Page 757-758, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Edward T. Eaton, one of the sturdy pioneers of Butler county and a veteran of the Civil war, comes from an old and distinguished Colonial family. Mr. Eaton was born in Hancock county, Illinois, March 14, 1841, and is a son of David J. and Agnes (Avise) Eaton, the former of New Jersey, and comes from an old New England family of English descent. A number of the Eatons came to this country in the early Colonial days. Francis Eaton came on the Mayflower in 1620, and John Eaton landed in New England after making the voyage on the Elizabeth Ann in 1635; William came on the Hercules in 1637, all of whom were brothers, and Edward T., the subject of this sketch is a descendant of one of these brothers. Isaac Eaton, who lived at Hopewell, N. J., and died in 1776, was the great grandfather of Edward T., and founded the first Baptist school in America, at Hopewell, N. J.

David J. Eaton, the father of Edward T., was a wagon-maker, and he and his wife were the parents of six children, of whom the subject of thiss ketch[sic] was the oldest, and Isaac was the youngest. Isaac also served in the Civil war, being a member of Company I, Sixteenth regiment, Illinois infantry. He had some difficulty in getting into the service on account of being under age and under size, but he was determined to pass muster, and after being rejected once by the recruiting officer, he went to the nearest shoemaker and had high heels put on his shoes, and, the next time, was successful in passing. He served throughout the war, and at its close was mustered out of service and honorably discharged.

Edward T. Eaton worked at the carpenter's trade in early life, and, during the Civil war, enlisted in Company C, Fiftieth regiment, Illinois infantry, and served until the close of the war. He was with Sherman on his great march to the sea, and in the campaign in North Carolina, when Johnson surrendered. He acted as brigade headquarters clerk while in the service, and participated in the grand review at Washington, after the close of the war. He was mustered out of the service, July 13, 1865, and then returned to Illinois, and resumed work at his trade, and also followed contracting.

Mr. Eaton was married, in 1863, to Miss Rebecca Welsh of Fulton county, Illinois. Her parents were Thomas J. and Jennie (Baldrich) Welsh, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of South Carolina. To Mr. and Mrs. Eaton have been born four children, as follows:


Curtiss Powell, deceased; Minnie B., deceased; Edith A., deceased, and William E., born February 28, 1880.

In the spring of 1870, Mr. Eaton came to Kansas, first stopping at Humboldt. He started to walk from that point to Butler county, but was fortunate in getting a ride with an emigrant who was driving through. After reaching Butler county, he worked at the carpenter trade in various places while his wife and children remained in Quincy, Ill. When he came here he had less than $5, and after saving his money for a season, he was able to bring his family to their new home in Butler county, which was a one room affair, 12x14 feet, located on his claim on section 20, Milton township. Here the little family began life on the plains and joined the struggle of the early pioneers to make a home for themselves and develop a new country. Notwithstanding they experienced many hardships in the early days, they were always satisfied with Kansas and never once thought of retracing their steps. Mrs. Eaton taught school for three or four years after coming to Butler county, and bears the distinction of having taught the first school in Milton township. Money was scarce in those days, and Mr. Eaton says his entire income, in cash from all sources for one entire year, was twenty-five dollars. Provisions and various articles were used for barter, and he frequently would take in trade articles for which he had no immediate use.

Mr. Eaton was postmaster at Holden for twelve years. This was the first postoffice in Milton township. He is a member of the Masonic lodge and the Grand Army of the Republic, and he and Mrs. Eaton are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Whitewater, and Mr. Eaton has been chairman of the building committee. Mrs. Eaton is a charter member of the Woman's Relief Corps, No. 178.

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