This venerable gentleman is one of the honored citizens of Bonners Ferry, having until recently been engaged in active mercantile life, wherein he achieved a good success, while also he has always stood well among the people and is highly respected and esteemed at this day.
William Eaton was born in Newark, New Jersey, on October 13, 1830, being the son of William and Eunice (Perce) Eaton, natives of Vermont and Massachusetts, respectively. They removed to Iowa in 1840, remaining until 1856, when they went to Missouri, where the father died the same year, aged fifty six. The mother returned to Iowa and lived until 1862, dying then, aged seventy-three. They were the parents of eleven children five of whom still live. William was educated in Iowa, having but scanty opportunity for schooling. At twenty years of age he started for himself in life's course. He hired to an Indian trader and operated in southwestern Iowa for one year, then returned to his home and remained four years. Going again to southwestern Iowa, he took raw land, made a good farm, and in 1877 sold it and went to Kansas, where he bought one-half section, put two hundred acres under cultivation and then sold it. He purchased a nine-thousand dollars stock of goods and for one and one-half years did business in Kansas and then came to Bonner's Ferry in 1888, bringing his goods with him. He at once opened a store and since that time he has been numbered with the leading merchants of the county until he retired in 1902.
In 1851 Mr. Eaton married Miss Caroline Green, and to them were born eleven children, of whom the following are still living: Orson, married and living in Utah; Amanda, wife of Walter Sweet, living in this county ; William, married and living in this county: Fannie, wife of William Halbrook. in Kansas:
Harry, married and living in Kootenai county, Addie, wife of William Hopper, in southern Idaho. In 1877 Mr. Eaton married Miss Amelia Cox and by this marriage he has three children : Robert C. ; Ambrosia, wife of Thomas Jones, in Bonners Ferry; Reta, living with parents and teaching school. Socially, Mr. Eaton is affiliated with the A. F. & A. M., and the I. O. O. F., at Bonners Ferry. In political matters he is liberal and in 1897 he was elected mayor of Bonners Ferry, and so well did he please the people in his administration that he succeeded himself three times.
In 1862 Mr. Eaton enlisted in Silver Creek Mounted Volunteers under Captain Darling, as second lieutenant, and he served until 1864. He was constantly fighting Quantrell, Price and Bealer. For this service he has never received a dollar from the government. He furnished his own clothes, horse and equipment and still holds his commission which shows he was never discharged.
In 1848 Mr. Eaton made a trip into Colorado and into the Smoky mountains and later into the Rio Grande valley, trading with the Indians.
– Page 910 “An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903 “