Eaton Family

Mary Thalia Eaton was born in  1801 at Stoke Damerel, Devon, England and died 23 March 1885 at Quarndon, Derbyshire. She and Thomas Hewitt were married 29 March, 1830 at St. Mary’s Church, Ilkeston, Derby. The wedding was conducted by Rev. Rich. Moxon, and the witnesses were Benjamin Hewitt (possibly father of the groom), Eliza Eaton (possibly sister of the bride, since the bride’s mother was not a customary witness), Thomas Cheetham and Thomas Eaton (possibly father of the bride).  Stoke Damerel is about 250 miles from Ilkeston. 

The family story about the Eatons is that Sir Geoffrey Eaton was the surgeon on Lord Nelson’s flagship. This does not seem to be true. The surgeon on Lord Nelson’s flagship, “The Victory” was Dr. Gillespie. Still, there are some interesting connections. There is a Sir James Eaton who was alive around the same time (1785-1857); he was a 19-year old signal midshipman on the Victory and raised the famous signal, “”England expects that every man this day will do his duty” in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. Unless he had fathered a child when he was 15 or 16, Mary Thalia Eaton could not be his. However, on the wedding license, Mary Thalia’s father is listed as Thomas Eaton, and it is barely possible that Thomas and James were brothers.

Sir James Eaton had an illustrious career with the British Navy, and was in Algeciras, Cadiz, St. Gildas, China, Java, and North Norway. He served finally on the Beaver where he received a commendation for a daring rescue:
“[Eaton] particularly distinguished himself by his intrepidity , on 24 Oct. 1813, in putting off in the jolly-boat, with the only three men out of the whole ship’s company who would volunteer, to the rescue, during a violent gale, of the crew of a Swedish vessell then on the point of foundering. Mr. Eaton [was] compelled to invalid in Aug. 1814 from a severe attack of rheumatism, brought on by over-exertion and exposure, with the loss also of the sight of one eye”. (O’Byrne, 1849).
James Eaton married in 1816, had two daughters and by 1839 he was living at Hill House, West Bromwich, Stafford, where he died in 1857 (Greenslade, 1976).

A number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Mary Thalia Eaton have had the middle name of Eaton;

Thomas Eaton Hewitt – son of Thomas Hewitt and Mary Thalia Eaton

edward-eaton-walker – son of Sarah Hewitt (grandson of Thomas Hewitt and Mary Thalia Eaton) 1879 – 1903

Geoffrey Eaton Milligan – son of Edith Hewitt (great-grandson of Thomas Hewitt and Mary Thalia Eaton) 1922-1942