John L. Eastman

John L. Eastman was born in 1836 in New York, the son of Hester (b. 1794).

New Jersey native Hester married and settled in New York where she and her family resided for some years before moving west.

By 1860 John, who was unable to read or write, had left New York, possibly with his family, and settled in western Michigan where he was employed as a farmer, working for and/or living with Henry Young in Crockery, Ottawa County. That same year his mother Hester was living with her son Robert and his family in Bushnell, Montcalm County. Also living with her was another son (?) Samuel. (Both Robert, born around 1820, and Samuel, born around 1821, were natives of New York and were living in Salem, Washtenaw County, Michigan in 1850.) In 1863 John reported his mother as living in Bushnell, Montcalm County.

John was 25 years old and still residing in Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was reported as a company cook in September and October of 1862. He was shot in the right thigh on November 27 or 30, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia, and admitted from the field on December 5 to Third Division hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, with a gunshot wound to the right thigh, the “ball entering about posterior of middle with upper third passing outward anterior to femur” and exiting near the entrance. He was hospitalized from December of 1863 through May of 1864, was furloughed for 30 days on March 4, 1864, and returned to the hospital on April 7. On May 3 he was transferred to West Philadelphia hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he was discharged for his wounds.

After his was discharged from the army John eventually returned to Michigan.

John married Ohio native Charlotte “Lottie” Caldwell (b. 1846), on July 2, 1864, at Alma, Gratiot County, Michigan, and they had at least five children: Ida L. (b. 1865) and Alice (b. 1867), Geneva (b. 1870), Richard Philmore (b. 1873) and Daisey Pearl (b. 1878).

By 1870 John was working as a farmer and living with his wife and three children in New Haven, Gratiot County. He was living with his wife and five children in New Haven and working as a farmer in 1880, and apparently residing in Sumner, Gratiot County in 1883 drawing $4.00 per month for a “wounded right side” (pension no. 135,245). He was living in New Haven, Gratiot County in 1882 when he provided an affidavit in the pension claim of former Third Michigan soldier Moses’ Bigelow’s father William, and in Sumner in 1888 and 1890, and in New Haven in 1894.

For reasons that remain unclear, John eventually became a resident of the Ohio Soldier’s and Sailor’s Home in Erie County, Ohio (as opposed to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home in Grand Rapids).

He was probably a widower when he died at the Home on November 25, 1908, and was buried in the Home cemetery: section H, row 5, grave 34.

By 1910 there was a Susan Eastman (b. c. 1837 in New York and possibly John’s sister-in-law) was living with one Charles Eastman (b. 1873 in Michigan, probably John’s nephew) and his family in Lafayette, Gratiot County; John’s son Richard was living in New Haven, Gratiot County in 1910.