attached, which did good work for
the settlers of the county.
The Hyatt town company was organized in February, 1857, by electing W. F. M. Amy, president, and Cyrus J. Farley,
secretary. A plat and survey of the townsite was duly filed in the district land office at Lecompton, April 21,
1858, claiming the land described for a townsite under the pre-emption law; a plat was also filed in the office
of the probate judge of the county. This town was laid out with the view of making it the county seat.
The first religious services in the township were had at the house of H. M. Rumley, in the fall of 1856, Rev. Terrell
officiating. The first birth was a son of Jackson Mason, in 1856; the next was a daughter of J. B. Dilday, in the
fall of the same year. A cemetery was established near Hyatt in the summer of 1857.
A store was opened by B. F. Allen, at Hyatt, in the summer of 1857; he kept a general assortment of dry goods and
groceries. In June a postoffice was established, and W. F. M. Amy was appointed postmaster.
School district No. 8 was organized in 1858, and Miss Josephine Ramsey taught the first school therein the next
Dr. J. M. Overholts located at Hyatt in the spring of 1857. In July of that year there was much sickness on Cedar
and South Pottowatomie creeks, and many deaths ensued, among whom was Col. James A. Harvey, the president of the
town company of Hyatt, an honorable member of the colony. Soon thereafter the prospects of the town began to wane.
Many left the Territory the same fall; and when the gold excitement of Pike's Peak came, in 1859, many of the colony
left for the new Eldorado; and soon thereafter the town was abandoned, Garnett having become the county seat. All
that remains of Hyatt now is the story of its rise and fall.
A postoffice was established at Springfield in October, 1858, and A. W. Jones appointed postmaster.
Among the noted settlers that settled on the east side of South Pottowatomie in 1857, in the Springfield neighborhood,
were A. W. Jones, Richard Mills, W. M. Manlove, Wm. Whipps and John Horn.
Some of the more prominent men who still reside in the township are Zar Bennett, John Horn, R. H. Cunningham, J.
Reynolds, J. M. Johnson, Thomas Thompson, J. W. Oney, John W. Paul, Dr. Broomhall, A. W. Phillips, Thos. Wardell,
J. Y. Alexander, Robert Moore, James S. Smith, T. J. Owens and Emery W. Wilson.
1858, A. McArthur, chairman; John B. Dilday and Robert H. Moore; 1859, John B. Dilday, chairman; Robert H. Moore
1860, A. W. Phillips; 1861, Alexander McArthur; 1862, William Agnew; 1863-4, John W. Paul; 1866, (no record of
election); 1867-8-9-70, John Horn; 1871, A. W. Phillips; 1872, W. B. Hamilton; 1873-4, Thomas Thompson; 1875, A.
1858-9, John Horn; 1868, R. H. Cunningham; 1869-70, Miles Morris; 1871-2-3-4-5, J. Y. Alexander.
1868, Abner B. Glover;1869-70-1-2-3-4-5, Junius Reynolds.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
1858, Henry Williams, Francis A. Hart; William Reynolds and A. W. Jones; 1860, John Campbell and Henry Williams;
1861, Henry Williams and William Reynolds; 1863-5, A. W. Phillips and Miles Morris; 1867, Zach. Norris and A. W.
Phillips; 1869-71, Zach. Norris and R. H. Cunningham; 1873, R. H. Cunningham and H. J. Morgan; 1874, John Campbell,
to fill vacancy.