We have in the record of the life of the subject of this biography the career of one of the pioneer settlers of this county. He came to Northern Illinois as early as 1844, when a lad of twelve years of age. He has since made it his abiding place, and borne no unimportant part of its phenominal growth and development. A man of strong character and decided ideas, he proved to be of the stuff which was most needed to assist in the development of one of the richest sections of country in the Great West. Our subject made permanent settlement a long distance from the place of his birth, which was in Cornwall County, England, where he first opened his eyes to the light March 29, 1831. His parents were John and Ann (Ward) Eustice, who were also of English birth and parentage. The father in his native country labored in the mines of Cornwall until 1841, when he crossed the Atlantic with his family and spent the first year in the State of Pennsylvania. At the expiration of this time he set out for the farther West, going to Wisconsin while it was still a territory.
In 1843 he came to this county, which remained the home of the father until his death. The elder Eustice came alone to America and did not send for his family until 1844, after becoming established in this county. He was in that year joined by his wife and their four children. He had in the meantime purchased 120 acres of government land on section 36, in Elizabeth Township, paying therefore $1.25 per acre. After he had made a considerable improvement on this, he added to his landed area by the purchase of 160 acres additional, for which he paid $6.25 per acre. Upon this he labored until his death, which occurred in February, 1882. He was successful in constructing a comfortable homestead, and bought the land to a good state of cultivation. Taking up his land just as the Indians had left it, it required no small outlay of labor and money to bring it to its present state. The father of our subject was one of the first pioneer farmers of Elizabeth Township. His first dwelling was a log cabin, and for a number of years, in addition to working upon his farm, he also engaged in mining. He was a man of great enterprise and energy, and in 1856 put in the Woodbine Township what was first known as Eustice Mill, but is now the Mitchell Mill, which has become one of the standing institutions of this part of the county. During the last years of his ownership of the mill-property he operated it in partnership with his son, our subject. The parental household included nine children six of whom are living. The mother died in 1849. William H., our subject acquired his education in the primitive schools of his county, and at an early age was taught to make himself of use around the homestead, assisting his father both in farming and mining. In 1852 he made his way across the plains to California, where he was engaged in gold mining about four years. By this means he obtained sufficient capital to buy land, which he invested upon his return to this county.
His next important step was his marriage, which occurred March 26, 1858 with Miss Sarah, daughter of William and Sarah Davis. The latter were also natives of England, whence they emigrated to America and settled in Elizabeth Township, this county, in 1841. The father engaged in mining, and both parents here spent the remainder of their lives; William Davis passing away in 1860 and his excellent wife in 1879. Mrs. Eustice was a little child three years of age when her parents came to America, she having been born in Cornwall County, England, Oct. 4, 1838. With the exception of one year spent in Adair County, Mo., Mr. and Mrs. Eustice have been residents of Elizabeth Township since their marriage. The nine children born of their union are recorded as follows; Sarah A. is at home; Clara E. is the wife of Joseph Reed, of Neosha County, Kan.; Harry A. married Maggie Williams, of Galena; Jennie H. and Willie C. are at home; Bertha, Willie and Winnie all died in infancy; one child died in inf ancy unnamed. Not long after his return from the Pacific slope Mr. Eustice purchased a half interest in the gristmill owned by his father, and they operated in partnership under the firm name of Eustice & Son until 1865. In the meantime they had made an addition to the building and began purchasing wheat, running the establishment as a custom mill until the year mentioned, when William H. sold out his interest to Edward Mitchell. Shortly afterward the father of our subject also disposed of his interest in the establishment, which is now operated by Mr. Mitchell. William H. Eustice is what may be called a successful man; that is, he has acquired a competence and has firmly established himself in the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens.
While a resident of Woodbine Township he served as School Director, and in Elizabeth has officiated as Clerk of the Village Board of Trustees. He has long been considered a man worthy the honored of office and one who would serve efficiently, but he is not ambitions for the cares and responsibilities connected therewith, although frequently solicited to assume them. He votes the straight Republican ticket, and socially belong to the Masonic fraternity. He has had some experience in mercantile business, having been engaged therein three years at Elizabeth with his brother-in-law, Thomas Prior, but was obliged to abandon it on account of ill health; and this was also the reason why he withdrew from the mill business. Mr. Eustice has visited his old England three times since making his first voyage to America, his physician advised him to do this on account of the state of his health. Mrs. Eustice and her daughter are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and prominent in the social circles of Elizabeth. They occupy a pleasant home in the west part of town, and are surrounded by all the comforts of life and many of its luxuries. Among the distinguished and well-known citizens of JoDaviess County, Whose portraits grace the paged of this volume, is included that of Mr. Eustice.
From Portraits and Biographical Jo Daviess County