MRS. SUSAN DURGIN WHITNEY.
There is no name better known in Petaluma than Whitney, for in all philanthropic movements Mrs. Whitney has ever
been found among the leaders. She was born in Jackson, N. H., March 28, 1832, the daughter of Otis Eastman, who
was likewise a native of New Hampshire, having been born in Conway, April 15, 1806. His wife was Fiorella Merrill,
a native of the same place and of English ancestry. Her father, Enoch Merrill, was born in Conway and represented
a family that came from England and settled in Massachusetts in 1636, during the early history of this country.
There he married Sarah Merrill, who was born in New Hampshire and died in Minnesota, at Kingston, aged seventy
On the paternal side Mrs. Whitney comes from Welsh stock; her grandfather, Abiather Eastman, born in Conway, N.
H., served in the war of 1812 and died in service. His widow, Susan (Durgin) Eastman, was also a native of New
Hampshire. At the death of her husband she was left with six children to rear and with no means at her command.
This meant that as soon as each one was old enough he would have to shoulder the burden of life and assist in supporting
the younger members of the family. Otis Eastman was bound out to a relative from the age of seven until he was
fourteen, at which time he began as a farm hand, working about the neighborhood at from $8 to $10 a month. He cleared
a farm in Jackson and later went to Aroostook county, Me., where he improved another farm and about 1870 he located
in Kingston, Meeker county, Minn. When he was eighty five years of age he came to California and made his home
with his daughter, Mrs. Whitney, in Petaluma, and he passed away on November 12, 1905, aged ninety nine years.
He was a Jacksonian Democrat until Fremont's time, and thereafter voted the Republican ticket, and was a Methodist.
To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Eastman eight children were born, seven of whom grew to maturity, viz.: Susan Durgin,
of this review: Rufus Merrill, who served in the Civil war in the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and is now
residing at Hammond, La.; Enoch Merrill, a soldier in a Minnesota regiment and now a resident of Litchfield, Minn.:
Flora, who died at the age of twenty three years; George, who served in the Civil war, enlisting in a Maine regiment
at the age of nineteen years and now a resident of Ft. Fairfield, Me.: Eller who died at the age of fourteen years;
and Charles M., residing at Fortuna, Humboldt county, Cal.
Susan Durgin Whitney was reared in Aroostook county, Me., from 1843, and her education was obtained in the subscription
schools of that location and period. She was married February 1, 1850, to Albion Paris
Whitney, whose sketch appears on another page of this work and whose family is mentioned therein. Mrs. Whitney
moved to Minnesota in 1856 and in the fall of 1861 brought her four children via the Isthmus of Panama to California,
arriving in San Francisco December 15th and since that date has made her home in Petaluma. Since the death of Mr.
Whitney she has continued to look after the business interests that engrossed his time, having been made executrix
of the estate and has carried out his wishes to the letter. She resides at the family home, No. 320 Sixth street.
She has a substantial income and is able to contribute liberally toward charitable movements and to promote enterprises
for the upbuilding of Petaluma, in which her husband and herself have ever been deeply interested. Mrs. Whitney
has been active in all movements that would better the condition of the citizens and has been conscientious in
all things. She believes in not letting her right hand know what her left hand does and all her acts of kindness
are done in an unostentatious manner. She is a member of the Easter Star Chapter and of the Episcopal Church. She
likes to mingle with her many friends and to relieve suffering wherever she may find it. Such characters as Mrs.
Whitney's are well worthy of emulation by the rising generations.
History of Sonoma County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1911
Sonoma County, CA
For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium