Leroy Case moved from LaGrange, Indiana to Kingsville in the 1883 and bought Simon Wigle’s farm just north of town. In 1889, Case decided to put all his resources into building a hotel on property purchased from John Herrington on Division Street South. Building was completed in the spring of 1890 and the hotel was named “The Hiawatha.” The front of the hotel, with its two-storey balconies, faced Lake Erie and the entrance was off of Park Street. The hotel business must have proved difficult for Case because by January 1893, it was reported that his “liabilities are about $5,000 and normal assets $2,500.” By December that year, The Hiawatha was sold to Detroit businessman Theodore H. Eaton for $1,800 and the contents of the hotel were auctioned off. Eaton hired local contractor Thomas Jenner to convert to the hotel into a ‘summer cottage’ at a cost of $5,000 and ordered furniture from McDonald & Pearsall, of Kingsville. Eaton used this house as a summer residence until his death in 1910 and the home remained in the Eaton family until 1947.
Letter from Mr. Leroy Case.
To Kingsville Reporter.
Dear Sir: In communing with my spirit this evening and musing over the causes directly responsible for my leaving Canada and friends I loved so well, would say, I am forced to come to the conclusion that leaving was the only remedy left. Had I not been so sorely oppressed and so uncharitably dealt with among people who call themselves Christians in my day of adversity, I certainly would never have resorted the the (sic) means I did; but it was done in order to extricate myself from the scathing invectives that were thrown at me from every quarter, even from the people that I have many and many times befriended, and they were the first to deal the knock-out blow. I struggled hard and left no stone unturned to maintain the honest reputation and esteem in which I was once held (just) previous to my failure.
Instead of those that proffered the warmest friendship to me in my prosperity coming to my rescue in time of need, they threw me down and passed judgment on me, without as much as giving me a chance to vindicate myself. I was forced, not only as a duty to my family, but also to myself, to succumb under the powerful pressure of public sentiment, – more properly defined as Hypocrites, or “wolves in sheep’s clothing” – to take advantage of the only avenue left and beat a retreat to a country where, at least, I will get fair play and have a fighting chance to get on my feet again, which, if undertaken in Canada, would have proven a dismal failure. Kick a man when he is down, is your motto, as was so thoroughly demonstrated in my case.
In conclusion would say that I maintain to be an honest man to a marked degree, and if ever I get aide, will be only too proud to pay off any and every claim now standing against me by man, woman or child, in the County of Essex.
Chicago, Feb. 5th, 1895.
The Kingsville Reporter, February 15, 1895 p.8
Theodore Eaton Dead
Theodore Eaton, whose summer home is at this place, died quite unexpectantly in Detroit Sunday afternoon, weakness preventing him from recovering from an operation he underwent a few days ago. Heart failure is given as the direct cause. He was four years old when his father, also of the same name of Theodore H. Eaton, came to Detroit and founded the chemical and dye stuffs house which later took on the firm name of Theodore H. Eaton & Son of this business, Mr. Eaton became sole proprietor in 1888, upon his father’s death. His nephew, Rufus W. Clark, is a partner in the business. He is survived by the widow; a daughter, Margaret Montgomery, 19 years of age, and a son, Barion (sic) Clark, 17 years. Mr. Eaton was active in the patriotic and other societies, belonging to the Society of Colonial Wars, Sons of the American Revolution and Huguenot Society. He was a director in the Detroit Iron & Steel Co., an advisory director in the Security Trust Co., and a member of the Board of Commerce.
The Kingsville Reporter, November 10, 1910 p.1