Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gaston's Lament

August 6, 1780 was a devastating day for John and Esther Gaston of Chester County, SC.  They had nine sons and three daughters.  ALL 9 sons fought in the War for Independence.  On that hot August day, three of their sons fell dead at the Battle of Hanging Rock.  Robert, David and Ebenezer perished on that one fateful afternoon.  A fourth son, Joseph, was severely wounded, taking a lead ball to the cheek.  The wound took a large chunk of his face and left an open and continually draining wound that would be there for life.  He actually survived until 1836.  Before he died he related a great deal of information about this little known, but pivotable battle in the War for Independence.  Another son, Alexander, succumbed to small pox just thirteen days later on August 20.  John's brother, Dr. Alexander Gaston, was murdered by the Redcoats just one year later while wife and son looked on in horror.  Freedom isn't free.  The Gaston's paid a terrible price for liberty.  They knew all too well the meaning of the Founders phrase in the Declaration that called for all patriots to sacrifice "their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor."  In honor of the this great families sacrifice I've written a poem / song to the memory of what must have been a day of mourning like none other.  It is to be sung to the tune of that classic Revolutionary song; Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier.  A few of the words are similar though the sorrow is universal and the sentiments are pure Gaston, hence the name...Gaston's Lament:

Here we sit on Hanging Rock Hill,
Me and Esther cryin' still.
All our tears a river could fill...
Our sons have gone for soldiers!

The Redcoats came with fear and dread,
at the Waxhaw's killed us dead.
Tarleton's Quarter flowing red...
Our sons have gone for soldiers!

We sold our farm, we sold our fields,
we sold our only water wheel,
to buy nine boys' all rifles primed...
Our sons have gone for soldiers!

Ebenezer, Robert and Dave,
it broke our hearts to see your graves.
Three in one day...Oh, NO, NO, NO!...
Our sons have gone for soldiers!

The Lord He gives and He takes away.
Three sweet boys were slain today.
They longed for peace yet died in war...
Our sons have gone for soldiers!

Brave lad Joseph God did spare.
He now lies wounded in His care,
to honor the lives of brothers three...
Our sons have gone for soldiers!

The war drags and victry is not won.
For our sons we bear our arms,
to rid ourselves of the kings tyranny...
Our Sons have gone for soldiers!

MANY thanks to Diana Nelson and her mom, Betty, for writing the score!  I am eternally grateful!

Rest in peace Gaston Family!

On a personal note, I, for the first time in my life, wrote and sang a song.  I was inspired to do so by the memory of my late sister, Carol Lovell.  She passed away in April of 2010.  She was an accomplished musician as well as a talented singer and song-writer.  As the only one of my generation left in the McCullough family, I honor her memory with Gaston's Lament.  After all, John "Justice" Gaston and Esther Waugh Gaston were her 5th great grandparents too!  Thank you, Carol, for inspiring me to write and sing this song about our brave ancestors!

Russ McCullough - 5th Great Grandson of John "Justice" Gaston, "Patriot of the Revolution"

1 comment:

  1. I have just discovered John Gaston, my husband's 5th great grandfather also. (I have no idea what kind of cousins that makes the two of you!) I've been reading about the tragedy at the Battle of Hanging Rock, and can't imagine the pain of that loss to John and Esther. Thank you so much for your touching tribute to this family. Kathy Davis