John Whittemore Eastman

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John Whittemore Eastman

Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: Conway, Carroll, New Hampshire
Death: February 19, 1899 (78)
at home, Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota
Place of Burial: Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota
Immediate Family:

Son of William Kimball Eastman and Rhoda Eastman
Husband of Susan Maria Farrington
Father of Arthur Maynard Eastman; Jessie Maria Eastman and Alfred Farrington Eastman
Brother of William Wallace Eastman; Haskett Derby Eastman; Ezra Eastman; Annette Electa Thompson; Charlotte Augusta Eastman and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
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About John Whittemore Eastman

John Whittemore Eastman was born in Conway, New Hampshire, October 28, 1820. He was the son of Wm. K. Eastman, of old Colonial and Revolutionary stock. He was educated at the Fryeburg (Me.) Academy and graduated at the academy at Plymouth. From 1840 to 1847 he was employed by wholesale houses in either Boston or Buenos Ayres, South America, as accountant or supercargo. In 1849 he sailed around the Horn for California, where he mined; then purchased a schooner and went into the carrying trade between Mexico and California ports; then into the cattle business, and finally into the fruit business in Southern California. In 1853 he sailed for Melbourne, Australia, with a cargo of mining implements, and then sailed for New York, taking the Nicaragua route, arriving in January, 1854. He returned to Conway, and on March 9, 1854, married Susan Maria Farrington.

Soon they started west, and settled in St. Anthony. Among Mr. Eastman's early enterprises was the establishing of the town of Merrimac, some miles below St. Paul. A company was formed, several farms purchased, and a sawmill erected, but a freshet changing the channel of the river, the scheme was abandoned.

Mr. Eastman was the first man to originate and carry out the enterprise of erecting a large flour mill at St. Anthony Falls. Associated with him were John Rollins and R. P. Upton. They built the "Minnesota Flouring Mill" on the east side of Hennepin Island, and soon W. W. Eastman became a partner. The mill had three run of stone, and manufactured one hundred barrels of flour per day, and was a success from the start. The wheat was supplied in part by the neighboring farmers, but the larger portion of it came from Iowa and Wisconsin, in boats to St. Paul, and thence to St. Anthony by teams. The market, in addition to the local consumption, was with emigrants, who took thousands of barrels in their "prairie schooners' in their westward course; also to the fur traders of the Red River Valley of the North.

In 1857 Captain Rollins retired from the firm, and in 1858 W. W. Eastman retired, and Mr. Upton sold out to William F. Cahill. The firm now became Eastman & Cahill, and the mill name changed to "Island Mills." The mill was remodeled and enlarged, having five run of stone, with a capacity of five hundred barrels a day, and employed fifteen men. This change cost $45,000. The first flour exported to eastern markets from Minnesota was made by this mill. During the War of the Rebellion many thousands of barrels were supplied to the army, the firm taking large government contracts. The annual output from the mills of Eastman & Cahill for several years averaged about thirty-two thousand barrels. Eastman & Cahill were also proprietors of large cooper shops located on the lower end of Hennepin Island, employing about one hundred men. In 1867 the Minneapolis Millers' Association was organized, and Eastman & Cahill became charter members of that body.

After retiring from the flour business in 1869 Mr. Eastman, in company with Elijah Moulton, built a large planning and re-sawing mill on Hennepin Island. In a few years he sold out his interest to Mr. Moulton. Mr. Eastman built three houses on University Avenue, near Eighth Avenue S., the first in 1854, and the other two in 1880, where he resided since coming to Minnesota. Mr. Eastman was a Royal Arch Mason, a Republican in politics, and voted on the admitting of both California and Minnesota into the Union.

During the latter years of his life Mr. Eastman became a great reader, not only of the current literature of the day, but of scientific and philosophical works. On February 19, 1899, Mr. Eastman died. In the obituary notices, the Minneapolis journal says:

"John Whittemore Eastman, a resident of Minneapolis for the past forty-five years, a pioneer flour miller and one of the leading men of the city, passed away yesterday morning at his home, 716 University Avenue S. E. Death was due to paralysis of the heart. Last December Mr. Eastman had a severe attack of the grip, from which he never completely recovered. Yesterday morning he complained of pains in the chest, and as his condition continued to grow serious, physicians were summoned. Death came soon after their arrival. The funeral will take place tomorrow afternoon, at 2 o'clock, from the residence. The Rev. M. D. Hardin, pastor of Andrew Presbyterian church, of which the deceased was a member, will conduct the services. The remains will be taken to Lakewood cemetery. The deceased leaves a wife and two sons, Dr. Arthur M. Eastman of St. Paul, and Alfred F. Eastman of Skaguay."

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John Whittemore Eastman's Timeline

October 28, 1820
Conway, Carroll, New Hampshire
Age 20
Moved to Boston and worked at the wholesale house of Fales & Dana
- 1845
Age 23
Went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, worked at importing house of Zimmermann, Fraizier & Co.
Age 24
Age 32
Bought mining implements and quartz crushers in San Francisco and sailed for Melbourne via the Sandwich Islands, the first quartz crushers brought to Australia
- January 1854
Age 32
May 1, 1855
Age 34
Hennepin, Minnesota
May 6, 1859
Age 38
March 9, 1867
Age 46