William Bruce, of Scottish ancestry, was born in Virginia in 1762. He served as a Private in the Revolutionary War and fought at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. In 1806 Bruce explored the area along St Clair’s Creek, located a site to settle, purchased almost two thousand acres, and founded Eaton, Ohio. He reserved the creek, and its adjoining land, for himself and his heirs, and marked the falls as sites for his gristmill and sawmill. He specified that if the land were not used for those purposes, it would remain a common area. He laid out wide streets and neat building lots and generously gave public lots for a courthouse, school, churches, and burial ground. When the Legislature created Preble County two years later, Bruce led a successful campaign to name Eaton as the County Seat. William Bruce Commission Sculpture.