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S. M. Eaton & Son

Sephreness Millard Eaton

 

 

Badger State

 

Began in 1868 by S. M. Eaton and his brother-in-law John P Green.  They made soda water and began the ice business in Watertown.  Green sold out in 1873 or so to William Woodard and it became Eaton & Woodard.  Woodard sold out and Eaton's son Frank became his business partner.  They had the first copyrighted trademark in the state -- a badger holding a bottle of pop.  Eaton sold out in the early 1900s to the Kohloff Brothers and John Knispel.  In the 1930s Hallett Kwapil bought the business and it became a subsidiary of the 7-Up Bottling Co.  But that did not spell the end of the Badger State Co.  It opened as an independent bottling company, bottling Mission Orange soda.  It was run by Peter Euper and his brother-in-law Reuben Leichtel and was on N. Water St.  Today the location is part of the parking lot of the Watertown Bowl 18.  TherBadger State Co. moved to 12th Street when it was purchased by Vern Siegel and the name changed to the Mayville Bottling Co.  It ceased operations in the late 1960s.

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1842 – 1843   The Double Winter  Early recollections of S. M. Eaton

 

1868

S. M. Eaton, manufacturer of mineral waters; born near Kingston, Canada, Dec. 26, 1832.  His father, Almond R. Eaton (see below), came with his family to Whitewater, Wis., in 1842; after two years’ residence there, he removed to the town of Hebron, Jefferson Co., where he now resides. 

 

S. M. Eaton came to Watertown in 1868, having been located at Fond du Lac for two years prior to that date, engaged in the manufacture of soda and mineral waters since 1866. 

 

On April 1, 1855, he married Eleanor J. Green, daughter of Joseph Green (deceased), of Hebron; she was born in Saratoga, N.Y., July 28, 1832; they have four children – Frank M., Edward O., Clarence C. and Ella A.

 

1870

EATON BUILT THE FIRST

S. M. Eaton built the first establishment of this kind in Watertown in 1870.   The History of Jefferson County, Wisconsin: Containing a History of Jeff . . . 1879, 733 pgs

 

10 12       NEW ICE HOUSE

Messrs Eaton & Brother have commenced erection of a large and commodious ice house near the location of their old one, on the right bank of the river, in the 4th ward.  The building is 75 by 36, and will be capable of holding about 1,200 tons of ice.   WR

 

11 23       ICE

The past summer, much to the inconvenience and disappointment of our citizens, the supply of ice was exhausted before the season was half through.  This in part was caused by Messrs Eaton & Bro. losing most of their supply by the spring freshet.  Just by the preparations going on Watertown will be amply supplied with ice next year  Mr. Eaton and Bro. have now under process of erection a large ice house 75 x 37 and 18 ft. high, capable of holding 1200 tons of ice, which they will proceed to fill as soon as conditions of the ice on the river will admit.  In the future our citizens need have no fears that the supply of ice will not be adequate to the demand, which will be good news to many a household.  WR

 

c.1875   About the year 1875 S. M. Eaton took his son in as a partner.    WG 02 26 1909

 

 

1876

02 17       S. M. Eaton has packaged the largest stock of ice he has ever put up in one year.  To make room for this increased amount he has built a large addition to his ice house.  He has some 3000 tons secured, all in good condition and fine quality, though not quite as thick as usual.   WD

 

05 11       Mr. S. M. Eaton's Soda Water has not only become widely celebrated, but it is a favorite summer drink wherever its fine and superior qualities are known.  The Whitewater Register of the 4th inst., speaks of this healthy and exhilarating beverage in the following complimentary terms:

 

"S. M. Eaton, of Watertown, the champion soda water manufacturer of Wisconsin, has established a route from that city to Whitewater and during the coming season proposes to supply the thirsty citizens of this section with this superior beverage. Mr. Eaton's factory is supplied with water from an excellent artesian well and only the best materials are used in the manufacture of his soda water. To those who know the excellence of his quality no word of commendation will be required; and to others we can confidentially recommend it for a trial. Mr. L. May will have the route in charge and we certify that this part of the business will be attended to promptly and reliable."   WD

 

06 01       SHIPS ICE TO CHICAGO

Mr. S. M. Eaton is actively at work shipping ice to Chicago, where it is stored in the extensive packing houses of that city, for use during the summer.  His new ice house, built last winter, is now nearly exhausted, upwards of one thousand tons having found its way into the market.   WD

 

08 01       15,000 TONS OF ICE IN ICE HOUSES

Fifteen thousand tons of ice are now (August 1879) stored in the icehouses of Watertown.  S. M. Eaton built the first establishment of this kind in Watertown in 1870.  He has two buildings, one in the rear of his soda factory, and the other half a mile up the river, with an aggregate capacity of 15,000 tons.  A Chicago firm erected a large building near Mr. Eaton's upper repository last winter, where they now have 10,000 tons stored.  Large shipments are made to Chicago during the summer.  Near the close of the ice harvest of 1876, when there was a prospect for a decided scarcity of this article in Chicago, several enterprising individuals of that city came to Watertown, and marshaling every available man and horse in the community, commenced the work of gathering ice from Rock River and shipping it to the Garden City.  Over two hundred men were employed in the work for several weeks, about $10,000 being invested in the enterprise.  On one occasion, while this army of men were being paid off at the saloon of O. Auwers, near the North Western depot, the floor of the saloon gave way and thirty or forty persons were precipitated into the cellar below.  No one was injured, however, but several very laughable incidents occurred.  One man was doubled up like a jack knife in a barrel of soft soap.  Another was stopped suddenly in his descent by a basket of eggs.   The History of Jefferson County, Wisconsin: Containing a History of Jeff . . . 1879, 733 pgs

 

1877

EATON HAD CONTRACT FOR HAULING THE “PHOENIX STEAMER”

Washington’s Birthday in 1877, C.&N.W.Ry. Warehouse Fire

 

Watertown volunteer firemen on the day [in 1877] mentioned assembled in a body at the corner of Main and First streets at 1 p.m., engines and apparatus brightly shined, also decorated with red, white and blue.  It was the second appearance of the Phoenix Co. clad in their new blue uniforms, trimmed with white, and in each horse’s headgear of the team that hauled the Silsby there could be plainly seen the regulation circus plumes, red, white and blue, which added much to the appearance of the west side company’s turn out.  The men of the east side wore their regulation red shirts, except the Sack Co., who always appeared in their neat-fitting sack coats of blue.  There was little or no snow to be seen, muddy roads, badly frozen and broken up, therefore the parade did not get very far down Main Street.  The two-wheeled hose carts pulled by men on foot were very cumbersome and the ladies were pleased to get back to quarters early in the afternoon, and the teams were cared for by their owners in their own barns, S. M. Eaton having the contract for hauling the “Phoenix steamer,” and Mr. Mannegold of the east side had a similar arrangement with the city for hauling the “Pioneer” by the year to fires. 

 

About 8 p.m. a fierce fire broke out in a warehouse at the C.&N.W.Ry. depot and spread rapidly.  Eaton’s drivers and sons soon had four horses at the house of the “Rotary” and it was not long after they were hooked up that they turned the corner at Main Street, passing the Pioneer, with one team, at the next corner.  Charlie Kerr assisted by Bill Ready drove the pole team, while Frank Eaton and Charles Haskell rode the leaders.  “Doc” Moore, stoker of the Silsby, fell off at the next crossing and Barney Gardner and his hack cleared the way at the Warren Street corner.  He was on his way from the depot and wound up on the sidewalk rather mixed up in Thomas McCabe’s monument display and it has been said that willing hands disconnected the “Bays” and hack and put Barney and his rig on the road again.  The fire was of short duration after the Silsby connected to the tank house and the day wound up with a rumpus.  Charles Haskell and Charlie Fuermann could not settle the question as to which company had exclusive rights to the water in the tank house without coming to blows and Mr. Haskell got a good one on the top of the head with a spanner, which settled matters until the following day, when one of the east side engine crew called at No. 2 engine house telling the man who was cleaning the Silsby what he would do and proceeded to carry out his threat.  The Phoenix boy ran out and rang the bell—the rope then hung outside the north wall; this alarm soon brought a number of firemen, who were employees of Woodard & Stone, on the scene and the intruder was soon out of sight.  

 

The officers and engineers of our engine companies in 1877 were John Muth, foreman and chief, F. Bursinger, engineer, E. Kunert, assistant engineer, Charles Fuermann, stoker, Fred Spink, foreman No. 2, C. E. Straw, engineer No. 2, Edwin Moore, assistant engineer, Frank Eaton, stoker.  The latter also served as secretary of the Phoenix Company.   Watertown Gazette, 02 26 1909

 

1870s-1885   Charles Kerr employed by S. M. Eaton & Son for the Badger State Bottling Co

 

1885      Almond Ransom Eaton / Another Pioneer Gone

Jefferson County Union, 12 25 1885

 

Almond Ransom Eaton died at his home in the town of Hebron, in this county, on the 15th day of December, 1885, after a long and painful illness - his death occurring in the midst of his 81st year.  He came of New England stock belonging to the seventh generation from Frances Eaton, one of the famous founders of Plymouth Massachusetts, and had some of the strong moral and religious convictions that characterized that people.  From boyhood to the tomb he was stoutly orthodox, anti-slavery, anti-polygamy and anti-intemperance.  He was born near Bennington, Vt., May 12, 1805.  His early life was spent in Canada.  Forty-three years ago he came to Wisconsin, making the entire journey with his family in a covered wagon, and soon after settled upon his farm upon which he has ever since resided.  He was a genial and companionable old man; he read much, and took a lively interest in all the material, social, political and moral changes that have marked the growth and development of this region.

 

Orissa Haskins Eaton, his first wife and the mother of his children, died in the spring of 1850.  In 1855 he married Miss Sofia Bailey, who survives him.  S. M. Eaton, his oldest son, is a manufacturer, residing in Watertown.  Mrs. Carey Fryer, his only daughter, resides in the town of Hebron, and E. L. Eaton, the youngest son, is a minister of M. E. church, and is now presiding elder of Madison District, and resides in Madison. 

 

He lived how the full measure of his years and left the good record of an earnest, busy and useful life.

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1889

10 11       S. M Eaton & Son are making some very five apple cider, and if you want a choice article in that line, order of them at once.  You can buy it in any quantity at a very moderate price.  WG

 

c.1890

S. M. EATON: BADGER STATE BOTTLING AND ICE HOUSE, 301-311 N WATER ST.

       

 

c.1890

S. M. EATON & SON ICE HOUSE

        < Badger logo and birdhouses noted

 

    

 

        

Blocks of harvested ice being positioned in channel in Rock river prior to being placed on elevator to store in Eaton ice house

 

Cross References:

Chapter on ice harvesting 

 

   Video clip       

 

  Video clip  Segment on ice house and ice harvesting in Society video recording.

 

1892

06 24       Last Saturday while Geo. Norton, foreman of S.M. Eaton & Sons bottling works, was charging a portable steel fountain the head bursted, causing considerable excitement for the time being.  Had the usual amount of pressure been applied, we feel George ‘‘would be up with the angels now.”   WG

 

1895

01 09       1895 ICE HARVEST

The ice harvest has commenced on the river and several firms storing it have full crews at work.  The work will continue two or three weeks and something like 18,000 tons will be cut. Although the ice is only twelve inches thick a good crop is assured.   WR

 

06 05       EATON'S STONE CRUSHER

A quantity of stone crushed by S. M. Eaton's crusher is being placed on portions of Main Street.  It is thought to be just the thing for an excellent road-bed.   WR

 

1895c  1895c, S M Eaton & Son, ice dealer, sold to Knispel in 1909

307 N Water

 

  Ice wagons in front of ice house

 

1898

06 08       EATON & GREEN POP BOTTLE

A relic of Watertown's pioneer business interests was found Saturday near one of the depots.  It was a pop bottle bearing the inscription of Eaton & Green, who manufactured carbonated beverages here over thirty years ago.   WR

 

07 27       STONE CRUSHER

M.S. Eaton & Son’s stone crusher has been removed [moved] to the lot in the rear of the gas plant and is employed in crushing a large quantity of stone owned by the city.  This experiment will prove whether the crusher is of sufficient size for the city's needs.  The crushed stone is to be used on the streets.  WR

 

11 23       ANNUAL TRIP TO MINOCQUA

S. M. Eaton has returned from his regular fall trip to the vicinity of Minocqua.  While away Mr. Eaton, in company with some friends, spent several days in hunting and brings home a deer and a bear weighing nearly 200 pounds.  He tells a thrilling story of the party's hunt for the bear and how Bruin was finally cornered in a swamp.   WR

 

11 23       CHRISTMAS TREES

S. M. Eaton & Son will have a carload of Christmas trees for the local market about December 1.  They are exceptionally fine ones and were selected personally by Mr. Eaton during his stay in northern Wisconsin.   WR

 

12 07       BLACK BEAR SKIN

Ed Mueller is the possessor of a fine black bear skin which he secured from S. M. Eaton.  Ed immediately had it sent to the tannery of John Heimerl, and when it is returned he expects to have as fine a rug as there is in the city.   WR

 

1900

01 09       HARVESTING OF ICE

The harvesting of ice was begun Friday by S. M. Eaton & Son, but after two days' work they were compelled to quit owing to the warm weather.  They expect to store about 5,000 tons for their own trade, together with a large quantity for the railroad companies and other customers here.  The ice is of the best quality harvested in recent years, being absolutely clear its entire thickness of thirteen inches.  William Hartig, Ohm Bros., and the cold storage houses will also begin harvesting soon.   WR

 

1901

04 03       SCALE OF DELIVERY PRICES

It is understood that the two local ice dealers have arranged a scale of prices for consumers and agreed to abide by the same.  The new scale will increase the cost to some patrons and decrease it to others.  For residence services the uniform rate of $10.50 for the season of six months, with four deliveries each week, will be made.  Larger consumers, such as meat dealers, groceries, saloonkeepers, etc., will be charged pound rates.   WR

 

1902

01 10       ICE HARVESTING BEGUN

S. M. Eaton began the ice harvest here on Rock River last Monday with a large force of men.   WG

                            1902             c.1890 drawing compared to 1902 pic

 

1903

               Profile of S. M. Eaton featured in Milwaukee Sentinel of 03 20 1903.

 

1905

10 25       ICE SHIPPED TO CHICAGO

On account of the shortage of ice in Chicago and Milwaukee, S. M. Eaton & Son of this city are supplying the ice for thirteen refrigerator cars daily for the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railway Co.  It is lucky for the railway company and also for Eaton & Son that they have the ice to meet the demand.   WR

 

1906

03 24       ICE WAGON, HORSES RUN THROUGH DOWNTOWN

A powerful team belonging to S. M. Eaton & Son, attached to an ice wagon became frightened Saturday afternoon near Fifth Street and ran away, going west on Main Street at a breakneck speed, colliding with a buggy near the corner of Fourth and Main, belonging to Mrs. Amelia Brennecke who had come to the city with her son, who fortunately were absent from the buggy at the time as the vehicle was badly wrecked.  Pursuing their flight they struck another buggy belonging to Martin Stueber, a farmer, in front of the store of Schempf Bros. & Co., which was also badly wrecked and Mr. Stueber slightly injured.  Continuing their flight they struck a farm wagon opposite the Masonic Temple belonging to O. Brennecke, a farmer, taking off their hind wheels without injuring no one and then ran to the corner of Main and Washington streets, where they were stopped. It is surprising that so little damage was done and only one person injured as street at the time was full of teams and people. 

 

1908

07 31       ELEVATOR MOVED

H. Wertheimer will remove his elevator in a few days from West Main Street near the Northwestern depot to the vicinity of the sidetrack [spur] of the Northwestern rail way just north of S. M. Eaton's & Son's factory in North Water Street.   WG

 

Cross Reference:  This building was originally located on West Main Street near the C & NW depot and was moved intact to North Water Street (today near site of Fannie Lewis park).

 

1909      S. M. EATON & SON DISPOSE OF BUSINESS

02 26       On Saturday last a deal was closed whereby The Badger State Bottling Co. of this city disposed of its property to John Knispel and Kohloff Bros.  The sale includes the ice houses, soda water factory, machinery and contents, horses, wagons, etc., and beside two residences.  The Badger State Co. is composed of S. M. Eaton and son Frank and is one of the oldest and best known firms in Wisconsin.  In 1868 Mr. Eaton engaged in the manufacture of soda water here and later added the ice business.  About the year 1875 he took his son in as a partner and since then they have succeeded in building up one of the most successful ice and soda water enterprises in the state.  The firm has the reputation of manufacturing some of the very best kinds of soft drinks in the entire country and the ice sold by them is likewise good and wholesome.  They always dealt on the square with everybody, hence all our people regret to learn of their withdrawing from the Watertown business field.  S. M. Eaton will no doubt continue to reside here, but his son Frank contemplates after taking a long rest engaging in business on the Pacific coast.  The new proprietors will take charge of the business in about two weeks but Mr. Frank Eaton will remain with them six months learning them the details of this extensive business.   WG

 

04 02       Real Estate.  S. M. Eaton has purchased the Robert E. Lewis residence property in Washington Street, the consideration being $500.  This is a very desirable piece of property and Mr. Eaton was fortunate in securing it at so reasonable a figure.   WG

 

04 09       On Thursday of last week S. M. Eaton & Son passed over their ice and soda water business to Kohloff Bros. & Knispel, who recently purchased it of them.  Frank M. Eaton will remain with the new firm for a time, but S. M. Eaton will henceforth lead a retired life.  S. M. Eaton and his son Frank will be greatly missed in Watertown business circles, for they were two of Watertown's oldest and most honorable business men, people with whom it was always a pleasure to deal, for they conducted business on the principle "live and let live."   WG

 

10 01       Masonic Lodge No. 49 tendered a banquet to S. M. Eaton and family, who expect soon to remove to Eugene, Oregon, Tuesday evening, September 28, at Masonic Temple.  The invitations were extended to “Masons and their families only” and a goodly number assembled to testify their appreciation of the friendship felt for Mr. Eaton and his family.  The first hours of the evening were passed in the lodge rooms on the third floor, where an informal reception was held.  At ten o’clock the guests were invited to descend to the banquet rooms where a most substantial feast was served.  After the appetites of all had been satisfied Mayor Arthur Mulberger arose and made a neat little speech, praising the good efficient work done in the lodge by Mr. Eaton, expressing sorrow at his going away and wishing the family health and happiness in the new home to which they were going.  Mr. Eaton’s response was very brief, but to the point, thanking all for their kindness and interest.  At the conclusion of the banquet the room was cleared and for an hour or two those who cared to do so spent the time in dancing, the Weber-Stube orchestra furnishing the music . . .  WG

 

1911

10 05       LECTURE

Monday evening, October 9, 1911, at 8 o’clock, C. C. Eaton of Tacoma, Washington, son of S. M. Eaton of this city, will lecture on Christian Science at Masonic Temple Hall.  The lecture is free, to which the public is cordially invited.   WG

 

10 12       A FINE LECTURE 

A large audience was present Monday evening at Masonic Temple Hall to listen to the lecture by Clarence C. Eaton of Tacoma, son of S. M. Eaton of this city, his subject being Christian Science.  P. H. Swift presided at the meeting.  Mr. Eaton is an old Watertown boy and our people were eager to hear him talk.  He gave a very interesting lecture and his delivery was very fine.  In fact, he is considered one of the best lecturers in the country on Christian Science.   WG

 

1912

09 05       MRS. S. M. EATON DIED 

Saturday evening, August 31, 1912, Mrs. S. M. Eaton died at the family home, 412 Washington Street.  Mrs. Eaton had been ill for several months and for seven weeks previous to her death was confined to her bed.  Notwithstanding, she lived far beyond the allotted three score and ten, and that she had been ill so long, her death was the cause of much sorrow and surprise to our people.

 

Mrs. Eaton was one of the early residents of Jefferson County.  She was born July 28, 1832, at Saratoga, New York.  Her maiden name was Eleanor J. Green and in 1843 she located with her parents at Hebron, this county, and was married on April 1, 1855, to Mr. Eaton.  Shortly after being married they resided for two years in Fond du Lac and ever since has made Watertown her home.  Seven years ago Mr. and Mrs. Eaton celebrated their golden wedding.

 

Mrs. Eaton is survived by one son and one daughter, C. C. Eaton of Tacoma, Washington, and Mrs. Ella Eaton of Los Angeles, California, who was with her during her final illness.  Eight grandchildren also survive her.  Tuesday afternoon her funeral took place from her late home, the interment being in Oak Hill Cemetery. 

 

Mrs. Eaton was one of Watertown's most esteemed citizens.  She was strictly a home person, and mingled but little in society, preferring the quietness of her own home, and was never so happy as when administering to her duties as wife and mother.  However, she always took a kindly interest in the welfare of her neighbors and our citizens in general, and by deed and good example exercised an influence for good in the community that will have a lasting good effect.  Mrs. Eaton's death is sincerely mourned here, and in their sadness the bereaved husband and family have the sincere sympathy of all the citizens of Watertown.

 

On the occasion of Mr. and Mrs. Eaton's golden wedding Rev. E. L. Eaton, brother of S. M. Eaton, in a letter of congratulation, paid the following beautiful tribute to Mrs. Eaton and her husband:

 

"Bark woods never reared a better girl than that bride.  While she was yet a young girl, she was as self-reliant as a surgeon, and as motherly and as kindly and helpful to the little ones about her, and to me especially to whom she was the only mother I ever knew, as though she had been my natural mother.  How gently and how wisely she nursed the sick back to life.  What almost superhuman nerve she waited upon the surgeon when he laid bare the very brain of a younger brother whose skull was crushed by the falling tree.  And when our own mother lay upon our last bed of sickness, if I mistake not, this young girl, this gentle spirited neighbor, came often to minister to her and brought to her some of the last comforts which cheered her dying hour.  Oh, brother!  There are two persons yet living — you and I — yea three — Carrie — who should be glad to make the remaining days to the very last hour of Eleanor Green's life, days of happiness and peace.  May heaven bless her, and bless you both, abundantly, inexpressibly and everlastingly!  Personally, we are both grateful to God that He in His infinite goodness has spared you both to live together for half a century . . . “    WG

 

1913

01 02       S. M. EATON, 80th BIRTHDAY 

Thursday evening of last week our worthy citizen S. M. Eaton, celebrated his 80th birthday anniversary, and many of our citizens had the pleasure of congratulating him in person on that day.  In the evening a number of his Masonic friends called at his home in a body and took him completely by surprise.  They presented him with a beautiful loving cup, appropriately inscribed as a souvenir of the occasion.  Mr. Eaton received his callers with wide open hospitality and all passed a very pleasant evening together.  Our citizens in general congratulate him on his excellent health for one of his years and all trust he will continue to enjoy good health for many years to come.   WG

 

c.1915-1920

ICE HARVESTING

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1964

08 06       Mayville Bottling Co

The Mayville Bottling Co., owned and operated by a corporation headed by Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Siegel and which last year bought out the Badger States Bottling Co. of Watertown, is now operating in Watertown at 708 South Twelfth Street.  The plant, which began operations here some weeks ago, is now in full operation and will close the Mayville plant in about a month, concentrating its entire operations in Watertown. In addition to making and dealing in the former Badger State Bottling Co. soft drinks, the concern also deals in Sundrop Golden Cola, Dr Pepper, Squirt and all of the Mayville quality beverages. Next week the concern will introduce Sundrop Golden Cola sugar free or diet cola which is expected to find a wide market because the new diet drinks are growing in popularity.

 

1916      WATERTOWN GAZETTE ARTICLE of April 10, 1916

 

A Journey from New York State to Wisconsin,

in Lumber Wagons

 

by S. M. Eaton.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Sephreuess Millard Eaton lived in Whitewater seven years, during which time he worked at his trade of carpenter and joiner. In those days twelve to fourteen hours constituted a day's work, and there being no machinery for the purpose he was compelled to make all his flooring, doors, sash, etc., by hand. He built the school house in District No. 4 in the town of Hebron for the sum of seventy-five dollars, making all the desks and seats of oak, the floor of white oak, two of the doors of basswood and the outer door of walnut 1 3/4 inches thick.

 

In 1866 Mr. Eaton moved to Fond du Lac, where in company with his cousin C. A. Hickey, he organized the first bottling works for carbonated beverages.  In the fall of 1867 he sold his interest to his partner and moved to Watertown, where, with his brother-in-law, J. P. Green, he established a similar business.

 

WATERTOWN GAZETTE April 10, 1916

 

The following interesting account of his boyhood trip from the east to Wisconsin and 74 years ago [1842], by S. M. Eaton will be read with great interest by all the old Watertown boys who receive The Gazette from Maine to California.  Mr. Eaton is greatly esteemed by all of them, and his letter, we know, will be greatly appreciated by them.   James W. Moore, Editor Watertown Gazette.  [original spelling maintained]

 

Dear Old Friend:  Herewith I hand you a story of my experiences and early recollections of an early day journey from New York state to Wisconsin 74 years ago in a lumber wagons with some experiences after arriving.  You may publish it in The Gazette, if you wish; it may interest some of your readers that were pioneers, and amuse some others.

 

Yours truly, S. M. Eaton.

 

A Pioneer Story of Early Days in Wisconsin

 

About the 20th of September, 1842, my father started from Pike, Allegany County, New York, in a cotton covered lumber wagon, without springs. Our family consisted of father and mother, myself, 10 years old, and baby brother, two years old. Our motive power was a pair of small horses. We arrived in Buffalo about 10 AM the second day, my father had a brother employed in the post office. After a short visit with him and a lunch for ourselves and horses we started on our long journey. We went to what was then called Black Rock Ferry, where a steam ferry was run across Niagara River to the Canadian shore there is now an international railroad bridge there.. Horror first night we camped on, or near the Welland canal. Our horses were tired as well as ourselves and father thought the horses would not care to roam so did not tie them to the wagon but allowed them to feed on the grass that was in abundance and there. We all slept in our wagon and early next morning, on arising we found our horses were missing. Father told me to go in the direction we were traveling while he went in the back direction. I think I went nearly a mile when I saw a two-masted ship coming, drawn by two horses, I asked the driver is he had seen any horses, he said no; that he had come several the miles that morning but had not seen any. So I turned back and when I got back to the wagon father had just come with the horses; he found then on the back track. Mother had prepared our breakfast by a little campfire beside the canal. After our repast and feeding the horses some oats we resumed our journey. We traveled along the shore of Lake Erie many days, very often in sight of it and camped nights.

 

We passed through several towns where the railroad is now runs; we came through St. Thomas, where there was some kind of a holiday — they were having some kind of test of strength between a large horse and two ponies. I don't remember which now, but a man saw our team and wanted to trade for one of our horses as he had one, an exact match for one of ours, so my father traded with him and received $10 to boot, which he much needed, as he was short of money. Canada was almost a wilderness and then, about as much as Wisconsin. We saw many flocks of wild turkeys, but he did not get any. Although my father had a new Kentucky rifle he had no ammunition and could not buy any at any place we passed through. One farmer said he had to keep his chickens in the fields to keep the turkeys out.

 

In due time we arrived at Windsor, opposite to Detroit Michigan, where we crossed the river by steam ferry. We passed through Niles, Michigan. It was on a Saturday afternoon and a short distance from the town. We stopped with a farmer over Sunday to let our horses rest as well as ourselves. Our horses had rundown considerable, and the farmer told my father that he would trade him oxen for his horse , for he said, your horses must have plenty of oats and where you are going you will find nothing but while hay and your horses have never been used to it, and they will rundown more yet.

 

So they made the trade.  We got a pair of large young oxen and a good col which was led behind the wagon.

 

Figure by Ken Riedl

 

We headed for Chicago, passed many towns in Michigan and Indiana, coming around the head of Lake Michigan and through LaPorte and several other towns then quite small, finally arriving in Chicago, then not so large as Watertown is today. But, as I remember, a very bustling place. They asked my father where he was going, and when he told then they said don’t go any farther, stop right here, and offered to give him a lot along Clark or Randolph streets is he would remain, but he had started for Wisconsin and nothing would stop him short of their. There was not a bridge in Chicago then and we were ferried across the river on a scow at Lake street, pulled over by a rope. We took our course north, up along the Desplain river; we passed through a small village called McHenry and the last day of October, after dark, we arrived at a settlers on Big Foot Prairie, Rock County, where we staid overnight. The next night we stopped with a farmer about four miles north of Johnstown, Rock Prairie. This farmer was the father of the late Norman Humphrey of Watertown, as I since learned from Mr. Humphrey. At about 11 AM, Nov. 2 we arrived in Whitewater, our destination, after almost six weeks travel. Whitewater consisted then of 14 buildings, including barns and a log blacksmith shop. We did not know a soul there, and although money my father had left was 75 cents.

 

Father made several inquiries to find out where a certain quarter section of land lay and learned it was some three or four miles toward Fort Atkinson (this land belonged to my father's brother and my father was to have it if it suited him). We started in that direction, but tonight was over- taking us, so stopped with a man named Henry Johnson, who had been here two or three years and was quite comfortably fixed. The next day we drove towards that land about stopped at the last house this side of Fort Atkinson where there was a large family named Williams in a small log house, but every body was kind and their hearts were larger than their houses. They took us in and we staid whith them three or four days. My father all the time looking for a place that we could live in through the winter and the last days he was out looking he called in at the Exchange Hotel, Whitewater. "Uncle Prude Parsons" as he was called, said yes I have good log house on my farmland just vacated, the man thar worked my farm this summer has got through and moved to Beloir and you can move right in tomorrow if you want to. Father asked him where the farm was and he said about a mile west on the Cold Spring road, and it was partly on the way to where we were stopping.

 

Father did not stop long to make more inquiries, but made fast time to the place and found it all right. Quite a big log house with two windows and a fireplace, (there were not many stoves then.) The snow was then over 15 inches deep, it having snowed all night previous, when father came back and told mother what he had found, she was overjoyed. She had been crying most all day. Early next morning he got an ox sled somewhere and loaded our few little belongings on and led the cow behind, and before noon we were in our new home.

 

There was a stable that we put the cow in (she gave milk) and in a little cellar under the house was about 20 bushels of potatoes that the man who worked the farm had put in there so we confiscated them. He came back the week after he moved to Beloit and came to the house. Father told him we were eating his potatoes and would like to pay for them but had no money then. He said eat them in welcome, I did not want to see them go to waste so I put them in there. They are only 10 cents a bushel and I cannot move them to Beloit. I can get them there for 10 cents. There was a man came Mr. Levi Sohson that lived about a mile west, told my father that he would take his oxen and feed them for the work, and would give my father a job of driving them and another job in the back woods and hauling timber for a bam, and would pay my father $8.00 per month for his work, which father did for nearly five months. Of course when we got into our own home we had to have something to live on so father went to a man just south of us on what is now Main Street, west of Whitewater (his name was Samuel Prince) and the street is now called Prince Street in his honor. Father told him he had just moved into the Parson’s house and wanted provisions, but had no money, but would work for him or pay him as soon as he could earn the money Mr. Prince told father that he had pork and that he could have all he wanted for 2 1/3 cents per pound; flour for $1.50 per 100 pounds, and some butter for 10 cents per pound, and I don't want money, you may come us and helped me next spring to put in my crops!

 

On top of the stable where our cow was housed, there was about three tons of hay, stacked up there for a roof and the hay was good so we used to cut it down in tiers about halfway to feed the cow. We got settled all right at last, but it was the longest, lonesomest winter I can remember. Father had to get up before daylight and go to his work every morning over a mile. There was a spring a quarter of a mile from the house which he passed in going and coming from work where we had to go for water, he would take a pail and leave it at the spring and bring it back frill of water when he came home at night. That was all the water we had except snow water. I used to gather snow and melt it. Spring finally came and on the first Tuesday in April, I remember the few men there went to election (town meeting) in sleighs.

 

 

 

Cross References:

               Early recollections of S. M. Eaton

Clarence C. Eaton, son of S. M. Eaton, is on a lecturing tour on Christian science in England.  Watertown Gazette, 10 16 1908

Burials in OH cem

Eaton, Edward O., b. 1859, d. 1890 

Eaton, Eleanor J., b. 1832, d. 1912

Eaton, Ella A., b. 1865, d. 1919  

Eaton, F. M., b. 1856, d. 1911    

Eaton, S. M., b. 1832, d. 1922    

               1909, Frank M. Eaton and son Almond returned from trip to Pacific Coast.  Mr. Eaton’s son Myron remained at Medford, Oregon.

 

 

PROFILE OF Sephreness Millard Eaton

A sympathetic knowledge of the world, and the recognition of the elements of progress in it, enables a man to better endure the struggle in the battle of life: arid the man who seizes his opportunity and improves it in any community or walk of life, as a rule, prospers.  This fact was early recognized by Sephreness Millard Eaton, of Watertown, Wisconsin.

 

Mr. Eaton was born December 26, 1832. in Canada. 25 miles east of Kingston in what was then called Leeds, and when about four years old came with his parents to the United States, settling first at Edinburg, Portage County, Ohio, where they remained a couple of years, then removed to Pike. Alleghany County, New York.  In the fall of 1842, when he was ten years old, his parents emigrated West, traveling with team and canvass-covered wagon, camping nights by the roadside. They arrived in Chicago, October 27, 1842, which at that time was a very small village in a very large mud hole.  An account of stock taken while in Chicago showed but seventy-five cents in cash, a pair of oxen, a wagon and a cow. Remaining but a short time, they started for Whitewater. Wisconsin, where they arrived November 2, 1842, and remained two years on a farm belonging to X. P. Parsons, one and one-half northwest of Whitewater, in the town of Cold Spring, Jefferson County, where they settled on a piece of wild, government forest land in what is now the town of Hebron, Jefferson County, and built a log cabin, clearing the land and making a fine farm, which is still owned by S. M. Eaton, his brother and sister.  The winters of 1842-3 will long be remembered by the few settlers in Wisconsin at that time as very hard, long winters, entailing much suffering and privation.

 

April 1, 1855. Sephreness Millard Eaton was united in marriage to Eleanor Jane Green, who was born in Orleans County. New York, July 28, 1832, and is the daughter of Joseph Elliott and Polly (Caine) Green.  Four children was the result of this union, namely: Francis Marion, born in Hebron, Wisconsin, January 7.1856: he married Emma Nute and they have four children, Pearl, Clayton, Almon Ransom and Myron: Edward Orthello, born in Whitewater, Wisconsin, November 3, 1859: he married Mary Jones; they lived in Englewood, Illinois, and he was employed in the Michigan Central Railroad freight office, when he died March 29, 1890, and his wife died in October of the same year, leaving one daughter, Bessie, who now lives in Milwaukee with her mother's sister; Clarence Clayton, born in Whitewater August 7. 1861; he married Julia Ford and has two children, Sumner and Roswell, and now lives in Columbus, Wisconsin, and is editor and publisher of the Columbus Democrat; Ella Alsea, born in Whitewater, April 11, 1865; she married Eugene Abele and has two children, Eugeine Louisa and Hazel Eleanor Eaton, and now lives in Milwaukee.

 

Mrs. Eleanor Jane (Green) Eaton is a great granddaughter on the paternal side of John Green, who was a relative of General Green who fought at the battle of Monmouth during the Revolutionary war; and on the maternal side, of John Palmiteer, who, when ten years old, was a servant to General Washington, who taught him to read. Her maternal grandfather was Dennis Caine. Her father, Joseph Elliott Green, was born at Batavia, New York, January 10, 1805, and her mother, Polly (Caine) Green, was born August 24, 1808, and they were married at Albany, New York, January 1. 1825. They lived in this vicinity until September 28, 1844, when with their family, they moved from South Barre, Orleans County, New York, to Wisconsin, arriving at Whitewater, September 80, and settled permanently at Hebron, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, in May 1845, where he had the previous winter built a log cabin on a piece of pre-empted laud. Twelve children were born to them, namely: Luther Bebee; born December 26. 1826, and married Julia E. Green; Dennis, born January 14, 1821), and met with an accidental death in 1830; Calvin, born December 21. 1830: Eleanor Jane, married to S. M. Eaton; William Henry, born February 13. 1834; married Charlotte Reynolds; John Pulsifer, born November 30, 1835, married Luella Green; Anna, born March 27. 1837, married Zebulon Mead; Sarah, born March 26, 1831, married Charles S. Cartwright: Aseneth, born April 22, 1841, married Henry Edwards; Lucinda. bom December 22. 1842, married Leister Blakeley; James Waudel. born March 30. 1845 and George Washington, born December 26, 1846.

 

Mr. Eaton lived in Whitewater seven years, during which time he worked at his trade of carpenter and joiner. In those days twelve to fourteen hours constituted a day's work, and there being no machinery for the purpose he was compelled to make all his flooring, doors, sash, etc., by hand. He built the School House in District No. 4 in the town of Hebron for the sum of seventy-five dollars, making all the desks and seats of oak, the floor of white oak, two of the doors of basswood and the outer door of walnut 1 3/4 inches thick.

 

In 1866 Mr. Eaton moved to Fond du Lac, where in company with his cousin C. A. Hickey, he organized the first bottling works for carbonated beverages. In the fall of 1867 he sold his interest to his partner and moved to Watertown, Wis., where, with his brother-in-law, J. P. Green, he established a similar business, which continued two years, when Mr. Green disposed of his interest to S. S. Woodard, and two years later Mr. Eaton bought out Mr. Woodard and took in his son F. M. Eaton, and added the retail ice business. This business is now being conducted by them under the name of the Badger State Bottling Company.

 

Sephreuess Millard Eaton is the son of Almon Ransom Eaton, who was born in Vermont, May 12, 1805, and died in Hebron, Wis., December 15, 1885, aged 80 years, 7 months and 3 days. He married Orissa Carey, daughter of Samuel and Rebecca Haskius of Massachusetts. She was born, in St. Albans, Vermont, but lived in her early life in Canada, near Kingston. Six children were born to them, three in Canada, namely: Sephreness Millard, the subject of this sketch, and two that died in infancy, and three who were born in the United States, namely:  Recellus Chauucey, who was born in New York January 31, 1841, and was drowned in the Bark river in Wisconsin in 1861; Caroline Amelia, born in Cold Spring, Wis., and now married to James Fryer; Ephraim Lewellen, born March 27. 1846,   who  was  twice  married, first to Mrs. Jane Struthers and next to Sophia Bailey, with whom he lived until his death; she survived him some ten  years.    Three of the family are still living, namely: Sephreness M., Caroline Fryer, living on the old home farm in Hebron, and Ephraim L., who is a noted Methodist D. D. at Des Moines, Iowa, and pastor of the First M. E. Church of that city.

 

Whilst not a member of any church. Mr. Eaton is a firm believer in God and his goodness: he is a member of the Masonic fraternity and a Knight Templar.    In politics he is a staunch Republican, and has been a member of the Board of Alderman of Watertown, and President of the City Council of that city for four years.

 

Mr. Eaton is justly proud of his ancestry and, as will be seen by the annexed genealogy, traces back to the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers.

 

Genealogy

 

(1) Francis Eaton, one of the Mayflower company.

(2) Benjamin I Eaton, his son.   

(3) Benjamin Jr., his son.   

(4) Francis, his son, who married Thankful Alden, granddaughter of John Alden and Priscilla, the young lady whom he courted for Miles Standish, but married himself.

(5) Jabez. his son.   

(6) Jabez, Jr., his son.   

(7) Almon Ransom.

 

JABEZ EATON, SR (5).  FAMILY:—He resided and died in Pike, Allegheny County, New York: Lucy. b. March 24. 1760; Elizabeth, b. June 15, 1763; Simeon, b.  May 20. 1765; Jabez, Jr., b. January 26, 1767, and died in Leeds. Ontario, September 20. 1825: Luraney. b. April 26, 1769, died in Massachusetts December 18, 1778; Oliver (twin), b. November 14, 1771; died July 29. 1799: Olive (twin), b. November 15, 1771; Soloman, b. April 10, 1774; Cyrus, b. June 1, 1780, died April 17, 1788; Timothy, b. June 19. 1782; Selah. b. Nov. 21, 1783. died December 26, 17»3.

 

JABEZ EATON, Jr. (SIXTH GENERATION):—Oliver,   b.   November 15, 1794, died in Canada May 29. 1842; Cyrus, b.  June 24, 1796, in Massachusetts, and died in Hebron,   Wisconsin,   October 2], 1876; Sarah, b. October 18, 1798, died in Janesville, Wisconsin, October 18, 1885; Chauncey, born April 28, 1801, died in Leeds, Ontario; Hiram, b. December 1803, died in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; Almon Ransom, the father of our subject; Minerva, b. September 4, 1807, died in Cold Spring, Wisconsin, 1850; Jabez Leonard, b. December 29, 1809, died in Cold Spring, Wisconsin in 1847 (killed in a well); James Edson. b. April 7, 1812, died in Peoria, Illinois, May  30, 1888; Almira Julia, b. June 3, 1615, died in Chicago, August 9, 1882.

 

 

 

 

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History of Watertown, Wisconsin

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