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Namesakes

If you arrived here after searching for an Abraham Hyatt that's not me, maybe you're looking for one of these guys.

Here repose the mortal remains of ABRAHAM HYATT, one of that band of INCORRUPTIBLE PATRIOTS, who, by the valor, achieved the Independence of their Country, and transmitted to their posterity the fairest form of Government that human wisdom can devise.

The Sea Captain, The Farmer, The Town Clerk, The Deputy Sheriff: 1675-1883

Between the mid 1600s and the early 1800s at least seven Abraham Hyatts lived in New England. One of the earliest was captain of the ship "Castle ffriggott" who "was present at meetings of the Governor and Council of New York" in 1675. Almost all of the other New England Abraham Hyatts were land-owning farmers living in Westchester County, New York, about 30 miles north of present-day New York City.

In June of 1731, one of the Westchester Abrahams became ill and died. He was 48 years old and the father of 10 children. In his will he divided his property up among his wife and children and gave his eldest son, 31-year-old Abraham, about a 100 acres of land, including "a field called 'Muck hole.'" Another Abraham Hyatt was made town clerk of New Castle in Westchester County in 1791, and another died in 1883 at the age of 81, a "former captain of a sloop, deputy sheriff, collector of military fines," according to genealogical records.

The Patriot and The Loyalist: 1775

By the time of the Revolution, most of the Hyatts in New England sided with the Revolution. But an Abraham Hyatt who lived outside of Albany, New York, remained loyal to the Crown. In 1777 he and several of his sons, one of who was also named Abraham, enlisted with John Burgoyne, the British officer who attempted to invade the Colonies from the north. After Burgoyne's surrender, the Hyatts left for Canada.

Two years earlier in 1775, a 22-year-old Abraham Hyatt, son of the city's constable, was living in White Plains, New York. The Revolutionary War was quickly escalating. Two months earlier the Second Continental Congress had convened and had formed the Continental Army with George Washington as its commander.

In July, Abraham met with about 250 of his neighbors to sign an oath promising they would "adopt and endeavor to carry into execution whatever measures may be recommended by the Continental Congress." They didn't have to wait long. On October 28, 1776, Washington's troops clashed with the British in the hills surrounding White Plains.

A month later, the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, signed Abraham's military commission, making him a second lieutenant in the Army of the United States.

He enlisted in the Fourth New York Regiment and a year later was promoted to first lieutenant. He was a part of the Sullivan Expedition, a scorched-earth campaign against Iroquois who supported the British. He died at age 71 in 1820 (that's his gravestone at the top of this page), the father of eight children and the grandfather of yet another Abraham.

The Confederate Soldier: 1863

Northern Alabama was bitterly divided between Unionists and Confederates before, during and after the Civil War. When the Union Army invaded a northern portion of the state in 1862, 3,000 men enlisted. At the same time, Confederate-aligned guerrillas waged a bloody campaign against Union forces and sympathizers throughout the war.

In February 1863, a month before his 37th birthday, a farmer named Abraham Hyatt left his home in Blount County to join the Confederate States Army. He enlisted with Hardaway's (later known as Hurt's) Artillery Battery, and over the next two years saw the deadliest battles of the war, including Gettysburg, Spotsylvania Court House and Battle of the Wilderness. He was transfered to the 48th Alabama Infantry at the end of 1664. Four months later his regiment fought its way to Appomattox Court House and saw Gen. Robert E. Lee surrender.

He returned home to his wife and four daughters and bought two plots of land from the government where he raised a few head of sheep and grew corn, oats, cotton, apples and peaches. His wife Martha died in 1870; 12 years later he married Euterspy Alldredge and had another daughter.

Today his properties are mostly wooded over, but the fields nearby likely look the same as they did when he returned from the war, with gently rolling pastures and a few scattered barns and stock ponds and hay fields. He died of tuberculosis at home in 1894. The Blount County News and Dispatch wrote that he was "a good citizen, an honest, industrious man."

The Rocket Scientist: 1958

Fifty miles south of where Confederate Abraham Hyatt is buried sits Birmingham, where the most famous Abraham Hyatt grew up. He was born in the Ukraine in 1910 and arrived in Alabama when he was a young boy. His brief biographies say little about his past except that he became a naturalized citizen in 1927.

May 26, 1958. Members of the the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Special Committee on Space Technology, the year it was disolved and remade into NASA.

After World War II he joined the Navy's aeronautics design research division, eventually becoming its chief scientist. While working for the Navy he invented a vertically climbing airplane. Several years later he was one of the first people hired at a newly formed agency called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He worked there from 1958 to 1965, first as a director of the lunar launch vehicle program, and then as the head of NASA's office of program planning and evaluation. After leaving NASA he taught at MIT and worked as an executive director at an aerospace manufacturer. He died of cancer at age 88 in Southern California in 1998.

In what is by far the oddest coincidence of all the Abraham Hyatts, his daughter's maiden name and my mom's married name are exactly the same: Sherry Hyatt.


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