|DATING COUPLES (from left) Harold Sandborn. Joe Hanna. Maysie Williams (who. became Mrs. Hanna) and Josie Shorter (later Mrs. Sandborn) are ready for an afternoon ride down Eaton's Main St. (Photo courtesy Mrs. Percy Wilson)|
EATON, ONCE THRIVING COMMUNITY, LIVES IN MEMORIES OF OLD TIMERS
By MRS. PERCY WILSON
Eatonville, as it was first known 85 years ago, is located 12 miles east and three-fourths of a mile south of Winfield. S.H. and Anna Mallory purchased properly from John Partridge who lived in the community. The town was platted and deeded out by lots, plots and blocks.
The deed for the plot of Eatonville was recorded on May 3, 1887. In 1908 the town was platted in lots, blocks and streets by the Mallorys. Streets were named Partridge, Wilson, Walnut, Pine, Oak, Chestnut, Cooper, Pearl, Snow and Central.
Many years ago the name of Eatonville was shortened to Eaton. At one time there was a general store with a post office, a blacksmith shop, creamery, two churches, a parsonage, boarding house, depot, stockyards and a two-story, two-room native stone school house.
On May 7, 1887, the railroad right of way was sold to the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic Company. In 1912 it was sold to the Missouri Pacific line which still runs through Eaton with one train traveling one way each day.
Years ago there were two daily trains that provided residents a means of transportation to other towns. Some of the depot agents through the years were Harold, Kenneth and Bob Sandborn, Jim Havens, Neil Gaftney and Ella Kephart. Charlie and Bert Havens used to help out around the depot while their dad was agent.
Stockyards were located east of the depot. A general store was first located on the south side of Pearl Street which is now the township road. It was first owned and operated by the Johnsons and Sauers then it was purchased by Loud Dressel who operated it for many years.
About 1910 Bob Sandborn bought the store and operated it for several years. Later he built another store acorss the street that had a high loading dock, high enough to back wagons up to it for easier loading and unloading. The store usually carried most things one would need including overshoes, shoes, dry goods, and a variety of grocery items. This store building was sold and moved to Winfield in the late forties or early fifties, placed on 4th and Elizabeth and used as a dwelling.
Clarence Higginbottom got his start in the business world by working for Sandborn for five years. He started in 1915 at a salary of 6$ per week.
The creamery was a necessity many years ago providing an outlet for farmers to take their dairy products. It was located east of the second store and on the east side of Oak Street.
Dr. Herman Wilson purchased half interest in it then later purchased the other half and moved the, cooling machinery three-fourths of a mile on east near a spring. A native stone structure was built to house this. The stones for the second building were cut from a quarry about one mile north of the springhouse. Parts of four walls still stand as a I reminder of the past.
After the creamery disbanded the manager of the general store took in cream and other dairy produce after passing all requirements for testing cream. Every few days the produce was sent to Winfield by rail.
Mrs. Ella Kephart, ran the rooming house for several years. Located just north of the depot and right next to the school her roomers were usually the depot agent and the two teachers. She sometimes had roomers who traveled by train and wanted overnight lodging.
Many years ago farmers relied on the blacksmith for shoeing horses and repairing buggy wheels sharpening plowshares and cultivator shovels. The blacksmith tools were heated by a forge fired with coal.
Eaton's blacksmith shop was across the street east of the school and was operated for many years by Frank Barley and the Havens. Later the tools, were bought by Bob and moved to a shed east of the store. It was run by Charly Sumner for many years.
The Church of Christ, located west ot the store and the United Brethren Church located south of where josie Sandborn and Carroll now live, provided the neighborhood with two places to worship each Sunday. The Sandborn home was the United Brethren parsonage at the time. Attendance was usually around 25 to 30 for their Sunday services at either church.
Meetings were held in the two-room school before the Church of Christ building was built and before a house was moved in for the United Brethren Church. Sometimes it was difficult to worship, especially if the upstairs were in prayer at the same time the lower floor congregation was singing a hymn, or the other way around.
The first school in District 47 was called Sheridan, for the township. It was a wooden frame building located west in the section where Orvin Bolacks now live and was built in 1876. The frame building was later sold and moved down into Eatonville and used for a dwelling by Mrs. R. R. Longshore. It has been told that this building burned down about a year after it was moved.
After the land was secured in 1889 for the new school, a native stone two-story structure was built. Attendance was usually around 50 to 60 pupils, when the two rooms were in use. A man teacher usually taught the upper grades upstairs and a woman teacher taught the lower grades downstairs. The school was maintained as a two-room school until 1907. Because of needed repair, the top was lowered to make a one-room building in 1910. It was used until 1958 when the district consolidated with Country View School and later with U.S.D. 465.
The building was sold to Sheridan towship and is now being used by the community for gatherings and is the voting precinct for Sheridan in election years. It is the only main building left that was originally Eaton, other than the three houses still in the plotted area. Only one of these houses is still occupied, that being by the Sandborns.
The community was fortunate to have a doctor in the neighborhood. Dr. Herman Wilson moved with his family from Bloomingberg, Ohio, in 1881 He delivered many of the babies and treated the sick for several miles around for over thirty or thirty-five years.
The town had a public water well located in the middle of Pearl Street, now the county road. This was handy for travelers to stop and water their horses. Persons now driving on this, county road little realize they are traveling over a segment of the past.
Several families still live in the surrounding community that are descendents of residents who lived here when the town was plattd. These include Bolack, Sandborn, Wilson and Cranston, families.
Sixty years ago there were six or seven homes plus the businesses previously mentioned and the population was around 20 when Eaton was a small town and community. Very different when It is compared too now. Eatonville did not develop into the size of town the Mallorys had platted in l887, but was Still large enough to be a busy place at times. The approximate population Within the school district 60 years ago was probably a little over 130, compared to 50 in 1972.
Written for the Courier in Feb 1973.