HISTORY OF MACOUPIN COUNTY, ILLINOIS
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS DESCRIPTIVE OF ITS SCENERY,
AND

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS.

Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879





Page 191

W. E. EASTHAM was born in Lincoln county, Kentucky, in 1828. The Easthams were originally from Culpepper Court House, Virginia. The family on the Maternal side emigrated to Kentucky long before the state was admitted into the union, and at the time when it was necessary to live in stations and block houses, in order to protect themselves against the Indians. They lived in what was then known as Carpenter's and McKinney's station. Edward Eastham, the grandfather of Wm. E., emigrated to Kentucky in 1791, one year after the state was admitted into the Union. James Eastham, his son, and grandfather of William E., was born in Kentucky. he married Nancy Helm, also a native of the same state. She was a daughter of George Helm, and was born in 1799. Ten children were born to thenm; six boys and four girls, seven of whom are living; all of them reached the age of maturity before dying. James Z. died from disease contracted while in the service, in the line of his duty during the late war. In 1851, James Eastham came to Macoupin county, and the next year he returned to Kentucky for the purpose of going in business at Louisville, and while there was taken with cholera and died the same year. He was buried by the Masonic fraternity, of which body he was during life an influential and honored member. His wife, and mother of the subject of this sketch, still resides in Girard, a hale hearty woman, of four-score years. Wm. E. learned the carpenter trade in Danville, Ky., and worked at it from 1847 to 1851, when he left Kentucky and removed to Otter Creek, Macoupin county, where he remained until 1853, when he came to Girard, and engaged in the drug and clothing business. He opened the first drug store in the town of Girard. He afterwards engaged in general merchandize and trading, until April, 1861, when he enlisted under the ten regiment bill, and on the 25th of May, 1861, he was mustered into service. He raised a company with his private means. It became a part of the 14th Regiment, Illinois vols., as company C. The regiment was commanded by Col. John M. Palmer.

Mr. Eastham was twice elected Captain of the company, but twice refused the honor, in order that it might be bestowed upon a friend. Liet. Eastham remained in the service nearly two years, when he returned home and engaged again in mercantile business and general trading until 1867, when he leased the Girard coal mines, and engaged in coal mining, for a time, since which time he has been settling up his business. As before stated, Mr. Eastham came to Girard in 1853. He has been more or less prominently identified with every enterprise having for its object the increase of the material wealth of his town or locality. He built some of the first houses in the town, and was also a member of the first town board, and assisted in drafting the first ordinance for the village of Girard. In 1877 he was elected to represent his township in the Board of Supervisors, and in 1878, was re-elected to the same position. While in the Board he was an influential member. He was chairman of the committee on funding Court House Bonds, and also chariman of the Judiciary Committee. He by his counsel and advice aided greatly in settling the Court House question. In offices of trust he is well known for his honesty and probity of character, and although a man of strong attachements for his friends, yet in matters of public concern he sacrifices personal friendships when they conflict with the strict line of his duty as a public servant. In politics he is an unswerving democrat, but was up to the breaking out of the war a Henry Clay Whig, when he joined the democratic party, and since 1860 has voted that ticket without a scratch. Mr. Eastham is a kind-hearted gnetleman. All who come in contact with him, admire his sterling qualities.


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