William Clark Eastlake (Eastlack)

William Clark Eastlake (Eastlack)
William Clark Eastlake (Eastlack)

William Clark Eastlake (1834-1887) is another bearer of our surname who features at the top of our notables list. He was born in New Jersey as William Clark Eastlack, son of Richard Wills Eastlack and his wife Sarah Clark. Richard was a dealer in patent medicines and son William grew up to study dentistry.

As part of the Japanese Government’s efforts to modernise Japan, William was one of a number of westerners who brought their skills to the Orient in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. He first travelled to Japan with his wife, Almira Vernon Rose, and eldest son, Frank Warrington, in 1860. He established his practice in Yokohama but lived in the foreign settlement in Tokyo. This settlement later became subject to ‘strict limitations, but he alone was allowed to live anywhere he liked, because of his services’. He not only introduced modern techniques but also became a middle-man for arranging the education of Japanese dentists in American institutions. References to him include ‘dental pioneer of the orient’.

Gravestone of William Clark Eastlake
Gravestone of William Clark Eastlake
Foreigners' Section Dedication Stone, Aoyama Cemetery
Foreigners’ Section Dedication Stone, Aoyama Cemetery

Notable westerners are buried in the Foreigner’s Section of the lovely Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo including William and at least seven other family members, most recently Dorothy Rose Eastlake in 2013. A dedication stone of 2007 reads:

In Memoriam Laid to rest here in the Foreign Section of the Aoyama Cemetery are men and women who came to Japan in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of them played leading roles and contributed greatly to the modernization of Japan. We have erected this monument to commemorate their achievements and ensure their memory is passed on to posterity.

In 1985, the Kanagawa Prefecture Dental Association erected a monument to commemorate the 125th anniversary of William’s arrival in Japan and ‘the birthplace of Western Medical Dentistry in Japan’. His children would become noted for their own achievements.

‘The Benefactor of Japanese Dentistry’, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 105:6 (10 August 1935), accessed at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1154322, [accessed 18 Jun 2016].
‘The Firsts in Japan from Yokohama, Part III’, St Joseph International School Alumni Association, http://sjcalumni.com/sjistop/?p=397 [accessed 18 Jun 2016].
‘The life of William Clark Eastlake, dental pioneer of the orient’, Bulletin of the history of dentistry, 33:1 (May 1985), accessed at ResearchGate, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/19274264_The_life_of_William_Clark_Eastlake_dental_pioneer_of_the_orient, [accessed 18 Jun 2016].
Pierre Yves-Donze, ‘Studies Abroad by Japanese Doctors: A Prosopographic Analysis of the Nameless Practitioners, 1862–1912’, Social History of Medicine, 23:2 (July 2010), accessed at http://shm.oxfordjournals.org/ [accessed 18 Jun 2016].

Image Citations:
‘A History of Aoyama Cemetery’ and ‘Eastlake Family’, Family Matters: Six Degrees of Integration, http://www.genealogy.japanesegardensonline.com/, [accessed 18 Jun 2016].
‘William Clark Eastlake’, FindaGrave, created by Rebecca Ewing Peterson, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=78618218, [accessed 18 June 2016].