|Eaton Manor was the finest restaurant in Butler County, Ohio. Founded by Walter Paul Eaton circa 1947, it was located in the county seat of Hamilton. Manor, as an English term, refers to a small holding of land -- usually an estate owned by a single individual, who may pass the title on to his heirs. And so Eaton Manor had the connotation of a homeplace.|
Walter Eaton's restaurant, in a historic mansion he bought at 1892 Dixie Highway, featured steak and pork delicacies. That was a given, since Walter was a master butcher. He had engaged in the craft at an early age -- at the Heaton Street meat market of his father, William Brooks Eaton. Walter's first restaurant, Ye Ol' Stone House, was also on Heaton Street.
While he thought of himself as a businessman, Walter was rooted in the soil of his ancestral farm in St. Clair Township. The Four Mile Farm and Timber Company was centered at Walter's circa 1814 home, which still stands at the intersection of Eaton and Warwick roads. The farm was four miles north of the Great Miami River, which courses through Hamilton. In fields along the banks of Four Mile Creek, six generations of our family raised horses, cattle, sheep and other animals. Nurtured by the creek, as well as irrigation ponds dug by our ancestors, the land yielded tobacco, corn, hay and other crops. Also harvested were trees from the nearby woodlands, where flocks of guinea fowl roosted. The family would sometimes hunt and dine on the wild birds in preference to chicken. The farm's ponds furnished fish and frog legs for the dinner table. Aromas of breads, pies, cakes and cookies -- baked by the Eaton women -- also filled the farmhouse.
The first Eaton born in Butler County was Walter's paternal grandfather, James, in 1817. The first to live in Butler County was Ebenezer Eaton -- the father of James and great-grandfather of Walter -- who arrived from North Carolina in 1809.
The mother of Walter Eaton was Clara Slipher. Her great-grandparents, Stephen Slipher and Elizabeth Flenner Slipher, journeyed from Maryland to Cincinnati in 1802, a year before Ohio became a state. The Sliphers -- accompanied by Elizabeth's father and mother, Rudolph Flenner and Magdalena Kershner Baum Flenner -- moved from Hamilton County to adjacent Butler County in 1804, where they worked several thousand acres.
The family names of Walter Eaton's other prominent forebears include Wallace and Brooks, whose Butler County farmland stayed in our family's hands for 183 years, until 1987.
Walter Eaton lived in Ohio from his birth in 1886 until his death in 1965. His family's roots in America can be traced to 1683, when Walter's fifth great-grandfather, John Eaton, left his farm in the Welsh parish of Llanddewi in the shire of Radnor. One reason John and his wife, Joan, emigrated from Radnorshire was so they could worship God as they deemed fit. They were among the earliest Baptists, a branch of Christianity that endured persecution because it didn't conform to the state-sanctioned Church of England. By 1685, John Eaton had settled in the tolerant English colony of Pennsylvania -- near Pennypack Creek in Lower Dublin Township (now Philadelphia's Bustleton neighborhood). There, in 1688, he helped found Pennepack Baptist Church, which is one of the oldest houses of worship in the nation.
Our Eaton family line migrated from Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, to Rowan County, North Carolina, in the late 1700s -- and then, in the early 1800s, to Ohio.
The first Eatons probably hailed from England. As a name, Eaton originally signified someone who lived in a "river town." Eaton derives from the Latin phrase aqua-dunum, which literally means "water fort." This term can be found before A.D. 1060 as Ettuna -- the name of several places in England.
For centuries, regardless of where they lived, most of our ancestors were freehold farmers. That is, they owned the land that they worked. Walter Eaton was versed in every facet of farming, though he was more of a country gentleman. While employing tenant farmers to turn the land of his treasured estate, Walter pursued diverse business interests. He built cottages on his land along Four Mile Creek, which were rented to Hamiltonians seeking to escape the heat of summer in the days before air conditioning. But Walter's primary occupation was restaurateur and caterer in Hamilton and the outlying towns. Walter was aided in these endeavors by his family, particularly his wife, Isabel Boughen Eaton, and his daughters, Mary Clara and Ann -- all of whom helped out at the Eaton Manor, as well as at his adjacent Duck In café. Sold by Walter Eaton in the 1950s, the Eaton Manor remained open under different owners until 1986. It was demolished about a year later.
In addition to his diligence and entrepreneurship, Walter was known for his love of family. Our family tree is on this web site, which we have dubbed Eaton Manor as an indication of our love and respect for Walter, Isabel, Mary Clara and Ann.
Barrett John Brunsman and Jon Lybrook,
great-grandsons of Walter Paul Eaton
November 4, 2005
Special thanks to David and Karen Jane Schuler Lybrook for providing financial support for this website.
If you think you are a direct relation to any branch of our family, please contact us.