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John Henry Eaton

Eaton, John Henry, 1790–1856, U.S. Senator (1818–29) and Secretary of War (1829–31), b. Halifax co., N.C. After being admitted to the bar, he practiced in Franklin, Tenn., and married Myra Lewis, a ward of Andrew Jackson. Eaton remained close to Jackson and completed (1817) the biography of Jackson begun by John Reid. He was appointed (1818) to the Senate to fill a vacancy and defended Jackson's earlier activities in Florida. Twice elected (1821, 1826) to the Senate, Eaton resigned in 1829 to enter the cabinet. The refusal of Washington society to accept Eaton's second wife (see Margaret O'Neill) helped to disrupt Jackson's cabinet and led to Eaton's resignation. He was governor (1834–36) of Florida, then was minister (1836–40) to Spain. His refusal to support Van Buren ended his political career.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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