While we believe in an educated ministry, we rejoice in the fact that in all the ages, the world has been turned upside down by men who knew naught but to preach Christ and Him crucified. Such a man was Elder Thos. Eaton. His early education was neglected. Yet by giving himself to prayer and study of God’s eternal truth, he became a most powerful preacher of the cross. He was born December 6, 1817, and died January 6, 1888. Early in the “fifties” he was converted and joined Shiloh Baptist church, Robertson county. The change was complete. If he had been active in the service of Satan, ever afterward he was zealous in the service of his new Master, Jesus Christ. On December 9, 1854, by request of Shiloh church, he was set apart to the full work of the gospel ministry. The names of the grand old pioneers, William W. Walker, B. Clark and William Clark, appear on his credentials as presbytery. To say that Elder Eaton was a great preacher of his day, is to put it mildly. Bro. J. J. Dotson, Jewett, Texas, who remembers him well, writes: “While he often terribly mutilated ‘the king’s English,’ yet few men possessed greater power in the pulpit. He was verily a preacher to the common people. Eternity alone will reveal the work of the old veteran.” In 1858 and 1859 he was missionary of Trinity River Association. A great part of his life was spent in the pastorate, mostly in Robertson county. The churches of Shiloh, Sand Prairie, Bethel (Leon county), Leona and a number of others, enjoyed seasons of prosperity while under the care of this faithful Shepherd. In church and associational meetings he did not useless talking, he never failed to come boldly to the front with all the power he could command when the Baptist cause was involved. His love for a friend was remarkable. Among those he loved best was the pioneer Baptist, C. L. Dotson. Bro. Dotson was buried by the Masonic fraternity. Elder Eaton was present and lead in prayer at the funeral. Many people were there, and it was the universal verdict that here was offered the most powerful prayer ever heard by this audience. A third of a century has passed and touching effect of that prayer. Bro. Eaton died as he lived, a faithful minister of the cross. He had faith in God’s word, and God blessed his ministry. His work is done. Beloved brother, farewell. Walk in peace the golden streets. Year by year will the coming ages harvest the fruits of they seed-sowing. Beloved brother, farewell!
Source: J. L. Walker and C. P. Lumpkin, History of the Waco Baptist Association of Texas (Waco: Byrne-Hill Printing House, 1897), pp. 296-298.