Biography of Zebina Eastman


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ZEBINA EASTMAN, who for the last nine years of his life resided in Maywood, was born in Amherst, Mass., September 8, 1815. His fatherís name was Abijah Eastman, and his motherís Rebecca (Hall) Eastman. Abijah Eastman was a prominent citizen of Amherst, and a consistent and devoted Christian. Both the father and mother of Zebina died when he was quite a child, the former in 1819. the latter in 1820, and he was then placed under the guardianship of Israel Scott, Esq., of Hadley, Mass., an estimable gcntleman. Becoming intcrested in literature, and convinced that the Press was the most potent factor of reform, young Eastman determined to make journalism the profession of his life. As a preparatory step to his future career he entered the Amherst College printing office, at the age of fourteen, to learn the printerís trade. In this office he was rapidly promoted, and made numerous friends, among them Isaac C. Pray, afterward distinguished as a journalist in connection with the New York Herald. Remaining in this office eighteen months, he entered the Hadley Academy, at Hadley, Mass., to prepare for college, but on account of his health failing him he was obliged to forego his proposed course in college, and he became associated with his old friend Isaac C. Pray, who had become editor of the Hartford Pearl. At the age of nineteen he went to Fayettville, Vt., where he published the Vermont Free Press two years. In 1837 he left Vermont, and became associated, in 1838, with Benjamin Lundy, who, after the murder of Lovejoy, had been invited to come to Illinois as his (Lovejoyís) successor. Among the fearless men who aided in encouraging Dr. Lundy to come to Illinois were Rev. Flavel Baseom, Dr. C. V. Dyer, Philo Carpenter, Robert Freeman, and Calvin DeWolf. Benjamin Lundy began the publication of the Genius of Universal Emancipation at Lowell, LaSalle County, Mr. Eastman soon afterward becoming associated with him. Lundy died in 1839, and Mr. Eastman continued the publication of the Genius about one year, thus becoming the head and front of the Liberty party movement in Illinois. In June, 1840, he went to Vermont to be married, and during his absence in the East the Genius of Universal Emancipation was suspended. Upon his return to Lowell in the fall after a four monthsí sojourn in Chicago, he resumed the publication of the paper but under a different nameó The Genius of Liberty. In 1842 the publication of the Genius of Liberty ceased, and a committee from the anti slavery circle in Chicago prevailed upon Mr. Eastman to come to that city, and the result was the establishment of the Western Citizen. He continued the publication of this paper until 1853. In 1854 the paper became the Free West, and in 1856 was merged into the Chicago Tribune. From 1845 to 1854 he was connected with the publication of the Daily News; was editor of the Liberty Tree from 1846 to 1848, and of the Daily Times from 1852 to 1853. In 1857 he was editor of the Chicago Magazine. He was the author of and read numerous papers before the Chicago Historical Society of which he was a member, among them '' The Regicides," the "Black Code of Illinois," and one on the " Formation of the Republican Party," showing that it had its birth at Rockford, Ill., in June, 1854. Mr. Eastman became the personal and political friend of Abraham Lincoln, who recognized his personal worth and patriotism by giving him an honorable foreign appointment, making him consul at Bristol, England, which positioo he held from 1861 to 1869. In 1870 he moved to Elgin, where he lived until November, 1874, when he moved to Maywood. While in Elgin he was without regular business, but wrote almost continuously for various papers. In 1874 he was one of the organizers of the re-union of the anti-slavery men of the Northwest, and was made its secretary. Since this time he was engaged in writing for various publications, until, in October, 1882, he commenced to write on the History of Chicago, by A. T. Andreas, and was engaged on this history up to within two weeks of his death, which occurred June 14, 1883. In January. 1883, he went to Florida hoping to obtain relief from bronchial troubles, which hope was realized, and in May he returned to Chicago,: bnt his strength was insufficient to withstand the insidious encroachments of a chronic affection-inflammation of the bladder, from which, after an illness of two weeks, he died. Mr. Eastman was married June 29, 1840, to Mary Jane Corning, of Burlington, Vt., who survives him, and by whom he had five children, four sons and one daughter. Two of them survive, Mrs. I. S. Bartlett, now of Wyoming Territory, and Sidney C. Eastman, a lawyer of Chicago.

History of Cook County, Illinois
From the earliest period to the present time.
BY: A. T. Andreas
A. T. Andreas, Publisher
Chicago 1884.