- A city in and the County Seat of Preble County, Ohio.
A city in and the County Seat of
Preble County, Ohio
(Population last General Census, 1874)
The county seat is situated upon the east bank of Seven
Mile Creek, and is arranged very nearly in the form of a square,
excepting its meandering boundary on the west, it being limited
in that direction by the stream. It is twenty-four miles
west of Dayton, forty-six miles west of north of Cincinnati, and
about sixteen southeast of the city of Richmond, Indiana, it
being connected with the latter city as well as with Dayton, by
turnpikes. The Cincinnati, Richmond & Chicago Railroad
runs through the eastern part of the village, and near this
railway are located two planing mills, and two grain and produce
There are a number of fine edifices and attractive
business houses, the following comprising a partial list:
Town Hall, M. E. Church, Minor's Block, Stephen's
Block, Commercial Row, and Odd Fellows' Building.
All of this would be deemed creditable structures if
located in any of the larger cities in the State.
The original plat of the Town was acknowledged by
William Bruce, Feb. 20, 1806. From the notes
explanatory of the Town of Eaton, on file in the Recorder's
office, the following extracts are made:
"Seventh. - The squares marked A, B, C. and D, are
twelve poles square. 'A' is for the purpose of building a
Court House on, and other public buildings for the use of the
County; 'B,' for an academy and school-house for the Town; 'C'
and 'D,' for churches or meeting houses - to be divided in lots,
similar in all respects to those on the plat; and each and every
congregation within the Town and County that will hereafter be
organized, and will build a good house for public worship on the
same, shall have one; the first congregation to have choice of
lots, and so on. They are not to be occupied for burying
"Eighth. - The lot marked 'E,' is for a burying ground;
to be divided into six equal parts, by lines drawn from east to
west. The northern lot shall be for the use of strangers,
and persons belonging to no regular congregation; the other five
for the use of the first congregations who may build meeting
houses in Eaton. The first congregation shall have choice,
and so on."
The lot marked "A," has been used as Mr. Bruce
intended it, county buildings having been erected thereon.
The lot "B," twelve poles square, immediately north of "A," now
has a number of business houses upon it, among others Minor's
Block. Thus it appears that an academy was never built
upon it. The store and dwelling house of H. Vanausdal,
Esq., is situated upon a part of lot "C," and the grocery
building of Longnecker & Son on a corner of lot "D," the
last two lots having been intended for church purposes.
How it happened that three of the four lots were used for other
purposes than those designed by Mr. Bruce, is unknown to
There were two cabins built about
the same time. It is difficult to determine which was
built first, but from the best evidence that can be gathered,
there is little doubt but that John Mills built the first
house (cabin) in Eaton. It was erected on the lot
afterwards owned by General Marsh, north-west corner of
Main and Beech streets. According to a description of it,
written some years since, it was eighteen by twenty feet,
constructed of unhewn logs, notched at the ends and made to fit
nicely. It was covered with clapboards or slabs three or
four feet in length. The first course rested against a log
called an "ease pole." This log was placed so as to
prevent the boards from slipping off. Each course was held
in place by a "weight pole." The floor was made of
puncheons or slabs split from logs, and long enough to reach
across the cabin. On either side was cut out a door, and
the shutter or door proper was made of puncheons, and hung on
wooden pins or hinges. The writer stated that when the
door was opened or closed it would make a noise "equal to a
cider mill in distress." A leather or raw-hide string was
fastened to the wooden latch, and passed above through a hole in
the door, thus enabling a person on the outside to raise the
latch and open the door. At night latch-strings of cabin
doors were pulled in, and were thus locked. This way of
locking gave rise to that proverbial phrase: "You will always
find the latch string out," which is considered as indicative of
hospitality. For windows, logs were chopped off which left
square holes. These were covered with tanned skins of
"varmints" and admitted sufficient light for ordinary purposes.
A great part of one end of the cabin was left open for a fire
place, and the chimney was built of wooden pieces and mud.
The following may be considered as nearly a correct
representation of the building, although the wood cut was not
originally designed to represent it.
A number of log domicils were constructed in the
same or in a similar manner to the one above described, and the
new village established by Cornelius
Vanausdal in 1806 or 7, the first hotel by David
E. Hendricks in the Spring of 1806, and the first Court of
Common Pleas was held on the 23rd of August, 1808, about two and
a half years after the acknowledgement of the town plat by
Wm. Bruce. In the edition of "Lippincott's Pronouncing
Gazetteer," published after the year 1850, a description of
Eaton is given, of which the following is a part:
"It is situated in a rich farming country and is well
supplied with water power. A college3 is about being
established at this place. It contains four churches, one
bank, two newspaper offices, a Union school and a woolen
factory. Population in 1850, 1,346; in 1853, about 1,600.
In "Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio," published
in 1849, occurs the following:
"The village contains one Presbyterian, one Methodist
and one Public church; one book, two grocery and four dry goods
stores; one or two newspaper printing offices, one woolen
factory, one sawmill, and has about 1,000 inhabitants.
We may conclude from the above descriptions that Eaton
did not advance with a mushroom growth, but that it steadily
increased in wealth and population, to correspond with the
development of the resources of the adjacent and remote parts of
the County. It now contains six churches, nearly twenty
grocery stores, two banks, two newspaper printing offices, a
sufficient number of dry-goods stores, and a "small brigade" of
ministers, lawyers, physicians, editors, teachers, printers, and
"wise men" in general. Probably inhabitants, surpasses it
in elegant and comfortable residences, well graded and lighted
streets, and the excellence of its school system.
PARTIAL LIST OF ADDITIONS:
From estate of Henry Monfort - plat
recorded Aug. 10, 1850
Levin T. McCabe's - laid off June 12, 1852.
Cornelius Vanausdal's - plat recorded Sept. 19th, 1853
Ellis Minshall['s - plat recorded April 23d, 1855.
"North Eaton," Dedication by W. J. Gilmore, received
for record April 3de, 1866
By Solomon Banta and John Aukerman, "Executors of John
Aukerman Sr., deceased." Plat acknowledged May 13, 1857.
"Eastern Suburb of Eaton," by J. D. Miller, W. A.
Cleveland, Jacob Chambers, Eli Thompson and Andrew Coffman.
Plat acknowledged Jan. 15, 1857.
By C. F. Brooke, George Waggoner, Peter Smith and
others, Plat filed for record Oct. 23, 1871
Addition by Executors of Cornelius Vanausdal's estate.
Laid out in 1873.
Addition in same year by C. Street, Benjamin Homan, A.
A. A. Seibert and others. Deem's two additions in 1874,
and A. Maharry's in 1875.
To be added upon request