Lee County Biography

Capt. Sumner D. Eastwood
Palmyra Township


Capt. Sumner D. Eastwood is most favorably known throughout Lee County, where nearly the whole of his life has been passed, he being a son of one of its early pioneers. His name is associated with the best interests of Palmyra Twp. as one of its leading farmers. He has a farm on section 23, that is highly improved, its appointments of the best class, and he devotes it to general farming and stock-raising, and also to dairy products.

Capt. Eastwood was born in Alleghany Co. NY on the 21st of Nov. 1836. His father, Reuben Eastwood, was likewise a native of the State of NY and is a son of Jonas Eastwood, who is thought to have been born in Ireland, and to have been of pure Irish blood. He came to this country when a boy, and was married in the state of NY to a lady who was born of German parents in Germany, and had come to this country when a young woman. Jonas Eastwood and his wife reared a family of children in the Empire State and after their offspring were mostly grown came thence ot IL. They located in Carroll County, and there he died at the age of 78. His wife had died two years before in Lee County at the age of 75. They wer both active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in which he was a prominent exhorter.

Reuben Eastwood grew to manhood in his native State, and his early occupation,while a reisdent thereof, was that of a shoemaker. He was married to Nancy McElhaney who was born and reared in the same State as himself, and was of good Scotch-Irish stock. In 1837, after the birth of two of their children, they sought the wilds of IL to found a new home by pioneer labor. They traveled hither with a team overland, and selecting what is now Palmyra Twp. as a suitable location for their future abode, Mr. Eastwood obtained a squatter's claim to a tract of land, which he afterward purchased of the Government when it came into the market. He lived upon and improved it, but finally sold it at a good price, and in the later 60's took up his residence in Dixon, where he died in October 1874, when past 70 years of age. His record as a pioneer and a valued citizen is one of which his children may be proud, and his name will ever be associated with the upbuilding of this county. His wife survived him until July, 1880, when she passed from the scenes amid which she had lived for more than half a century, or sincer her early womanhood. She was 65 years old at the time of her death. She was well known as one of the noble pioneer women of the county and her memory is revered for her great worth in all the relations of life.

But a year passed over the head of our subject when when his parents brought him to this county, and since he has lived in Palmyra Twp., knowing no other home, and in time has come to be one of its successful farmers. He purchased his present farm in 1879, and located on it the following year. It comprises 102 acres of land, nearly all of which is highly improved and a good house and barns adorn the place. The fertile fields yield large harvests. Mr. Eastwood has cattle of high grades, including 35 cows that are devoted to dairy purposes.

The Captain stands high in the citizenship of his community, as his whole career shows hiim to be a man of honor, with an open heart and fair mind, just and generous in his dealings and incorruptable in money matters. His fellow-citizens appreciating the full force of these characteristics all combined in one man, and knowing his executive ability, have frequently entrustedlocal offices to his care and twice have elected hiim to represent Palmyra Twp. as a member of the Lee County Board of Supervisors. In politics he is a Democrat and has never failed in his fidelity to his party.

Capt. Eastwood was married in his adopted twp. to Miss Nancy Haight, who was born in the province of Ontario, Canada in July 1835. Her father, Thomas Haight, died in the summer of 1891, thus closing a life that had been prolonged to a good old age. He was a life-long resident of Canada. His wife who was a native of that country died there wile yeat a young woman, when her daughter, Mrs. Easatwood, was young. Mrs. Eastwood came to he US and to Lee Co. when she was just entering her womanhood. She is the mother of six children, of whom two are deceased; one who died in infancy and Eveline who was six years old when she died. Gertrude S., who obtained a superior education at Lanark Institute, in the Province of Ontario has for the past ten years been a teacher, and during that time has gained steadily in reputation as an instructor of rare merit; Addie is at home; Gace, a stenographer is in the employ of the Thompson Plow Co. at Beloit WI and Lida, is at home.

Portrait and Biographical Record - Lee County Pg 599

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