BENJAMIN HARRISON EATON, Colorado’s fourth governor was born in Coshocton, Ohio, on December 15, 1833. He graduated from West Bedford Academy and then taught school. Eaton moved to Colorado in 1859, where he became recognized as the most extensive farmer in the state. He served briefly during the Civil War with the New Mexico Volunteers under Colonel Christopher “Kit” Carson. Eaton entered politics in 1866, when he was elected justice of the peace, a position he held for nine years. He also held the office of county commissioner for six years, four of which he presided as chairman of the board. He was elected to the Territorial Legislature in 1872, and served one term in the Territorial Senate in 1875. Eaton won the 1884 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Governor of Colorado. During his tenure, he advocated the necessity of cultivating Colorado’s reservoirs and irrigation ditches, and he worked diligently to enrich the states’ farming communities. Also, a public land debate developed between homesteaders and stock raisers, which was settled by an executive order from President Grover Cleveland. Eaton did not seek a second term, left office, and returned to his farming interests. He later built one of the largest reservoirs and canals in Colorado, and constructed a mill at Eaton, a town that bears his name. Governor Benjamin Eaton died on October 29, 1904.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.