James Eastland, soldier and legislator, was born on November 1, 1827, in Madison County, Alabama, the son of Alfred and Eliza Wright (Petty) Eastland. The family lived in Tennessee. Around 1843 he moved to Scott County, Mississippi, where he worked as a clerk. In December 1846 he enlisted in an army company there. In January 1847, after mustering into service, he sailed from New Orleans and arrived at the mouth of the Rio Grande for service in the Mexican War. He was a sergeant in the Army of the Rio Grande under Gen. Zachary Taylor and was discharged at Vicksburg at the end of the war. Afterward, he worked as superintendent of construction on the Vicksburg and Meridian Railroad near Brandon, Mississippi. In 1849–50 he was a clerk in a store in Westville. In 1850–51 he was a trader with Indians for Barrington and McAllister in Washington County, Arkansas. On October 30, 1856, Eastland married Emily Butler, daughter of Landon Carter and Elizabeth (Byrn) Butler.
The couple moved to Texas in a train of 100 wagons, settled in Pert in 1856, farmed, raised cattle, and operated a corn mill. Eastland taught at Flinn's Schoolhouse for five months. The Eastlands established Clear Springs Academy for their children and others of the community. In 1862 Eastland was made captain of Company F, Sixteenth Cavalry, Walker's Texas Division. The unit saw action in Louisiana and Arkansas. Bad health forced Eastland to resign in the winter of 1863, and he was discharged at Alexandria, Louisiana. In 1872 he was elected representative of Anderson County. He served in the House of Representatives of the Thirteenth Legislature and was reelected to the Fourteenth Legislature. The Eastlands had ten children. Eastland died on January 13, 1911, and is buried at Olive Branch Cemetery at Brushy Creek, Texas.
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Pioneer Families of Anderson County prior to 1900 (Palestine, Texas: Anderson County Genealogical Society, 1984).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Martha Jeanne Laumen Surles,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 19, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1995