William Bruce founded and platted the city of Eaton in 1806. Born in Virginia in 1762, Bruce relocated to Ohio in 1793. In 1806, he purchased nearly two thousand acres of land from the government for the founding of Eaton. Bruce, a Revolutionary War veteran, named the town for General William Eaton, a veteran of the Tripolitan War, a war fought between the United States and the Barbary States from 1800-1805. Some of Eaton's principal streets also took their names from other Tripolitan War veterans, including Somers, Decatur, and Israel. Bruce established the first sawmill and gristmill in Eaton and often distributed corn meal to the needy and deserving. He also made liberal donations of land for the benefit of the town, and sold many lots inexpensively or on partial payment to induce settlers to locate in the town. William Bruce died in 1830 and is interred in the Mound Hill Cemetery in Eaton.