Isaac I. Eaton
Isaac I. Eaton, now chief engineer of the New York Life Building, Chicago, was prominently identified with early marine affairs connected with the Great Lakes, and is widely and favorably known both on land and water. He was born in Charleston, N. Y., in 1829, a son of Isban and Belinda (Hillman) Eaton, who were born, reared and married in the Empire State, and at an early day became residents of Charleston. They afterward became pioneer settlers of Cleveland, Ohio, where the father followed the carpenter's trade until life's labors were ended. One of his sons became a member of the well-known firm of Eaton & Dean, whose car works were located in Detroit, Michigan, and who died in February 12, 1869.
Reared in Cleveland, Isaac I. Eaton learned his trade there, and first sailed out of that port in 1842 on the propeller Oneida, belonging to Pease & Allen, of Cleveland; she was lost on Lake Erie with all on board. He was next oiler on the propeller Potomac for one season; was second engineer on the propeller Cuyahoga in 1854, and in 1859 became chief engineer of her, remaining on that vessel for six seasons and running her one winter between Milwaukee and Grand Haven, Mich. After leaving the Cuyahoga, in 1862, he came to Chicago for Capt. Willie M. Egon, for whom he brought out two tugs, and then took one tug to Buffalo. He fitted up and took the tug Escanaba to Green Bay for the Chicago & Northwestern railroad, and on her engaged in tugging from Green Bay to Escanaba until 1865, when he became engineer of the tug O.B. Green, of Chicago, for one season. In 1866 he was on the propeller Ottawa, belonging to Martin Ryerson, and plying between Chicago, Muskegon, and Grand Haven. In company with others, Mr. Eaton built the tug Louie Dale, in Buffalo, and was engineer of her for six years, plying on the Chicago river. In 1871 he was made chief engineer of the Vessel Owners Towing Company, and for four years had charge of all of their boats, which he would fit up when they were brought out. He had charge of the boilers at the old Exposition, of Chicago, for four years, and then made chief engineer of the building belonging to Martin Ryerson, after which, in 1882, he accepted the position of chief engineer of Central Music Hall, remaining there until entering upon his present duties as chief engineer of the New York Life Building December 1, 1893.
In Berlin, Wis., Mr. Eaton was married in 1859, to Miss Mary Dunham, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and to them have been born two children: William H.; and Arthur J., cashier for Parks & Wilkinson Hardware Company, Chicago.
Mr. Eaton was one of the prime movers and assisted in the organization of the Marine Engineers Association in 1867, the first meetings being held at the corner of Kinzie and Wells street, in the Newberry Building. He also belongs to Robert Fulton Lodge No. 28, Stationary Engineers; and Garden City No. 202, Royal Arcanum. He is a prominent Mason, holding membership in Cleveland Lodge No. 211, F. & A.M.; Washington Chapter No. 43, R.A.M.; Chicago Commandery No. 19, K.T.; and Siloam Council; and he is a life member of each with the exception of the Commandery.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.