THOMAS T.S. EASTLACK, was appointed to the Camden Fire Department in May of 1874 to replace George B. Anderson an extra man with Engine Company 2. He served until April of 1876, when he was not re-appointed due to a change in politics in the leadership of the Fire Department.
Thomas Eastlack was born in Camden on November 15, 1853 to William and Rebecca Eastlack. When the Census was taken in 1860, two more sons had been born, John and Jesse. The family lived in Camden’s South Ward. The Eastlacks were still there in 1870, both father William and son Thomas were working at an iron foundry. As stated above Thomas Eastlack was appointed as an extra man with Engine Company 2 in May of 1874. If not at the time, then soon afterward he was living at 919 Broadway. By May of 1875 he had relocated to 21 South 4th Street.
Thomas Eastlack was living at 804 Pine Street with his parents and brothers when the 1878 Camden City Directory was compiled. By the following year they had moved to 802 Pine Street, and they were all still there when the census was taken in 1880. Thomas Eastlack was then working as an engineer at an iron foundry. On August 22, 1880 he married Emma Crandall. Thomas and Emma Eastlack had two children together, William and Ethel.
Thomas and Emma Eastlack made their home through at least 1883 at 842 South 8th Street. By 1887 they had moved to 801 St. John Street. During these years he worked as an engineer at the Camden Iron Works and at Wood’s Foundry. Sadly, Emma Crandall Eastlack died on December 22, 1891.
Thomas Eastlack and his children lived with his widowed mother Rebecca during the mid 1890s. The 1894-1895 City Directory has them at 410 Pine Street, the 1895-1896 edition shows 417 Pine Street. Thomas Eastlack next appears in city directories in 1898, at 1119 Pine Street. The 1899 Directory has an address of 1033 Pine Street. The 1900 Census shows that Thomas Eastlack was living at 1043 Pine Street with his two children.
Ethel Eastlack married in the early 1900s, and by 1910 had two children, Joseph and Elsie, with William Bozarth. Thomas Eastlack and his son William lived with the Bozarths at 431 Williams Street in 1910.
The 1914 City Directory states that Thomas Eastlack worked as a crane operator, and that he lived at 508 Division Street. He was still at that address in 1920. When the 1920 Census was taken Thomas Eastlack was still living with his daughter Ethel and her children. Ethel had remarried in the early 1910s, and with her husband William Champion had produced another daughter, Mildred. Interestingly enough the 1918-1919 City Directory and the 1920 Census both state that Thomas Eastlack had returned to employment with the Camden Fire Department. Given his age this seems somewhat unlikely, however, taking into consideration that many younger men had been conscripted into the Army for service in World War I and that Thomas Eastlack worked with steam boilers and equipment most of his life, it certainly is a possibility that he could have been returned to service. He probably was utilized as a houseman, charged with securing the firehouse when calls were being responded to. Thomas Eastlack is not listed in the 1924 Camden City Directory.
Thomas Eastlack died on September 18, 1927 of a cerebral hemorrhage at the Camden County Hospital at Lakeland in Gloucester Township. He was buried at New Camden Cemetery on September 21, 1927.
Thomas Eastlack’s nephew, Walter Dayton Eastlack, the son of his brother John, was a career member of the Camden Fire Department, serving 29 years prior to his retirement in March of 1954.