Thomas Brown Van Eaton

Thomas Brown Van Eaton

Birth
Wisconsin, USA
Death 25 Aug 1862 (aged 33)
Grove Lake, Pope County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Pope County, Minnesota, USA
Memorial ID 55045935 · View Source
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Thomas was a pioneer. He was a Methodist minister and farmer who was murdered in an Indian uprising in Grove Lake, Minnesota, in 1862, six weeks after his son, Thomas Cobb, was born. Tortured and killed by Sioux Indians.

In 1986, Mack Allen Emmerson, grandson of Caroline Serepta Poyner Van Eaton-Emmerson wrote a story of her life dedicated to all her living descendants. This story is printed in Heirs of Our Lineage by Rosemary Clisby Swayne.....

The true story about what happened to Thomas Brown Van Eaton came from an itinerant fur trapper who witnessed the fight from his hiding place. The uncertain part is that it is not known whether Thomas was killed on the way to his homestead or afterwards when he supposedly went to warn a parish family that had not shown up at the stockade. (It was later determined that the missing family was murdered because they were not warned in time to flee Sauk Centre.).... The above-mentioned witness saw an Indian war party succeed in driving Mr. Van Eaton and his horse into a tamarack swamp where the horse bogged down and was unable to run any more. Mr. Van Eaton, with his back to a tree trunk, fought like a wild man until mortally wounded. He killed eight of the warriors before they killed him..... The Indians cut off a finger from Mr. Van Eaton's hands for each brave he had killed. Then instead of scalping him, they cut off his head, put it on a tall green sapling and rode off with it as a sort of guidon..... After the murder witness told his story, a search party found the headless body of Mr. Van Eaton right where he had said the fight occurred.... Several years later, the head was found and identified by Mrs. Van Eaton. There were two features of the teeth in the recovered skull that made the identification positive.... Mr. Van Eaton used to entertain guests by biting a pin in two. On one occasion, he attempted to bite a darning needle in two when no pin was available, and split one of his teeth. That tooth was still in the skull. Another abnormality present was the two rows of pre-molar teeth in the upper jaw because the deciduous pre-molars had not been shed. These two features made identification positive. The properly identified skull was buried with the rest of the body.... Where was the skull found? Some hunters found a circular path around the base of a very tall tree. This was an unusual place for a well-trodden path to be made. One of the hunters climbed the tree and found the human skull. It was taken from the top of the tree and eventually to Mrs. Van Eaton to identify. It was theorized by some that the "skull in the tree" became some kind of an Indian shrine to pacify the "great warrior in the sky" for an opponent who was able to take the lives of eight braves.... Later, a postal card was made of the hanging of seven of the leaders of the Indian uprising.



Inscription

VANETEN
1864

Gravesite Details It looks like they made a stamp and stamped the wet concrete and didn't take in to account the backward image. It was probably to much work in 1864 to change it. 1864 was probably when they found his head.

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  • Created by: Leslie MITCHELL Smith
  • Added: 16 Jul 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 55045935
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Brown Van Eaton (23 Jan 1829–25 Aug 1862), Find a Grave Memorial no. 55045935, citing Grove Lake Cemetery, Pope County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Leslie MITCHELL Smith (contributor 46822450) .