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Minisink.org Genealogy Forum  /  Minisink Families  /  William Gaston/Castin, Minisink Massacre Victim
Posted by: pdgaston, April 9, 2005, 4:17am
Seeking any info on my 5th-great grandfather, William Gaston, who apparently was a victim of the December 1755 Minisink massacre.  In particular I'm interested in discovering the name of his wife, who has never been positively identified, and perhaps his final resting place.

William is affectionately known to his descendants as "Killed By Indians" or "KBI" to distinguish him from the five or six other William Gastons running around PA in the mid-18th century.  He appears in Hillman's "Old Dansbury and the Moravian Missions" as William Castin, and was a signatory of the 1752 petition for appointment of a new constable for Lower Smithfield Twp.  [Old Dansbury, p. 159]

In the Bucks County records we find that on June 20, 1751, "William Garston" received a grant of  20 acres "other land at the Con[fluence?] thereof on a small branch of Smalley's Creek above Forks of Delaware"  He was probably born ca. 1725 and moved to Pennsylvania from Monmouth Co., NJ.

The link to Minisink comes in the baptismal records of Monmouth County's Old Tennent Presbyteran Church.  In an entry relating to the baptism of a child of John Gaston, William's eldest son, the preacher noted that John's father was "murthered by the Indians."  A footnote adds that "Gaston's father was William M. and killed in 1755."

William KBI's widow died prior to 1762, necessitating Orphans' Court proceedings that year in Northampton County to appoint guardians for his minor children.  The eldest son, John, then filed a partition action to force the sale or division of KBI's 192 acres of land.  On 12/23/1762 the land was awarded to KBI's second son, also named William, upon payment of 165 to the remaining four kids.

Following these clues, I believe (as did Charles Hanna in "Ohio Valley Genealogies") that the "William Garston" who took up land above the Forks in 1751 is the same William Gaston who was killed by Indians in 1755, and the same person as the William Castin who was living in Lower Smithfield Twp. in 1752.

Unfortunately, William's name does not appear on any list of massacre victims I have found, nor does his family appear on the Powell List of Sufferers.  After 1755 he simply disappears.

I would greatly appreciate any information on the precise location of William Garston/Gaston/Castin's claim, the name of his wife, and whether he appears on any list of Minisink victims.  Thanks for any help you can provide.




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