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William Henry Gaston Sr.

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William Henry Gaston Sr. Veteran

Birth
Prairie Bluff, Wilcox County, Alabama, USA
Death
24 Jan 1927 (aged 86)
Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, USA
Burial
Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, USA GPS-Latitude: 32.8010587, Longitude: -96.7966694
Plot
Block 6 Lot 11 Space 2
Memorial ID
View Source
William Henry Gaston was born on October 25, 1840, near Prairie Bluff in Wilcox County, Alabama. William was the second of five sons of Robert Kilpatrick Gaston and the former Letitia Elizabeth Suddath. In the mid 1840's, Robert K. Gaston emigrated west and moved his family to Winston County, Mississippi. From there they moved to the area around Anderson County, Texas, in 1849; where Robert farmed extensive land holdings and served two terms in the Texas legislature. William, along with his brothers Robert and George, attended the nearby Mound Prairie Institute. In 1860, the family moved to Tyler, Texas; leaving William to manage the old homestead.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the three brothers joined the Confederate cause and served in the CSA army. William Gaston joined a volunteer company being recruited in Anderson County for Confederate service. By October 1861 he had been elected captain, and his company became part of the First Texas Infantry regiment of Hood's Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. Captain Gaston, known as the "Boy Captain" commanded his company with distinction through the terrible battles in Virginia in 1862. After recovering from typhoid fever, he was detailed to Texas on recruiting duty for the regiment. He was subsequently reassigned to serve as Confederate purchasing agent in the Trans-Mississippi Department, where he spent the remainder of the war.

During this time, William Gaston married Miss Jane Laura Furlow, daughter of George Washington Furlow and the former Jane Pope. William & Jane had three children:
Willie Gaston (1864 – 1864)
Edwin Gaston (1865 – 1929)
Florence Laura Gaston (1866 – 1938)

After Captain Gaston was discharged in June 1865, he returned to Anderson County and farmed. His first wife died in 1867, and a year later he married Laura's sister Ione; with whom he had four children:
Robert Kirkpatrick Gaston (1869 – 1951)
Frank Coleman Gaston (1872 – 1884)
William Henry Gaston Jr. (1875 – 1960)
Annie Ione Gaston (1877 – 1965)

After living a few years, William & Iona moved their growing family to Dallas; where William entered into partnership with Aaron C. Camp and opened the Gaston & Camp Bank of Dallas, the first permanent bank in Dallas. Within a short time Gaston had expanded into real estate, merchandising, and general speculation; the bank became the Exchange Bank and later the First National Bank of Dallas. Only five years after his arrival the Dallas Herald declared that William Gaston was most responsible for the transformation of Dallas into a city. He was reported to be one of the city's first millionaires, and another of his banks, Gaston & Gaston Bank, was the predecessor of the Republic National Bank.

William Gaston helped to bring the railroad to Dallas and developed a streetcar system throughout the city. In 1886, William Gaston donated eighty acres for the State Fair of Texas grounds.

William Gaston died on January 24, 1927, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery. The City of Dallas honored his civic work by naming the W. H. Gaston Junior High School in his memory.

__________
A founder of Dallas
Captain in First Texas Infantry regiment of Hood's Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. Reportedly one of Dallas' first millionaires.
~
AMONG THE KEY FIGURES in the evolution of Dallas from a frontier hamlet into a modern city must be rated Capt. William H. Gaston, pioneer banker, "discoverer" of East Dallas, and a potent factor in the establishment of the State Fair of Texas. When he died in 1927 In his eighty-seventh year, he was one of the last surviving citizens of Dallas who could recall at firsthand the Great Fire of 1860, a dis­aster that, on the eve of the Civil War, destroyed most of the village of Dallas.

He had not actually seen the conflagration, having passed through the town the day before with his father, R. K. Gaston, on the way to Fort Worth. But the ruins were still smoldering when they returned this way the day after the catastrophe. He never to the end of his days forgot the excitement throughout the Dallas area over what was believed at the time to be the work of Abolitionists inciting slaves to set the town on fire.

Young Gaston and his father were Alabamians who had moved to Texas four years after annexation to settle on a farm in Anderson County not far from Palestine. Despite the burning of Dallas, the North Texas settlement caught the fancy and imagination of the twenty-year-old visitor. He resolved in time to cast his lot with John Neely Bryan's future metropolis, but the Civil War intervened to delay his move to Dallas. With three of his brothers he volunteered for service in the army of the Confederacy. He saw rough service east of the Mississippi, mainly in Hood's Texas Brigade, and he returned home with the rank of captain. He put in one or two cotton crops, then in 1868 set out on his own for the town he had chosen. The new­comer thought that Dallas needed a bank and he offered himself as a banker. Some time before, T. C. Jordan had opened the first bank in Dallas but had since closed it and left town.

Young Gaston formed a partnership with C. A. Camp, in a private bank, with an initial capital of $20,000. Camp soon withdrew, being replaced as a partner by Capt. W. H. Thomas. Their banking house was on Main Street on the north side of the courthouse square, about where the Records Building now stands. This pioneer private bank continued in that location for the next thirty years.

Captain Gaston was equally interested in land investment. He had a young family now, having married before leaving Anderson County, and he bought ten acres of land for a homesite. It was on the road recently opened by A. J. Ross and his brother, William. It included the northwest corner of present Ross Avenue and Pearl Street where the A. H. Belo home (now Sparkman Funeral Home, 1977) would be built later. He paid $100 an acre for the land. "James M. Patterson, one of the first merchants who had located in Dallas, lectured me for paying such a high price for the property," Captain Gaston recalled in later years.

Three years later, in 1871, Captain Gaston took a much more ambitious flyer in real estate. He bought forty acres of land just be­yond the eastern edge of Dallas in what would become the heart of the separate city of East Dallas.

There on the old White Rock Road which ran through it (now Swiss Avenue) he built his permanent home, a two-story colonnaded mansion that was long one of the showplaces of Dallas. ( The home­site at Swiss and St. Joseph Street is now occupied by the Dallas Theological Seminary.)

The only drawback was the scarcity of Captain Gaston's neigh­bors. The nearest family was that of Jefferson Peak, who lived a mile farther to the east. The only houses between the Gaston home and Central Expressway of today were those of Jacob Nussbaumer and Henry Boll, members of the Swiss colony that was to give Swiss Avenue its name. "I offered five acres free to G. M. Swink if he would build his home on them," Captain Gaston remembered, "but he said it was too far out. He insisted he could not spend all day coming and going to town." Others whom Captain Gaston approached with like offers laughed at him, saying if they were going to the country, they "would go over and settle on the East Fork of the Trinity and be done with it."

Dallas at the time was pulling all available strings to get some railroads. The first, the north-south line of the Houston & Texas Cen­tral, brought the first train into Dallas in July, 1872. As it was equally important to get the east-west line of the Texas & Pacific to cross the first one in Dallas, Captain Gaston added greatly to this inducement by giving the T&P right of way through his four hundred acres from the present fairgrounds to the Central Railroad. He also gave the land for the union depot that was built at the intersection of the two railroads.

Captain Gaston also put up $500 toward the city's first streetcar line, a mule-drawn track on Main Street covering the mile between the union depot and the courthouse. It was operated by his friend G. M. Swink, the city's first "traction magnate." There was a steep grade at that time on Main, just west of Ervay, and the brakes on one of the first streetcars failed one day, with the vehicle plunging headlong down the grade to run over and kill the mule. There were no other casualties.

By 1882 there were enough people living in the area pioneered by Captain Gaston to incorporate the city of East Dallas. As its most prominent citizen, he was offered the post of mayor—an honor which he declined. He never accepted any elective office, although as one of Dallas's leading bankers he served for a time by appointment as city treasurer of East Dallas. That was before it was merged with the parent city in 1890.

Captain Gaston's most memorable contribution to East Dallas— and to Dallas as a whole as well as the entire state—was his part in the organization of the State Fair in 1886.
Dallas Gateway: Pioneers of Dallas County
William Henry Gaston was born on October 25, 1840, near Prairie Bluff in Wilcox County, Alabama. William was the second of five sons of Robert Kilpatrick Gaston and the former Letitia Elizabeth Suddath. In the mid 1840's, Robert K. Gaston emigrated west and moved his family to Winston County, Mississippi. From there they moved to the area around Anderson County, Texas, in 1849; where Robert farmed extensive land holdings and served two terms in the Texas legislature. William, along with his brothers Robert and George, attended the nearby Mound Prairie Institute. In 1860, the family moved to Tyler, Texas; leaving William to manage the old homestead.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the three brothers joined the Confederate cause and served in the CSA army. William Gaston joined a volunteer company being recruited in Anderson County for Confederate service. By October 1861 he had been elected captain, and his company became part of the First Texas Infantry regiment of Hood's Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. Captain Gaston, known as the "Boy Captain" commanded his company with distinction through the terrible battles in Virginia in 1862. After recovering from typhoid fever, he was detailed to Texas on recruiting duty for the regiment. He was subsequently reassigned to serve as Confederate purchasing agent in the Trans-Mississippi Department, where he spent the remainder of the war.

During this time, William Gaston married Miss Jane Laura Furlow, daughter of George Washington Furlow and the former Jane Pope. William & Jane had three children:
Willie Gaston (1864 – 1864)
Edwin Gaston (1865 – 1929)
Florence Laura Gaston (1866 – 1938)

After Captain Gaston was discharged in June 1865, he returned to Anderson County and farmed. His first wife died in 1867, and a year later he married Laura's sister Ione; with whom he had four children:
Robert Kirkpatrick Gaston (1869 – 1951)
Frank Coleman Gaston (1872 – 1884)
William Henry Gaston Jr. (1875 – 1960)
Annie Ione Gaston (1877 – 1965)

After living a few years, William & Iona moved their growing family to Dallas; where William entered into partnership with Aaron C. Camp and opened the Gaston & Camp Bank of Dallas, the first permanent bank in Dallas. Within a short time Gaston had expanded into real estate, merchandising, and general speculation; the bank became the Exchange Bank and later the First National Bank of Dallas. Only five years after his arrival the Dallas Herald declared that William Gaston was most responsible for the transformation of Dallas into a city. He was reported to be one of the city's first millionaires, and another of his banks, Gaston & Gaston Bank, was the predecessor of the Republic National Bank.

William Gaston helped to bring the railroad to Dallas and developed a streetcar system throughout the city. In 1886, William Gaston donated eighty acres for the State Fair of Texas grounds.

William Gaston died on January 24, 1927, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery. The City of Dallas honored his civic work by naming the W. H. Gaston Junior High School in his memory.

__________
A founder of Dallas
Captain in First Texas Infantry regiment of Hood's Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. Reportedly one of Dallas' first millionaires.
~
AMONG THE KEY FIGURES in the evolution of Dallas from a frontier hamlet into a modern city must be rated Capt. William H. Gaston, pioneer banker, "discoverer" of East Dallas, and a potent factor in the establishment of the State Fair of Texas. When he died in 1927 In his eighty-seventh year, he was one of the last surviving citizens of Dallas who could recall at firsthand the Great Fire of 1860, a dis­aster that, on the eve of the Civil War, destroyed most of the village of Dallas.

He had not actually seen the conflagration, having passed through the town the day before with his father, R. K. Gaston, on the way to Fort Worth. But the ruins were still smoldering when they returned this way the day after the catastrophe. He never to the end of his days forgot the excitement throughout the Dallas area over what was believed at the time to be the work of Abolitionists inciting slaves to set the town on fire.

Young Gaston and his father were Alabamians who had moved to Texas four years after annexation to settle on a farm in Anderson County not far from Palestine. Despite the burning of Dallas, the North Texas settlement caught the fancy and imagination of the twenty-year-old visitor. He resolved in time to cast his lot with John Neely Bryan's future metropolis, but the Civil War intervened to delay his move to Dallas. With three of his brothers he volunteered for service in the army of the Confederacy. He saw rough service east of the Mississippi, mainly in Hood's Texas Brigade, and he returned home with the rank of captain. He put in one or two cotton crops, then in 1868 set out on his own for the town he had chosen. The new­comer thought that Dallas needed a bank and he offered himself as a banker. Some time before, T. C. Jordan had opened the first bank in Dallas but had since closed it and left town.

Young Gaston formed a partnership with C. A. Camp, in a private bank, with an initial capital of $20,000. Camp soon withdrew, being replaced as a partner by Capt. W. H. Thomas. Their banking house was on Main Street on the north side of the courthouse square, about where the Records Building now stands. This pioneer private bank continued in that location for the next thirty years.

Captain Gaston was equally interested in land investment. He had a young family now, having married before leaving Anderson County, and he bought ten acres of land for a homesite. It was on the road recently opened by A. J. Ross and his brother, William. It included the northwest corner of present Ross Avenue and Pearl Street where the A. H. Belo home (now Sparkman Funeral Home, 1977) would be built later. He paid $100 an acre for the land. "James M. Patterson, one of the first merchants who had located in Dallas, lectured me for paying such a high price for the property," Captain Gaston recalled in later years.

Three years later, in 1871, Captain Gaston took a much more ambitious flyer in real estate. He bought forty acres of land just be­yond the eastern edge of Dallas in what would become the heart of the separate city of East Dallas.

There on the old White Rock Road which ran through it (now Swiss Avenue) he built his permanent home, a two-story colonnaded mansion that was long one of the showplaces of Dallas. ( The home­site at Swiss and St. Joseph Street is now occupied by the Dallas Theological Seminary.)

The only drawback was the scarcity of Captain Gaston's neigh­bors. The nearest family was that of Jefferson Peak, who lived a mile farther to the east. The only houses between the Gaston home and Central Expressway of today were those of Jacob Nussbaumer and Henry Boll, members of the Swiss colony that was to give Swiss Avenue its name. "I offered five acres free to G. M. Swink if he would build his home on them," Captain Gaston remembered, "but he said it was too far out. He insisted he could not spend all day coming and going to town." Others whom Captain Gaston approached with like offers laughed at him, saying if they were going to the country, they "would go over and settle on the East Fork of the Trinity and be done with it."

Dallas at the time was pulling all available strings to get some railroads. The first, the north-south line of the Houston & Texas Cen­tral, brought the first train into Dallas in July, 1872. As it was equally important to get the east-west line of the Texas & Pacific to cross the first one in Dallas, Captain Gaston added greatly to this inducement by giving the T&P right of way through his four hundred acres from the present fairgrounds to the Central Railroad. He also gave the land for the union depot that was built at the intersection of the two railroads.

Captain Gaston also put up $500 toward the city's first streetcar line, a mule-drawn track on Main Street covering the mile between the union depot and the courthouse. It was operated by his friend G. M. Swink, the city's first "traction magnate." There was a steep grade at that time on Main, just west of Ervay, and the brakes on one of the first streetcars failed one day, with the vehicle plunging headlong down the grade to run over and kill the mule. There were no other casualties.

By 1882 there were enough people living in the area pioneered by Captain Gaston to incorporate the city of East Dallas. As its most prominent citizen, he was offered the post of mayor—an honor which he declined. He never accepted any elective office, although as one of Dallas's leading bankers he served for a time by appointment as city treasurer of East Dallas. That was before it was merged with the parent city in 1890.

Captain Gaston's most memorable contribution to East Dallas— and to Dallas as a whole as well as the entire state—was his part in the organization of the State Fair in 1886.
Dallas Gateway: Pioneers of Dallas County


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