Eaton is a city in, and the county seat of, Preble County, Ohio, United States; it is located approximately 24mi (38km) west of Dayton, and is part of the Dayton metropolitan area. The population was 8,375 at the 2020 census, down 0.4% from the population of 8,407 at the 2010 census. Eaton's sister city is Rdental bei Coburg (Germany).
Eaton was founded and platted in 1806 by William Bruce. The village derives its name from Gen. William Eaton (17641811), 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. In addition to the city of Eaton and the county of Preble, various streets in Eaton (Barron, Decatur, Israel, Wadsworth, and Somers) were named in honor of heroes of the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War.
The town grew quickly following its establishment. In 1846, the town first had 1000 inhabitants. This growth was primarily derived from the town's location at the strategic junction of two turnpikes. In 1849, Eaton was the site of a cholera outbreak. About half of the inhabitants fled; of the remaining 600 people, 120 died.
In June 1859 a fire in Eaton destroyed thirteen of its primary business establishments. The total loss was estimated at $40,000 to $50,000. Caused by incendiaries, the fire scorched the courthouse and left it a brown color. The disaster was first reported by the Cincinnati Commercial.
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