Joshua Eaton

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Sgt. Joshua Eaton (May 29, 1757 - October 7, 1777) was the only resident of Reading, Massachusetts, to die from enemy gunfire during the American Revolution. In early 1777 he enlisted from Reading's 3rd Parish into the 8th Massachusetts Regiment, under the command of Lt. Col. John Brooks standing in for Col. Michael Jackson who was recovering from an old right leg wound. His company was led by Capt. James Bancroft, also of Reading.

Eaton died on October 7, 1777, during the Second Battle of Freeman's Farm in the days immediately preceding the Battle of Saratoga, near present-day Schuylerville, New York. These battles were fought against British forces led by Gen. John Burgoyne. The Battle of Saratoga was a major victory for American troops, and a turning point in the American Revolution. In that battle American troops forced the surrender of some 6,000 British regulars, and won not only a decisive victory, but much needed guns and ammunition.

Near Eaton's homestead is now located Joshua Eaton Elementary School, one of five elementary schools in the town of Reading.


  • Bruce N. Morang, "The Day Joshua Eaton died . . ." The Reading Chronicle October 5, 1977
  • Reading 350th Book Committee At Wood End; Reading Massachusetts 1644 - 1994 a pictorial history (Wakefield, MA: Item Press, 1977)
  • Records of Birth, Reading Town Hall, Reading, Massachusetts
  • Eric Schnitzer, "Colonel Michael Jackson’s Regiment of the Massachusetts Bay Forces in the Service of the United States" Accessed September 22, 2015