Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Bitter Sweet Visit

Inverted View of the Desecrated Grave of John and Esther Gaston - "Patriots of th
e Revolution"

Today I visited the grave of my 5th great grandparents, John "Justice" and Esther (Waugh) Gaston, "Patriots of the Revolution" for the very first time. 
It was a bitter sweet moment.
Sweet because after 6 years of searching, I finally found them.  (It wasn't easy)  Bitter because their grave has been all but forgotten save some very recent grave violators.
The last know photograph of their resting place was in 2006.  The grave was compromised sometime between then and now.  Here is what it looked like then:
Photo via "Find a Grave"

In 1782, the Gaston's were the most notable, significant and important people in all of upstate South Carolina.  John had rallied the entire population of Scot-Irish Presbyterians to oppose the brutal English invasion by force.  They suffered much and paid dearly for their patriotism.  All their worldly possessions, save the family Bible, were destroyed by the English.  The two loving parents of 13 children were chased all over South Carolina by the enemy.  John's brother, Dr. Alexander Gaston, was murdered in cold blood by British thugs as his wife and son looked on in horror.  They lost a son in the war due to smallpox and lost three more on a single day in a single battle, the "Battle of Hanging Rock."  Ebenezer, Robert and David Gaston all perished on 6 August 1780, just a few miles from home.

For their selfless service, the community honored John and Esther with the largest tombstone and the highest elevation resting place in the cemetery.  Time has nearly erased the memory of these great patriots.  May their memories be rekindled once more by a new generation of patriots!