JOSIAH EATON died January 15, 1881, at his farm in section 12, Jackson township, Benton county. He was one of the pioneer residents of the county, having come here with his parents before 1860. Mr. Eaton was born in Westminster, Vermont, June 21, 1826, and was a son of Jeremiah and Olivia (Wright) Eaton. The Eaton family are descendants of Francis Eaton, a passenger of the Mayflower. Jeremiah Eaton and his wife moved to Illinois, locating at Wheaton, where they lived until their removal to Benton county, Iowa; they purchased land in Cedar township, where they lived until their deaths. They had four children, namely: Josiah, Romanzo, Cyreno and Lyveria. All are probably now deceased. Cyreno died at the age of thirty-two and Lyveria, at twenty-eight years.
Josiah Eaton was reared in Vermont, secured a good academic education and taught some time in Benton county. During his later life he followed farming, and became specially interested in bee culture. He made a special study of this and wrote a number of articles on the subject. Politically he was a Republican, though he did not care for public honors for himself; however, he was deeply interested in the public welfare and a strong abolitionist, having assisted materially in the escape of slaves. In religious belief he was a Universalist; his widow was baptized in the Presbyterian church, but is now of the Universalist faith.
Mr. Eaton married, in 1861, Eliza Watson, born near Paris, Jefferson county, Indiana, January 22, 1833, daughter of James and Betsy Ann (Shillideay) Watson, of Scotch-Irish descent and strict Presbyterians. The Watson family were originally from Virginia, and emigrated to Kentucky. Being abolitionists, they removed to Indiana, where James Watson and his wife died, he in 1855 and she in 1845. Mrs. Eaton came with her brothers and sisters to Benton county, Iowa, and they invested the proceeds of their father's estate in land in Benton county, in the vicinity of Mrs. Baton's farm in Jackson township. Mr. Watson and his wife had nine children, of whom three died young, and six came to Benton county. Mrs. Eaton is the only one surviving. When they came to Benton county there were ten in the party who drove overland from Muscatine, Iowa, including two married couples and their children. The material for their first homes was also hauled from Muscatine. Mrs. Eaton is living with her son James in Idaho.
Mr. Eaton and his wife had three children, namely: Mrs. J. W. Keller, James and Ella. Mrs. J. W. Keller, of Prosser, Washington, living on a fruit farm, has two sons, aged twenty-nine and seven years. She attended a private school and was a teacher in Benton county. James, who attended Tilford Academy, is located near King Hill, Idaho, on a ranch. He married Delia Long, and they have two children, aged fifteen and fourteen, respectively. Ella, who is a graduate of Tilford Academy and Drake University, has taught several years in the public schools of Iowa. She married R. E. By waters, of Scrabble, Virginia. Their home is near King Hill, Idaho, where they reside on a ranch. They have no children.