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Biography of William Fisk Eastman
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William Fiske Eastman, co-editor with P. S. McGlynn, of the Moline Daily Dispatch and Weekly Review-Dispatch, and postmaster of Moline, was born in Ellisburg, Jefferson County, New York, November 11, 1844. His parents were Charles W. Eastman, Doctor of Medicine, and Cynthia (Fiske) Eastman. He attended the public schools of his native village and Union Academy in the neighboring village of Belleville. Graduating there he attended Union College at Schenectady, New York, graduating in the scientific course in 1866, and taking first honors of that course. In the meantime he had been teaching in the district schools, earning in this way and by conducting a book store in his room at college, the money that paid for his college course.
After graduating he came West and taught in the schools of Maquoketa, Iowa, and Sterling and Union Grove, Illinois, expecting to devote his life to that work. In 1872 his health broke down and he sought other business. He purchased the Red Oak (Iowa) Express and conducted it a few months when there came a proposition which he accepted, to go back to Sterling and purchase a half interest in the Sterling Gazette. He held his half interest in this for nearly ten years when he sold it because his health again broke down.
He then went to Huron, South Dakota, where he engaged in banking with a partner, spending his own time on a farm about twenty miles away, his partner taking charge of the bank. Unfortunately the business was mismanaged and in June, 1885, he was left without anything he could call his own. After a few months spent on the farm, at the same time being editor of the Dakota Farmer, he returned to Sterling to the employ of the Sterling Gazette. He later was editor of the Farmer’s Budget of that city and conducted a job printing shop.
In April, 1889, he came to Moline as a third owner of the Western Plowman, which interest he held for twenty months, when he became interested in the Moline Dispatch. In June, 1890, the Moline Dispatch Publishing Company was organized with Mr. McGlynn as president and Mr. Eastman as secretary and coeditors of the paper. To comply with the state laws requiring at least three stockholders in a corporation, Mrs. Eastman and Mrs. McGlynn became stock-holders, and these our have owned and con-trolled all the stock from that time. Under this control it has grown to be one of the strong papers of Northern Illinois, with a circulation and advertising patronage probably not exceeded by any paper in the State in a city of the population of Moline. The paper has been Republican in politics and uncompromisingly in favor of temperance and all other reforms.
Mr. Eastman has been married twice. His first marriage was to Miss Frances J. Adams, of Sterling, June 18, 1872. She died February 22, 1876, and June 8, 1880, he married Miss Myra F. Christopher, daughter of John Garrison and Chloe Brewster Christopher, of Byron, Illinois. Their only daughter, Louise C., was born October 28, 1881, in Sterling, Illinois. She graduated at the Moline High School and at the State University of Nebraska.
Mrs. Eastman was born May 10, 1850, at Byron. Her father’s ancestry reaches back to the Dutch merchantmen of New York, and her mother’s to Brewster Bradford and Hopkins of the Mayflower pilgrims. She was a teacher after graduating from the public schools of Byron, and was in the schools of Sterling several years before her marriage.
Mr. Eastman’s ancestry is English, and comprises such names among the early settlers of this country as ‘William Brewster, John Dwight, Nathaniel Fairbanks and Henry Adams. Daniel Fiske, his great grandfather, was a surgeon at the battle of Bunker Hill, and a corresponding ancestor on his father’s side, Jared Chittenden, was in the Revolutionary Army from 1775 to the battle of Yorktown. His father was in the Army of the Union and was detailed as a surgeon at Camp Dennison, Ohio, where he remained on duty some months after his term of enlistment expired.
In politics Mr. Eastman is a Republican. He has been on the city and county committees of his party and was chairman of the county committee in the strenuous campaign of 1896. He became postmaster of Moline, March 1, 1906.
Mr. Eastman is a member of the Christian Church. He belonged to the church at Rock Island for many years after coming to Moline, and was on its board of officers for seventeen years, and chairman for six years, resigning to assist in the organization of a church of that faith in Moline.
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