In 1832 the Congress of the United States passed legislation giving pensions to living veterans of the War for Independence. In order to qualify, a veteran had to appear before a probate judge in his county of residence with witnesses and assert in writing the facts of his service. I found James Gaston's pension application that he made in 1837. Ironically, or not, he made the application on the anniversary, 6 August 1837, of the Battle of Hanging Rock (6 August 1780) in which he was taken prisoner and three of his brothers, Ebenezer, Robert, and David, were killed. Another brother, Joseph, was severely wounded at Hanging Rock and nearly died. A good portion of his face was blown away and the wound never healed. The family farm was 2 miles east of the battlefield. James was 76 years old at the time of the application. James Gaston is my 4th Great Grandfather. He was one of nine sons of John "Justice" and Esther Waugh Gaston, "Patriots of the Revolution." James Gaston fathered Elihu Gaston who fathered James Monroe Gaston who fathered Lloyd Ulysses Gaston who fathered Nelly Gaston. Nelly married Russell H. McCullough Sr., my grandparents. Their son, Russell H. McCullough, Jr. was my father. Here is the transcription:
Declaration by James Gaston in Order to Obtain the Benefit of the Act of Congress of the
7th of June 1832
State of Illinois
County of Wayne
On the sixth day of August in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty Seven: Personally appeared in open court before the Probate Judge for the County of Wayne and State aforesaid James Gaston a resident of the county and state aforesaid aged seventy six years who being first duly sworn according to law doth make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions by the Act of Congress passed June the 7th 1832.
That he Entered the service of the United States in the latter part of the summer of 1778 as a draughted (?) man served in the regiment commanded by Col. Joseph Carhaw in the company commanded by Capt. John Marshall [? ?] was Charles Robinson. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln was the commanding general. Was in the Battle of Hanging Rock (SC) and was taken prisoner there, and was confined in the Camden Jail (SC) two months and nineteen days when he was paroled and returned home. When he was paroled he left John Adair, John Moor, and Alexander Brown in jail. On his arriving at home he found his Father's Farm and everything there destroyed. (He then) threw his parole in the fire and turned out volunteer in the company of Capt. William Ingram with whom he served until Christmas when he joined (?) company of Capt. William Nesbit (spl?) for three months, where he served until the first week of May in 1781. He has mentioned no written discharge. He was born in the Sate of Pennsylvania, Lancaster County, the 24th of July 1761. His father moved from Pennsylvania when he was about six years old to the State of South Carolina. Settled 28 miles north of Camden, two miles east of the Hanging Rock where he (James) resided nearly 40 years. From there he moved to Christian County, Kentucky in the year 1805. (He) lived there two years. He moved to Illinois where he has resided up to the present time. That Alexander Clark, John Clark, Vaughn Stuart, and (Marby (?) Staton are persons residing in his present neighborhood who will testify to character for veracity on his behalf of his services as a Soldier of the Revolution. (Signed and attested, etc.)
19th Century lithograph of what James Gaston called "The Hanging Rock" It is here where the wounded were brought for shade and care during and after the battle, 6 August 1780
John Gaston's resting place in Wayne County, Illinois. Image courtesy of "Find a Grave"