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Henry Smith Van Eaton

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Subject: United States congressional delegations from Mississippi, Illinois College, John R. Lynch, Phi Alpha Literary Society, Mississippi's 6th congressional district
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Henry Smith Van Eaton


Henry Smith Van Eaton (September 14, 1826 – May 30, 1898) was a U.S. Representative from the state of Mississippi.[1]

Van Eaton was born and raised in Anderson Township, Ohio. In 1848, he graduated from Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois, where he studied law. During this time, he became a founding member of Phi Alpha Literary Society.[2][3][4] While an active member, he served as president and recording secretary.[5]

In 1848, at 22 years, Van Eaton moved to Woodville, Mississippi, where he taught school. In 1855, he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Woodville, Wilkinson County.

In 1857, Van Eaton was elected district attorney. In 1859, he served as a member of the State House of Representatives.

When the American Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the Confederate States Army and served throughout the country, earning the rank of captain.[6] In 1865, following his service in the war, he resumed the practice of law in Woodville.

In 1880, he was appointed chancellor of the tenth Mississippi district. He was then elected as a Democrat to the Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth Congresses (March 4, 1883 – March 4, 1887). In 1887, he was appointed to the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, by President Grover Cleveland. He served as a member of a commission to examine and report upon the last completed portion of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1888.

Van Eaton died in Woodville, Mississippi, May 30, 1898. He was interred in Evergreen Cemetery.

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 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

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