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The Bay State Monthly — Volume 2, No. 5, February, 1885   By:

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[Illustration: W'm Gaston.]



A Massachusetts Magazine .



No. 5.



Victor Hugo has written: "The historian of morals and ideas has a mission no less austere than that of the historian of events. The latter has the surface of civilization, the struggles of the crowns, the births of princes, the marriages of Kings, the battles, the assemblies, the great public men, the revolutions in the sunlight, all exterior; the other historian has the interior, the foundation, the people who work, who suffer and who wait ... Have these historians of hearts and souls lesser duties than the historian of exterior facts?"

There is much unwritten history of the Bay State: of the exterior, much is recorded; of the interior, far less. Both are valuable to posterity. It is believed that succeeding ages will hold of far greater value, and the youth of our day be benefitted more by the study of the underlying principles and causes of those events which are given a conspicuous place in history, rather than by the mere record of the surface facts.

It is profitable to study the habits and methods of individuals who stand out in bold relief in history. To derive the greatest interest and value from such lives it is well to follow them from early childhood. Indeed it is profitable to trace back the ancestry and lineage from which the man has descended, to study the characteristics peculiar to each generation, and to note the result of racial mixtures tending to the typical and representative American of to day.

Many prominent men received their first incentive to ambition and industry and perseverence by reading when their minds were immature, but fresh and retentive of the life and achievements of Benjamin Franklin and such other grand models for the young.

No history of a country or state is complete without studies of the lives of those men who have made and are making history.

William Gaston comes from an honored and distinguished ancestry on both his paternal and maternal side as will be seen by the succeeding genealogical notes.

He was born at Killingly, Connecticut, October 3, 1820.


Jean Gaston was born in France, probably about the year 1600. There are traditions about the particular family to which he belonged, but only little is definitely known. He was a Huguenot, and is said to have been banished from France on account of his religion. His property was confiscated. His brothers and family, although Catholics, sent money to him in Scotland for his support. He is said to have been forty years of age and unmarried when he went to Scotland. Between 1662 and 1668, during a season of persecution in Scotland, his sons, John, William, and Alexander, went over into the north of Ireland, whither many of their friends were fleeing for safety and religious freedom. There is some uncertainty as to which of these three brothers was the founder of this branch of the family, but numerous facts point almost conclusively to John as such founder. One generation was born in Ireland.

John Gaston had three sons born in Ireland: William, born about 1680; lived at Caranleigh Clough Water; John, born 1703 4, died in America 1783; Alexander, born 1714, died in America.

The former lived all his days in Caranleigh Clough Water, Ireland, where he died about 1770. John and Alexander came to New England during or shortly prior to 1730. Tradition has it that they landed at Marblehead. From this place they went soon, if not immediately, to Connecticut. As their ancestors had done, so did they, seek religious liberty in a foreign land. They were Separatists and probably were drawn to Voluntown because a Church holding that faith was there established... Continue reading book >>

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