publications

Eaton Brothers

By the time Webster Eaton (1839-1907) arrived in Nebraska in 1872, he was already an experienced newspaperman. A native of Brighton, New York, Eaton served in the Union Army for three years during the Civil War. He established the first newspaper in Montgomery County, Iowa, the Red Oak Express, with the first issue off the press on March 28, 1868. Little more than a year later he moved to Kearney, Nebraska, where he edited and published the Kearney Daily Press. He sold that paper in 1875 when he was appointed to run the U.S. Land Office in Bloomington, Franklin County.



In May 1880 Webster Eaton bought the Lincoln Globe, a weekly paper which he turned into a four-page dailyand operated as editor and publisher. A brother, O. V. Eaton (1843-1905), soon joined him in Lincoln, and the two cooperated to found the Lincoln Pottery Works, constructed during the winter and spring of 1881. O. V. as a young man had learned the potter’s trade in Rochester, New York. He followed Webster to Iowa, working in potteries in Red Oak and Hamburg.



However, as the pottery factory at Lincoln took shape, the Globe declined. Webster Eaton took a partner and co-editor in January 1881. In July he gave up his interest entirely, and the paper soon ceased operation. Webster continued to be involved in the Lincoln Pottery Works, but in 1882 he also accepted employment in Lincoln’s main post office, describing himself in later years as a journalist and entrepreneur.



The Lincoln Pottery Works during the 1880s and early 1890s was largely under the supervision of O. V. Eaton, who lived near the factory site on South First Street. The two brothers shared an interest in the Republican Party, and as the pottery works became well established, O. V. entered local politics. He was elected to the Lincoln School Board for the 1892-93 term and after a year off in 1894, served continuously until 1898.



However, the Eatons were unable to face the challenges of economic depression during the 1890s and rising competition from new kinds of containers. A business loan obtained in 1896 was not repaid in full, and in 1901 the company was declared to be in default. A sheriff’s sale on June 20, 1901, sold the company for $860 and closed all claims against it.



The company may have remained in operation to sell existing stock after the sheriff’s sale, although it could not have lasted long. The factory building was gone by 1905. O. V. Eaton continued to live nearby, remaining active in community affairs. He died in 1905 and his brother, Webster, died in 1907. For more information on the Eatons, see “The Lincoln Pottery Works: A Historical Perspective,” by Peter Bleed and Christopher M. Schoen, in the Spring 1990 issue of Nebraska History.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society RG2955.ph).   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast.

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.