|Date of Birth||June 11, 1865|
|Place of Birth||Carlisle, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Dr. John Murray Eaton (brother); Blake Scott Eaton (nephew)|
|Trade / Calling||Nurse|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||No. 11 Canadian General Hospital|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Army Medical Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||14/05/1916|
|Age at Enlistment||50|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain and Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||06/09/1953|
|Age at Death||88|
|Buried At||Greenwood Cemetery, Burlington, Ontario|
Nursing Sister Margaret Eaton was 50 years old when she joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps in May 1916. She served for four years at several hospitals in Great Britain and Canada.
Margaret was the daughter of Wesley Ferguson Eaton and Margaret Markle of East Flamborough Township, Wentworth County, Ontario. She was born on 11 June 1865 in the village of Carlisle. Her grandparents, John Eaton and Catherine Vanduzen, had settled in that part of Upper Canada in the late 1700s. John fought in the War of 1812 and Catherine was a second cousin to Laura Secord. John also founded the Methodist Church in Carlisle and served as a preacher. His family tree includes Francis Eaton, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 on the Mayflower.
Margaret’s parents were married in 1840 and she was likely the youngest of their children. Her mother died when she was a baby and her father remarried in 1866. Margaret was not listed with her father in any census and she may have been raised by relatives or away at boarding schools. She was close to her brother John Murray Eaton, who was born in Carlisle in 1857. He became a physician and settled in the town of Carberry, Manitoba, where he served as mayor for several years.
Margaret trained as a nurse and when the 1901 census was taken she was living in Carberry with John, his wife Emma and their three children: Alice, Bessie and Blake Scott. She was working as a nurse and may have been assisting her brother in his practice. At the time of the 1911 census she was matron at the tuberculosis sanatorium in Ninette, Manitoba. Later that same year Margaret and her brother John travelled to Cuba and returned in December via New York. After that she was a school teacher in the Parish of St. Peter’s, Manitoba and matron at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Kenora, Ontario. In June 1915, while living in Kenora, she became a charter member and Worthy Matron of the local Wenonah Institute Chapter, a charitable masonic organization.
Margaret signed up with the Canadian Army Medical Corps in Winnipeg on 14 May 1916, at age 50. She passed through Kenora on her way to the east coast and embarked for England on 19 May. She signed her Officer’s Declaration in London on 2 June, giving her age as 38 (year of birth 1878). Two weeks later she was posted to Moore Barracks Hospital, also known as No. 11 Canadian General Hospital, and she served there for a year and a half. On 4 December 1917 she was transferred to the Canadian Army Medical Corps Depot to await her return to Canada. She left a few days later, sailing from Liverpool on the SS Justicia and arriving in New York on 19 December. From there she returned to Winnipeg where her brother John and his family were living. John had enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps as a doctor in 1915 and he returned from England a month earlier, in November 1917.
After a period of leave Margaret was back at work as a Nursing Sister in January 1918 and she served at two of the military hospitals in Winnipeg, Tuxedo Park and Deer Lodge, where she was matron. Her brother John was posted to the British Canadian Recruiting Mission in the U.S., working there from February to December 1918. He continued to serve with the C.A.M.C. on his return to Winnipeg. He was discharged on demobilization in March 1920 and Margaret on 31 May 1920.
At the time of the 1921 census Margaret was living with John and his wife in Winnipeg. When John retired they moved to Toronto and Margaret became part-owner and manager of a nursing home. She worked there with her nephew, Blake Scott Eaton, who was a pharmacist. Margaret passed away in Toronto on 6 September 1953, at age 88, and her funeral was held four days later. She’s buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Burlington, Ontario.
Margaret is commemorated on a family memorial marker in Carlisle Cemetery. A bronze plaque on the marker lists the names of 28 members of the Eaton-Vanduzen family who served in the First World War, including Margaret and her brother Dr. John Murray Eaton.
By Becky Johnson
Photos show the Eaton-Vanduzen family memorial marker in Carlisle Cemetery; courtesy of Marika Pirie.