John Eaton (general)

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For other people named John Eaton, see John Eaton (disambiguation).

John Eaton, Jr.
Born December 5, 1829 (1829-12-05)
Sutton, New Hampshire
Died February 9, 1906 (1906-02-10) (aged 76)
Washington, D.C.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch Union Army
Rank Brevet Brigadier General
Battles/wars American Civil War

John Eaton, Jr. (December 5, 1829 – February 9, 1906) was a U.S. Commissioner of Education and a brevet brigadier general during the American Civil War.

Early life[edit]

Eaton was born in Sutton, New Hampshire,[1] and attended Thetford Academy in Vermont. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1854, studied at Andover Theological Seminary, and was ordained in 1862 to the Presbyterian ministry.

Civil War[edit]

Eaton served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. In November 1862, after Lincoln's preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered units under his command, headed by Eaton, to incorporate contraband African American slaves into the Union war effort, giving them clothes, shelter, and wages for their services. [2] In November 1863, Grant appointed him as the Superintendent of Negro Affairs for the Department of the Tennessee; there Eaton supervised the establishment of 74 schools. In 1863, Eaton was made colonel of the 63rd Regiment of Colored Infantry, and, in 1865, he was advanced to brevet brigadier general.

Postbellum career[edit]

General Eaton edited the Memphis Daily Post in 1866–1869. He was appointed United States Commissioner of Education in 1870 and served with great efficiency in the Bureau of Education. Commissioner Eaton also reorganized the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.

In 1886–1891, Eaton was president of Marietta College, and, in 1895, he was appointed president of Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska. In 1898, he became inspector of education in Puerto Rico and played a role in the centralization of its educational system. His educational writings dealt largely with the education of freedmen. Eaton also wrote a history of Thetford Academy. He died in Washington, D.C., where John Eaton Elementary School is named for him.

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 


  1. ^ Eicher, p. 222.
  2. ^ Flood, p. 133.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Henry Barnard
United States Commissioner of Education
Succeeded by
Nathaniel H. R. Dawson
Academic offices
Preceded by
President of Marietta College
Succeeded by
Preceded by
President of Sheldon Jackson College
1895 –
Succeeded by