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ZARAH A. EATON. This enterprising business man is successfully engaged in dealing in timber, and is also the proprietor of a well-appointed mercantile establishment at Varner, Missouri He is a native of Licking County, Ohio, where he first saw the light of day in 1829.
His parents, Joseph and Euincy (Curtis) Eaton, were born in the State of New York, the birth of the former occurring in 1796. They removed to Ohio in 1811, and in 1838 to Peoria County, Illinois, where Mr. Eaton died in 1857, and his widow in Woodford County, Illinois, in 1890. He was a Congregationalist in his religious belief, and she was a Methodist. Mr. Eaton followed farming throughout life, was a man of prominence and influence in the different localities in which he resided, and in politics was first an old-line Abolitionist and after a Republican. During the early part of his life lie taught school for some time. His father, Joseph Eaton, died in Licking County, Ohio, where he had farmed for many years. He was of English descent and his people came to this country over 200 years ago. Zarah Curtis, the maternal grandfather, who was born in New England, but was an early settler in Licking County, Ohio, was a farmer by occupation, and a minister of the Methodist Church for many years. He was one of the first to preach Methodism in the United States, and was a very eminent evangelist and an able expounder of the Scriptures. He was the father of the distinguished Federal general, S. R. Curtis, who commanded the Army of the Southwest during the Civil War. Zarah A. Eaton was the fifth of ten children born to his parents: Alvin, of Kansas; Marcutia died in Illinois, the wife of Henry Smith; Judson died in Peoria, Il1., in 1849; Orsemus died in 1849; Zarah A.; Samuel resides in Kansas; James resides in Kansas; Henry is a resident of Ripley County, Missouri; Sarah died in Kansas, the wife of Samuel H. Wright; and Amanda is the widow of a Mr. Hazelbeck, of Illinois.
Although Zarah A. Eaton’s father was a school teacher, his (Zarah’s) education was very much neglected, and his early life was spent on the frontier of Illinois. When quite young he developed considerable taste for hunting, and one day, when about fourteen years old, while following his favorite pursuit, came upon a drove of deer. He at once took aim but his gun would not fire. He made several attempts with the same result each time, and becoming disgusted he gave up trying and turned his thoughts to other matters. He began thinking of his lack of education, and then and there formed a determination to supply this deficiency. He revolved a plan in his busy brain, and upon his return home laid the matter before his elder brothers, and he soon won them to consent to his plan. They built a rude cabin on the farm, apart from the family residence, to which they repaired daily with their books, and each was teacher and pupil. By their united and continued efforts they in time became masters of the situation, and obtained good practical, common educations in this novel way. In 1856 Mr. Eaton was married in Peoria County, Illinois, to Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Wright. She was born in New York, and died in Varner, Missouri, in 1890, the mother of four children: Cora, wife of William Bontz, of New Mexico; Hattie H., wife of William Hauk, of Peoria, Illinois, Viola; and Thaddeus, of Doniphan, Missouri.
Mr. Eaton lived for about five years in Neosho County, Kan., but returned to Illinois, and in 1885 came to Varner, Missouri, where he has since made his home. He has been engaged in the timber business in one way or another nearly all his life, and is now engaged in handling ties and other timber. During his last residence in Illinois he operated a coal mine. He was once assessor of Peoria County, and was once county judge of Neosho County, Kan. Socially he is a member of Faithful Lodge No. 304, of the A. F. & A. M., at Fairdealing, and though formerly a Democrat in politics, and cast his first presidential vote for Pierce in 1852, he is now a stanch Republican. He is a shrewd, yet always honorable business man, and his success is due to his own efforts.