There is no doubt that the teacher is one of the most important forces in the progress of the world, and Rachel Caroline Eaton, familiarly known as “Miss Callie,” county superintendent of schools of Rogers county with residence in Claremore, a conscientious and progressive educator, deserves prominent mention in a work relating to northeastern Oklahoma and those who have contributed most to its development.
A native of Oklahoma, she is a daughter of G. W. and Nancy Elizabeth (Williams) Eaton. Mr. Eaton came to Indian Territory soon after the Civil war and Married Nancy Williams of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. In the early ’70s they located at the foot of Claremore Mound, five miles north of Claremore. There the father engaged in farming and stock raising, likewise operating a mercantile business in Claremore. He is now seventy-eight years of age and is living in retirement at Inola, Rogers County, where he owns a farm. The mother is deceased. She was a daughter of Merritt and Lucy (Ward) Williams, the father being a member of a fine old Boston family. Mrs. Williams was a descendant of “Grannie” Ward, a Cherokee, and a historical character among her people in Georgia. The Ward family were southern sympathizers during the Civil war and were driven from their home, returning at the close of that conflict.
During the war they lived in Texas and St. Louis, Missouri. It was while residing in Texas that Mr. and Mrs. Eaton met, being married soon after the war. G. W. Eaton is a native of Henderson, that state. To their union four children were born: James Calvin, who is a farmer and oil man at Oologah; Martha Pauline, who is the wife of J. M. York of Atlanta, Georgia; Joel Merritt, deceased; and “Miss Callie,” whose name initiates this review.
In the acquirement of an education Callie Eaton attended the public schools of Claremore, the Tahlequah Cherokee Female Seminary and Drury College, of Springfield, Missouri, graduating at Drury in 1895. Subsequently she attended the University of Chicago and specializing in history, has won both the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The title of her Master’s thesis was John Ross, a fifty page volume, and her Doctor’s thesis was John Ross and the Cherokee Indians, a two hundred and ten page volume. The latter was published by the Banta Publishing Company of Menasha, Wisconsin. It was highly commended by the department of history of the University of Chicago for its scholarly handling of historic sources and the sympathetic treatment of the Indian question.
Miss Eaton first taught in the Coowescoowee district schools then for a number of years at the Cherokee Female Seminary in Tahlequah and subsequently spent six years in teaching in the Nowata high school.
At the termination of that time she went to the University of Chicago for post graduate work and then for two years she was at the head of the history department of the State College for Women at Columbus, Mississippi. For one year she held a like position at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, after which she became dean of women and head of the department of history at Trinity University, Waxahachie, Texas. In 1918, because of the illness of her brother, Merritt, Miss Eaton accompanied him to Alamogordo, New Mexico, and after her return taught for one year in the Claremore high school. She then ran for her present position of county superintendent of schools on the democratic ticket and received the greatest majority of any one in the county, which was a great triumph in politics, it being an essentially republican year.
Miss Eaton is well fitted for the many duties devolving upon her in this important office, for she is a woman of unusual strength of character and possesses initiative, determination and executive ability. She has a host of friends who are proud of her success and are sincerely devoted to her interests. She is readily conceded a place among the foremost educators of Oklahoma.