In March of 1803, Ohio was admitted to the union as the seventeenth state of the United States. In Preble County, New Lexington was platted in 1805. William Bruce, who emigrated from Kentucky in search of a site for his gristmill, recorded Eaton's first plat on 233 lots along Seven Mile Creek. He chose this site because of its potential for water power.
Eaton was named for William Eaton, the U.S. Consul at Tunis, who led a diverse army in a harrowing march from Egypt to Tripoli to meet the U.S. Naval forces during the Tripolitan War against the Barbary Pirates in 1805. Interestingly, Barron, Decatur, Israel, Wadsworth and Somers Streets in Eaton were all named in honor of other heroes of the Tripolitan War.
Preble County was founded on March 1, 1808, from parts of Butler and Miami Counties. All of Preble County's townships (Dixon, Gasper, Gratis, Harrison, Israel, Jackson, Jefferson, Lanier, Monroe, Somers, Twin and Washington) were designated between 1808 and 1824. The State legislature granted Eaton's incorporation in 1836.
The Eaton and Hamilton Railway Company began operations in 1852. It later became the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton System, and still later a part of the Pennsylvania Railway Company. The railway remains today as a major component of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad. Although many other railways traversed the county during this time period, the Norfolk and Southern is the only one that remains in operation today.
Electric power was introduced to Eaton and the rest of the County by the Eaton Electric Light, Power, and Ice Company in the 1880's, and the telephone followed in 1898.
† Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, City of Eaton Ohio Comprehensive Plan, 2003, www.cityofeaton.org, accessed October, 2020.