ERNEST L. EATON – THE “OTHER EATON HISTORIAN” (June 24/08)

While he didn’t write on as grand a scale as Arthur W. H. Eaton did in his history of Kings County and other works, the late Ernest L. Eaton was no less a historian.

I feel that Ernest Eaton’s status as a historical researcher and writer should be recognized during Planter celebrations later this year. No other historian besides his distant cousin Arthur delved into Kings County Planter history as much as Eaton did. Immediately comes to mind his ground- breaking work on determining the exact location of the original Planters grants in Kings County.

The documents laying out the original grants in the Cornwallis Township of Kings County had been lost – folklore has it that they “mysteriously disappeared” or had been destroyed in a fire. It was Ernest Eaton who with a fine bit of research mapped the location of every grant. In effect, Eaton had recovered the long lost plan of the Cornwallis Township farm lots. His findings, which included a detailed survey plan, were published in 1981 in the Nova Scotia Historical Quarterly and are an important contribution to Planter history.

Among Eaton’s other historical papers that are worthy of note is a study of the dyke lands published in 1980 in the Nova Scotia Historical Quarterly. Devoted to the evolution of the dykes beginning with the French period, the paper is a mini history that concludes in the late 20th century. For anyone interested in the dykes and how they evolved during the Planter period, this is an invaluable overview.

Eaton also wrote about shipbuilding in Kings County in the Planter period. As well, he was interested in the Acadian cellars found on and around his farm in Upper Canard, and I believe from talking with him that he examined more than a few. He contributed several articles on the Acadian cellars of Upper Canard to The Advertiser.

Some of Eaton’s research on the Planters was never published. Fortunately, this is being remedied. The Eaton family website contains many of Eaton’s unpublished historical works; it is updated constantly and should eventually contain most of his historical writing.

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