Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

EATON, ROBERT W (1846-1934)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 30, 1925)

Photograph of Robert W. Eaton
Robert W. Eaton

Celebrate Anniversary

Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Eaton, pioneer residents of the Pajaro valley, celebrated the 55th anniversary of their wedding Sunday at their home on East Lake avenue with a diner and family reunion. About 25 children, grandchildren and intimate friends were present to join in the gala occasion and to wish Mr. and Mrs. Eaton many happy returns of the day.

After a delicious repast the remainder of the time was spent in social pleasures and the renewing of acquaintances by some who had not met in a long while- Watsonville Pajaronian.

Watsonville Pajaronian (August 8, 1934)

R.W. Eaton Passes On To Reward
Beloved Pioneer Is Summoned After Brief Illness
Served in Civil War; Was Excellent Worker

Death claimed one of the Pajaro valley's oldest and best beloved pioneer citizens early Wednesday morning when Robert W. Eaton passed peacefully to his last rest at the family home, 801 East Lake Avenue. Although he had been in indifferent health for several months his death followed a serious illness of less than a week.

One of the valley's most prominent pioneer businessmen, civic leader, and Civil War veteran; his passing leaves a void in the community life that will be difficult to fill.

Robert William Eaton was born at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 27, 1846, being a little more than 88 years old.

At the age of 12 years he came with his family to Kansas, where he grew to manhood and received his education. Married in 1870.

He was married December 27, 1870, to Miss Anna L. Van Tries, at Galdwin City, Kansas, where the first four years of their wedded life was passed and the two eldest of their children were born, one of whom John Walter Eaton, died in infancy.

Mr. and Mrs. Eaton came in 1874 to San Francisco where for a time he followed his trade of wagon maker. They came to the Pajaro valley in the fall of 1875 and have lived here continuously since then.

On first arriving in Watsonville, Mr. Eaton engaged in the blacksmithing business with H.P. Brassell, the father of Mrs. Henry G. Watters, their shop being located on the corner now occupied by the Hotel Resetar.

Last December Mr. and Mrs. Eaton celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary with a family reunion.

Mr. Eaton was one of the founders of the strawberry industry in the Pajaro valley and was active in the founding of a marketing organization, which put the industry on a sound commercial footing. For many years he engaged successfully in farming and berry growing, retiring from active work several years ago, living quietly on East Lake Avenue just east of the city limits.

He was the oldest member of the First Christian church, of which organization he had been an elder for a long term of years. He served for 16 years as a member of the local school boards and was active until the time of his retirement in all projects looking to the best interest of the community.

Mr. Eaton enlisted as a drummer boy in the Ninth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry at Fort Scott, Kansas, February 1, 1863, being then only 16 years old and small for his age. He served until the end of the war and was discharged ad DeVall's Bluff, Arkansas, July 1, 1865. He was a charter member of R.L. McCook Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was up to the time of his death an active member. Only two members of the post survive, A.A. "Dad" Story and Fred Jennings.

There are left to mourn his passing his widow, Mrs. Anna L. Eaton, of the family home, and the following sons and daughters: Frank Emmett Eaton of Salinas; Orin O. Eaton, prominent farmer and orchardist of this valley; Roy Tuttle Eaton, Local pharmacist; Mrs. Minni May Renzel of San Jose; Carl Wilbur Eaton, and Robert Harold Eaton, Pajaro valley dairyman.

The body was taken to White's funeral home, 609 Main Street, where it will lie in state until 2 o'clock, when services will be held in the chapel. The body will then be removed to the First Christian church where the Rev. Sam F. Pugh, pastor will conduct services at 2:30. The burial will be in the I.O.O.F. cemetery.

The news of his death will be the source of deep sorrow to his many friends not only in the Pajaro valley but throughout the entire central coast counties area.

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