A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
JAMES DAVID EASTON, whose death occurred December 30, 1909, was long an influential figure in banking enterprise in the City of Waterloo, judicial center of Blackhawk County, and by his sterling character and worthy achievement he made for himself inviolable place in popular confidence and esteem, having been one of the honored and influential citizens of Waterloo when his life closed, he having died at the age of fifty-eight years.
James D. Easton was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, November 19, 1851, and
was one of the eleven children of James and Christian (Youngson) Easton, who
passed their entire lives in Scotland, the subject of this memoir having been
the only member of the immediate family to establish residence in the United
States. The schools of his native land afforded James D. Easton his youthful
education and he was nineteen years of age when he severed the home ties and
came to the United States. In New York City he found employment in the A.
T. Stewart mercantile establishment, which at the time was the largest and
most famous concern of its kind in the entire United States. Upon resigning his
position with this house Mr. Easton became a commercial traveling salesman
for the firm of Jaffrey & Company, with which he continued his service until
he established his rsidence in Waterloo, Iowa, where he was engaged for some
time in the mercantile business, as a partner in the J. T. Collidge Company.
He finally effected the organization of the Waterloo State Bank, which was
subsequently coverted into the Waterloo National Bank, in which institution he
served first as cashier and later as president. That bank was merged with
the Blackhawk Bank and Mr. Easton and his friends organized the Iowa State Bank of Waterloo, with which he continued his executive alliance until his death. Mr. Easton was known for his exceptional business ability, particularly in connection with banking enterprise, and at all times he stood exponent of careful, reliable and conservative financial policies and methods.
The political allegiance of Mr. Easton was given to the Independent
Democratic party, and while he was reared in the faith of the First Presbyterian
Church he regularly attended and gave liberal support to the Congregational
Church in Waterloo, his wife being a member of this church. In the Masonic
fraternity Mr. Easton attained to the thirty-second degree of the Ancient Accepted
Scottish Rite, and in this division of the time-honored fraternity he took
deep interest, perhaps by reason of its having its origin in his native land.
He was affiliated also with the Knights of Pythias. His widow, whose maiden
name was Marion Louise Johnson, still maintains her home in Waterloo, Mrs.
Easton is a daughter of the late Emmons Johnson, an honored and influential
Iowa pioneer to whom a memorial tribute is paid in the preceding sketch, so that
further review of his career and the family history is not here required.
Mr. Easton is survived by one son, James Gordon Easton, who was born October 31, 1903, and reared in Waterloo, where he profited by the advantages of the public schools, he having later attended the Lawrenceville Preparatory School at Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and having later entered historic old Yale University, from which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1927, Ph. D. degree. For two years he was employed by the Continental Illinois National
Bank in the City of Chicago and is now with the Waterloo Savings Bank, established by his grandfather, Emmons Johnson.
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