ARTHUR W. H. EATON – WHY NOT AN ANNIVERSARY PLAQUE? (August 31/10)

Driving along Main Street in the eastern end of Kentville, it’s easy to miss the grave of one of Kentville’s distinguished citizens. A relatively modest stone in Oak Grove Cemetery marks the resting place of Dr. Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton; it stands on a hill overlooking Main Street and few passersby realize it is there, or that Oak Grove is the resting place of an outstanding historian.

Dr. Eaton was laid to rest in Oak Grove Cemetery the summer of 1937; he had passed away in Boston on July 15, at age 87. At his request, little fuss was made over his funeral. He had made his own funeral arrangements years earlier and even had the stone in place awaiting the final dates. Only a few relatives and friends were present when his ashes were interred in Oak Grove near his brother, Frank.

His passing, while certainly newsworthy, was given little coverage by The Advertiser. “The ashes of Dr. Eaton buried at The Oaks,” ran a heading in the paper, followed by a few words on his death.

As we well know, Eaton compiled the History of Kings County. This was his greatest work. In a lifetime devoted to the church, to historical and religious writing, his research resulted in many books and essays. However, none came close to the depth and importance of his county history. Referring to this work and other books by Dr. Eaton, Acadia University Archivist Wendy G. Robicheau notes that they “have withstood the test of time and are an important resource for anyone studying local community and family history.”

Ms. Robicheau further assess Eaton’s Kings County history as a “monumental work,” a work that “continues to be on the ‘must consult list’ for genealogists and historians.”

This says it all and few will disagree with Robicheau’s assessment. Eaton’s Kings County history is indeed a monumental work and it happens that this is the centennial year of its publication.

Eaton’s history was first published in 1910. I mention this with the hope the year won’t pass with the anniversary unmarked, that the anniversary of the publication will be observed. Perhaps a plaque with a dedication to Dr. Eaton, placed on his grave site, is a suitable way to commemorate the anniversary.

Something should be done to mark the 100th year of Eaton’s history. Hopefully, the various historical groups in Kings County will come up with at least a plaque that’s suitably inscribed. I volunteer my assistance to any group willing to take up this challenge. For starters, I can contact potential financing sources and see how thing go from there. Anyone wishing to donate to an Arthur W, H. Eaton centennial plaque fund should contact the Kings Historical Society.

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