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.

Today, along 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.

Willard’s son 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 Eames homes.

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 Directions
February 2015