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A Tragic End to a Hard Life

Tamison Eastman (1766- aft 1850) and Samuel French (1762-1799)

Generation Five Family 586

TAMISON EASTMAN (Rebecca Abbott Eastman4, James3, William2, George1), b. at Hopkinton, 19 Oct 1766 daughter of Enoch and Rebecca (Abbott) Eastman; d. after 1850; (1) m. at Hopkinton, Nov 1790, SAMUEL FRENCH, b. at South Hampton, 3 Apr 1762 son of Offen and Abigail (French) French; (2) d. at Bradford, 7 Feb 1799. (3)

Tamison Eastman and Samuel French married at Hopkinton but settled in Bradford, New Hampshire. Samuel and his brother Offen owned property there, and both served in the Revolutionary War. Samuel and Offen shared a tragic end in that both committed suicide by hanging, Samuel in 1799 and Offen in 1827.

Samuel French was a young man of 19 when he enlisted at Hopkinton 5 April 1781 to serve as a private in the Revolutionary War. He served for 17 months as a private in a company commanded by Captain Quinby in the regiment of Colonel Wingate. In the summer of 1782, Samuel was taken captive by the Indians along the Mohawk River and held captive for four years. He made his way home in 1786 and wondered how he might get his four years of back pay which was approved. (4) [One of the forms related to the capture and request for back pay can be seen below.]

Samuel and his brother Offen purchased property together in Hopkinton in 1787. Samuel French and Tamison Eastman married in November 1790. Samuel and Tamison had three children. Their son Samuel died at three years old 6 February 1797. Almost exactly two years to the day, Samuel committed suicide by hanging on 7 February 1799. An inquest into his death concluded he had been delirious at the time of his suicide. (5) His older brother Offen also committed suicide by hanging himself from an apple tree on his property on 5 May 1827.

Another son of Tamison and Samuel, Enoch, died at age 22. Their daughter Elizabeth went on to marry John Eastman. Tamison did not remarry. She was still living in 1850 when she was at the home of her daughter Elizabeth and her family in Boscawen.

Widow Tamison French filed her application for widow’s pension in 1838. The application process took a considerable length of time as there are documents and affidavits of various types dated from 1838 through 1840. One of the affidavits is from Samuel Eastman attesting to the marriage of his sister Tamison to Samuel French in 1790. In one statement, Tamison states she had been delayed in making application for her pension as she did not know if she could obtain the necessary evidence. Her pension when it was finally granted was $56.66 per year. She was awarded a back payment of $283.33. On 28 November 1845, daughter Elizabeth French Eastman filed a bounty land warrant application as the heir of her father. In that statement she described herself as the only heir of the deceased soldier Samuel French.

Tamison Eastman and Samuel French had three children whose births are record at Hopkinton and/or Bradford, New Hampshire (two of the births are recorded both places).

ENOCH FRENCH, b. 25 Feb 1792; d. 7 Dec 1815

SAMUEL FRENCH, b. 30 Aug 1793; d. 6 Feb 1797

ELIZABETH FRENCH, b. 5 Apr 1795; d. at Spring Creek, Pennsylvania, 6 Jan 1875; m. 24 Apr 1814, JOHN EASTMAN, b. at Concord, 22 Nov 1790 son of William and Phebe (Elliot) Eastman; John d. at Spring Creek, 17 May 1865.


1) Tamison French was living in the home of Elizabeth and John Eastman in Boscawen at the time of the 1850 U. S. Census.

2) South Hampton Congregational Church, 1743-1801, marriages and baptisms, p 22

3) Gould & Beals, Early Families of Bradford, p 168

4) Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, file of Samuel French

5) Gould & Beals, Early Families of Bradford, p 168

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