The Eames Family
It comes as no
surprise that the descendants of our early settlers stayed in the area. Travel
wasn’t as convenient as it is today, and families were probably apt to stay in
the homestead or nearby unless called for war or attending school.
with others, we are looking at David Whiting Eames who was a descendant of
Captain Thomas Eames. We have visited the Captain before, and if you remember
the white house on Fruit Street, the King Philip War, and the poor farm, it
becomes clear that there is a lot of history behind the Eames’ name.
David was born
on May 6, 1807. He was one of seven children of John and Ann Whiting Eames. His
spent his early years on the family home at the end of Union Street (kitty
corner to Tasty Treat) near the bend in the road. The bend, they say, was made
to avoid two large Elm trees in the way. The original house was wood framed,
but was later replaced by the brick structure that you see today. The bricks
were made of the infamous “Ashland Brick”, which had a tendency to be a little
soft. The building, however, is still standing on its own.
David worked on
the family farm with his father and brothers. He married Susan Ball of Milford
and had a daughter just as the Civil War began. He wasn’t a young man at the
time though. At 55 years of age he volunteered for the 25th Regiment
out of Worcester. He never lied to the Army physician about his age which
normally would have disqualified him, but he was in such good shape they decided
to sign him up. His comments on his service: “I went along and did my duty with
the rest of the boys and asked no odds of any of them. I marched just as far
and carried just as big burdens and no one could best me in the quality and
character of my work. I was wounded at Roanoke Island but recovered from that
and was on duty again when, in one of those Newbern cyclones, I was hit in the
abdomen by a flying stick of timber. This necessitated my discharge.”
That ended his
military experience. He returned to Massachusetts, but opted to live in
Worcester. He was said to have drawn the highest pension, and was the oldest
war veteran in Worcester. At the time of his death in 1898, his sisters Joan
and Ann still lived in the brick house in Ashland. His brother Willard lived on
the farm next door (heading toward Hopkinton, and many still remember it as Senator
Olsen’s house today). Henry Eames and John Melton ran the Eames family farm
after the passing of their father, and Newell Eames died in Holliston.
Albert ran a meat market on Summer Street, and served the town as selectman,
assessor, treasurer, and auditor. When he passed away on January 12, 1912 there
were only four remaining family members. His Aunt Ann still lived in the brick
house, his brother John lived in Willard’s house, and two nieces lived in other
Clearly, they have all passed by now and
other, more familiar names occupy the Eames properties. Without a doubt, it was
quite a run over the centuries for the Eames family.
Sources: Ashland Advertiser, Ashland
Historical Society, and Kay Powers.
Steve Leacu for Ashland