Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day and the History Roots of Eaton

Memorial Day this year is missing the parades, flag ceremonies and large gatherings of the past, perhaps that is good.  The quiet of town cemeteries will allow us to think on what the service of the men who fought to keep our country the democracy that it is today, and are responsible for the freedoms that we all enjoy. So as our Memorial Day tradition goes, we are here today to honor all our veterans and as our custom... one special veteran.  I decided to choose a Revolutionary War Veteran.

There are so many Revolutionary War veterans who first settled Eaton and the vicinity that it would be hard to honor to choose one.  From Col. Joshua Leland who served under George Washington and purchased a large land tract that became Eaton, to the man he purchased it from…  Col. William Smith, and his wife Abigail Adams Smith (daughter of President Adams).  Smith himself having been the adjutant to George Washington, and who settled the area still called Smith’s Valley today.

Other notables include Major Sinclair who purchased the land owned by Col Leland, now with a historical marker for the Dunbar Farm.  Sinclair kept a tavern and stable on that property for travelers.

Others include Jonathan Bates who came to Eaton and purchase land just below the Old Town of Eaton Museum, his grave on the side of the road is marked today with a large bronze plaque on a boulder.  Bates had served with the well known Patriot Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys.

Others include Benjamin Morse brother of Joseph Morse, Major Elisha Haden, Nicholas Byer who had been a member of Burgoyne’s Hessians, Simeon Chubbuck, grandfather of Emily Chubbuck and many more. To choose one to honor was hard.

So I decided to go back in the history of our military men and choose a known historic name, Myles Standish. Yes, Myles Standish.

Mr. Standish was a direct lineal descendant of his illustrious namesake, Captain Miles Standish of the Mayflower, one of the most distinguished of the colonists who landed upon Plymouth Rock in 1620. 

Captain Standish had been hired as the military protection for the early colony, and in true military fashion Miles Jr. was a soldier as well.

Corporal Myles Standish was born in 1748 at Duxbury, Plymouth County Massachusetts, moving to Eaton where he died on July 22, 1818 at the age of 70.
Myles Standish, Naomi Standish, and Daniel Standish were members of the Second Baptist Church of Eaton, and appear in the US Census of Eaton, Madison County.
Myles, was always called Myles by all who knew him, and took up the farm once owned by Adin Brown near Pierceville, living there for many years. Standish was an energetic businessman who invested in the Skaneateles Turnpike, and he built and kept the first old turnpike gate, which stood in the early years opposite the famous Alderbrook gristmill.  It is so interesting to see both national and local history meld seamlessly together this way.

So on this unusual Memorial Day let us remember all of the men and women buried in this cemetery and in all cemeteries around the world, all those who fought for our country from the Revolution onward to today including our National Guards men and women fighting our new invisible enemy.

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