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Fannin County TXGenWeb
The Ladonia Historical Preservation Society
Ladonia People - George & Mary Eagleton
Photographs by Debby Crofford

George Eagleton & Mary Ethie Eagleton

Memoir's & Photographs of Rev. Eagleton

Eagleton Family - Among the First Families

His father, Rev. William Eagleton D.D., and mother Margaret Ewing were born, reared, and married in East Tennessee. Shortly after they crossed the Cumberland Mountains and settled in Murfreesboro. They had 9 children, George Ewing being the 7th born.. His early years spent with his family, some 5 months out of 12 in the school room. He attended Union University at Murfreesboro graduating with the second class in 1851 the yougest pupil of 8. At the outbreak of the war with Mexico, he was seized with a strong desire to enlist in the service. He weighed the opposition of his parents, the danger of his health [ suffering from chills and fevers quite often ] from the climate, his future, and his lack of preparation. He then decided to remain in school .Studying Hebrew and theology for a year under his father. He received licenseure, and 2 days later left Murfreesboro to complete his theological course at Union Seminary, N.Y. Appearing before the faculty with his college diploma and church certificate from Shiloh Presbytery, he entered the senior class and passed his final exams on May 7, 1854. He met Col. D.D. Foute and his daughter Ethlinda Foute in Cades Cove, TN. and on Jan. 23, 1856 they married. He continued to have the chills, fever, and sick headaches that plagued him throough his life. He continued to preach and teach forever wandering from town to town. He did a lot of evangelistic work with negroes, but by no means was an advocate of equality. Instead, he believed it was well for the community and the individual to have them Christianitized. He defended the inaugural of President Lincoln believing it meant peace, only to find that he made a declaration of war against the south. He stood by the south saying, this resolution is forced upon us, war is inevitable. Let it come, we must fight. The call of war being souded, the Governor of TN. called for fighting men. On Nov. 26th, G.E. Eagleton volunteered as a private soldier to aid in driving the invader from southern soil. He never failed to avail himself with nightly prayer meetings, Sunday services, nursing the dying, and all the while, doing regular military duty such as keeping guard, cooking, and cutting wood. Never strong, his health began to fail, and again the chills and headaches came. He felt those crying the loudest for secession, were now leaving as deserters. He was elected Chaplain of the 44th regiment of Tennessee Volunteers. When in Bowling Green, KY., he took 12 days leave to see his family and settle his affairs. He returned to service and retreated towards Nashville and heard of the surrender of Fort Donelson, Nashville is given up next. They march through Murfreesboro seeing familiar faces all the while flying above them their flag emblazoned with "Liberty or Death". He becomes ill again due to the physical hardships of war and knowing he will be captured, him and his brother John acquire a buggy and move on to Shelbyville accross the state line through Athens, ALA. moving southward until they rejoin their regiment in Corinth, MS. Then comes the battle of Shiloh. Although they had fought and driven the enemy back, Gen. Buell had to reinforce and now the weary confederates move back to Corinth. Such a life proved to be too much for his usefullness and health being sickly so much of the time, so he sent in his resignation, and was approved and discharged June 2, 1862. He finds his way back to Murfreesboro only to find betrayal by the negroes. Yankee Cavalry surround him, but a sudden dash of Gen. Forrests Cavalry a week later, allows his to take his family to his in-laws in East TN. Constantly antagonized by Union sympathizers by whom the country was controlled, he vowed to tenfold this yankee despotism and teach his children forever to hate it. He unexpectantly meets up with his aged parents refugees from their own home.Besides his own 4 children, there were now in his household his father, mother, sisterAngie, brother John, and 3 others of his family and the servants Lucy, Sam, and Sarah. While taking a position at the New Market Church he found himself being harrassed by the yankees using his church for guard house. They raided and pillaged the chairs, tables, pulpit, bibles, and even took the bell ropes. In other areas the churches suffered even more as the yankees cut down the shade trees, burned the fences around the churches and grave yards. They tore up the head and foot stones to make fireplace jams to keep them warm, and made wagon yards in the cemeteries. The Union sympathizers in East TN. were many and being told to leave, and not doing so, I was stripped to my pants and inflicted upon my breast and back the bloody stripes twice falling to the earth by the stroke of a club inflicting wounds above both eyes, the scars of which I take to my grave. My congregation was told anyone visiting or showing sympathy to me would get the same treatment. Finally convinced to leave for my own sake, I traveled for months looking for a safe haven, and received word of the downfall of the Confederacy. At my parents homeplace, I find only a few books and manuscripts. Everything ruined by the vandal yankee foe. May God have mercy on the souls of northernmen who heap war on old men, women, and children, who desecrate, pillage, tear down and burn, who desecate tombs and bones of the dead to steal any and everthing. The underdeveloped west is being rapidly settled, ARK. and TX. are calling to him . For 16 yrs. he has been a minister, 13 of which spent in wedlock, and yet since he left his fathers roof as a seminary student, he has never known a home of his own. He has lived a life of toil, hardship, and exposure and it is showing him the effects of age, so he decides this is where he needs to go. He accepts a position at Mt. Holy, ARK. and he purchases his own home and 330 acres. He erected a school and dedicated it Quachita Seminary, always favoring to educate his children. After accepting a call to Fannin County, he sold off his home, school, and farm, auctioned off his surplus possesions and left for Ladonia reaching it Jan. 3, 1884. He had charge of 4 churches, Ladonia, Cooper, Hoiney Grove, and New Hope. To eke out a slender salary he purchases the Ladonia School buildings, and organizes the Ladonia Academy. He shared the Cumberland Presbyterian Church but by Dec. 26, 1890, their own church was finished, himself paying $500.00 of his own money. In Ladonia he became a silent partner in a grocery, loan and exchange assoc. of which he was director, took shares in a banking enterprise, president of Ladonia Auxiliary Bible Society, Chaplain of the Masonic Ordr,and even bought land in FLA. After preaching on Sunday Apr. 9, 1899, while boarding a train home he fell and crushed his hip. With help he managed to make it home and died there Apr. 12, 1899. His funeral services were brief and simple.

The last 44 yrs. of his life he has:
letters written - 5,688
manuscript sermons - 160
contributions to periodicals - 262
skeleton sermons - 819
meetings attended - 503
sermons preached - 4,070
churches served - 29
members received - 590
baptisms - 380
church officers ordained - 99
couples married - 138
sabbath schools organized - 12
churches organized - 7
months of teaching - 122
months in C.S.A. - 36
maonths as colporteur - 6
degrees as a mason - 12
miles of travel - 114,010

He lies to the north of the burial ground, in the north part of the lot he purchased. Midway on either side stands a huge oak glorious in repose, with broad branches suggestive of strength, grandeur, and protection. It is in the Odd Fellows section of the Ladonia Cemetery. 

View Tombstone
View Obituary

Continue to Part II of the Eagleton Story


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