Charles Aubrey Eaton

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For the poet, see Charles Edward Eaton.
Charles Aubrey Eaton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1925 – March 3, 1933
Preceded by Charles Browne
Succeeded by D. Lane Powers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by Percy Hamilton Stewart
Succeeded by Peter Hood Ballantine Frelinghuysen, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1868-03-29)March 29, 1868
near Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada
Died January 23, 1953(1953-01-23) (aged 84)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting place Hillside Cemetery, Plainfield, New Jersey
Nationality Canada (1868-1895)
 United States (1895-1953)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Winifred Parlin (m. June 26, 1895)
Relations Cyrus S. Eaton, nephew
William R. Eaton, nephew
Children Marion Aubrey Eaton
Margaret Evelyn Eaton
Frances Winifred Eaton
Charles Aubrey Eaton, Jr.
Mary Rose Eaton
Catherine Starr Eaton [1]
Alma mater Acadia University, Nova Scotia, B.A. 1890
D.D. 1907
Newton Theological Institution, B.D. 1893
McMaster University, M.A. 1896
Baylor University D.D. 1899
McMaster University LL.D. 1916
Profession pastor (1893-1919)
Religion Baptist

Charles Aubrey Eaton (March 29, 1868 – January 23, 1953) was a Canadian-born American clergyman and politician who led congregations at Natick, Massachusetts, 1893–1895; Bloor Street, Toronto, 1895–1901; Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, 1901–1909; and Madison Avenue, New York City, 1909.[1] Eaton served in the United States House of Representatives from 1925 to 1953, representing the New Jersey's 4th congressional district from 1925 to 1933, and (as a result of redistricting based on the 1930 Census) the 5th district from 1933 to 1953. He participated in the creation of the United Nations.[2]


Eaton was clergyman, journalist, U.S. congressman and a signatory to original United Nations Charter. He was born on a farm near Pugwash, Nova Scotia. The son of Stephen Eaton, a shipbuilder and farmer, and Mary Desiah (Parker) Eaton, he attended school locally and worked on his father's farm. From 1884 to 1886, he attended school in Amherst, Nova Scotia, where he was baptized and chose to become a Baptist minister. In 1890, he received a B.A. from Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Three years later he graduated with the B.D. from Newton Theological Institution, Newton Centre, Massachusetts, and was ordained a Baptist minister. In 1893, he served as a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Natick, Massachusetts. At Natick, he met Mary Winifred Parlin, daughter of local merchant and Civil War veteran William D. Parlin[3] and Mary Brown.[1] They were married June 26, 1895 and had six children. Also in 1895, he became a citizen of the United States and was named pastor at a Bloor Street church in Toronto. He received the M.A. from McMaster University in Toronto in 1896, was awarded a D.D. by Baylor University in 1899 and Acadia University in 1907, and an LL.D. from McMaster University in 1916.[1][2]

In 1924, Eaton was elected as a Republican from New Jersey to the 69th U.S. Congress and to the thirteen succeeding Congresses, serving until 1952. He was a steadfast opponent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.[4][5] However, his ability to work well with both Republicans and Democrats would prompt presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman to frequently invite "Doc" Eaton, as he was sometimes known, to the White House as an informal advisor.[6]

On June 26, 1945, appointed by Roosevelt, Eaton was one of the signers of the original United Nations Charter, the international organization’s foundational treaty, in San Francisco, California.[2][7] In 1947 he became chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs. With a Democratic president, Harry S. Truman and a Republican Congress, and with the influence of economic aid in foreign policy, the chairmanship was a powerful post. Eaton's leadership was at times strongly challenged by the neo-isolationist group in the House, but he achieved the passage of every piece of legislation that he sponsored, including continuation of United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), a program of aid to Greece and Turkey (the Truman Doctrine), and the Marshall Plan. The opposition to these programs centered in the House and Eaton was their chief defender. The passage of the Marshall Plan was a high point in Eaton's political career. President Harry S. Truman gave testimony in his memoirs to Eaton for his bipartisan support of American foreign policy.[2] Twenty days after his retirement from Congress, Eaton died in Washington, D.C. and was interred in Hillside Cemetery in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.[8][9]


In 1904, Eaton's commitment to evangelism got him arrested on the streets of Cleveland, Ohio, for persistently ignoring by-laws prohibiting street preaching. However, he wanted to extend his ministry beyond the churches, into which many of the spiritually needy never stepped. At the same time, Eaton was the preacher at Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, situated on Cleveland's "millionaire's row," and as a result he came to the attention of John D. Rockefeller, a summer resident of Cleveland who attended church there. They became lifelong friends, and this connection influenced Eaton's future path. It also influenced that of another well-known Canadian who went on to have an outstanding career in the United States, his nephew, Cyrus S. Eaton. He introduced him to Rockefeller in 1901, when Cyrus was still a university student. Cyrus went on to work for Rockefeller, and eventually become one of Cleveland's first citizens, and one of America's premier industrialists. Charles moved to North Plainfield, New Jersey in 1909, and started a dairy farm, while at the same time preaching to a prominent New York City Baptist congregation, the Madison Avenue Baptist Church. The area in which he lived separated from North Plainfield in 1926, and the Borough of Watchung, New Jersey was founded there. He lived there until his death.[8]


Eaton was sociological editor of the Toronto Globe (1896–1901), associate editor of Westminster (1899–1901), special correspondent for The Times, New-York Tribune, and Boston Transcript while in Toronto. He was editor of Leslie’s Weekly (1919, 1920), and (while director of labor relations at General Electric's National Lamp Works) editor of Light (1923–1924).[2]


  1. ^ a b c d The Eaton Family of Nova Scotia, pg. 136, by Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton. Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Murray Printing Company, privately printed, 1929. Accessed March 23, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Charles Aubrey Eaton". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1977. GALE|BT2310014222. Retrieved 2011-06-14 – via Fairfax County Public Library. (subscription required) Gale Biography In Context.
  3. ^ "National Park Service, Soldier Details, William D. Parlin, Accessed March 20, 2015
  4. ^ Obituary, Time (magazine), February 2, 1953. Accessed September 9, 2007.
  5. ^ "Clouts from Clergymen", Time (magazine), October 28, 1935. Accessed September 9, 2007.
  6. ^ Memoirs By Harry S. Truman: 1945 Year of Decisions. Garden City, New York: Doubleday (1955).
  7. ^ "Watchung was represented at signing of UN Charter by Charles Eaton, a former dairy farmer, clergyman and Congressman",, May 4, 2010. Accessed May 22, 2014
  8. ^ a b "C. A. Eaton is Dead. Ex-Congressman Strong Backer of Bipartisan Foreign Policy. Was Delegate to San Francisco in 1945. Entered House in 1924. Republican of New Jersey, 84. Did Not Seek Re-election in 1952". New York Times. January 24, 1953. Charles Aubrey Eaton, who served fourteen consecutive terms as a Republican member of the House Representatives from New Jersey, died here early today ... 
  9. ^ "Charles Eaton Dead". Associated Press in Lewiston Morning Tribune. January 24, 1953. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles Browne
U.S. House of Representatives
4th District of New Jersey

Succeeded by
D. Lane Powers
Preceded by
Percy Hamilton Stewart
U.S. House of Representatives
5th District of New Jersey

Succeeded by
Peter Frelinghuysen, Jr.