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Charles and Anna C. (Dalander) Gaston

Photo page 389

Charles Winfield Gaston was born July 10, 1812, at Williamsport, Washington County, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles W. Gaston and Joanna Winters. Gaston enlisted on the 19th day of February, 1834, in Company I, the first Regiment of the United States Dragoons. He was listed on the roster as a weaver, six feet one inch tall, had a dark complexion, black eyes, and black hair.

At first, Gaston was stationed in Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, and later transferred to Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. His commander was Col. Stephen Kearney. At Fort Gibson, they watched and fought Indians. Later, this command was ordered to occupy the first Fort Des Moines in Lee County, Iowa. On the 7th of June, 1835, the Dragoons left on orders to go to Chief Wabasha's Village, near where Winona, Minnesota, now stands. In this expedition and under Col. Kearney, were Lieutenant Albert B. Lea, after whom Albert Lea, Minnesota, was named, and Lieutenant Nathan Boone, a son of the famous backwoodsman, Daniel Boone. Boone County was named for Nathan Boone. One of the camps of this company during the march was about six miles southwest of Colfax, in Jasper County, and it was named "Camp Gaston" after Charles. On the third day of the expedition, the Dragoons camped in Boone County, and again there on the return trip. Gaston was impressed with the country, and decided to return. Gaston was honorably discharged at Fort Des Moines on the 19th of February, 1837, and moved to Hannibal, Missouri.

Mr. Gaston's obituary indicates that he married four times; but the first record we find was of his marriage to Amanda Bonnell on the 31st day of January, 1843, in Platte County, Missouri. Gaston was married in 1848, to Anna Cathrina Dalander. Anna Cathrina was born December 20, 1817, the daughter of Eric Ericsson and Anna Larsdotter in Vasterlosa Parish, Ostergotland Co., Sweden. She immigrated with her mother, her brothers and sister to America, arriving at what is now Madrid in September, 1846. At that time, they became acquainted with Gaston who had already built a cabin and made his home here.

Anna and Charles were the parents of two sons, and two daughters, all of whom died as young children from diptheria. Their children were: Zachary T. Gaston, born January 3, 1849, and died January 22, 1859; Johanna Gaston, born June 2, 1850, and died September 15, 1855; Mathilda Amanda Gaston, born April 1, 1853, and died September 1, 1855; and Winfield S. Gaston, born September 28, 1856, and died January 22, 1859.

Their marriage had its problems. Charles was a rough-and-ready type. He was a true pioneer, preferring to live where people were few and far between. He had strong likes and dislikes and was inclined to be contemptuous and sarcastic of those who did not agree with him. In contrast, Anna appears to have been devout, a product of the pietist movement prevalent at the time her family emigrated from Sweden.

On one occasion, so the story goes, in the presence of a visitor at their cabin, Charles refused to allow Anna to go to church, threatening to kill her if she did. Without a word, Anna walked out the door, nonviolent, but none-the-less determined to go. Gaston apparently preferred to avoid physically restraining her with a guest in the house, and referred to her as being a brave woman.

Another story told is that one time, Anna was entertaining the Ladies Aid. Charles thought it was time for the visitors to leave, so he went up on the roof, and put a board on top of the chimney to smoke the ladies out.

While mourning the loss of her four children, Anna also indicated relief they died young, so they did not grow up to be like their father.

Anna died on the 9th of March, 1879, and Charles then married Jane Carmichel.

When his mother-in-law, Anna Dalander, died, Gaston was appointed Administrator of her Estate. Gaston soon had a quarrel with Mrs. Dalander's sons, and bad feelings developed. At this time, Gaston had a Spaniard in his employ, who often spoke of Spain and its capital. Gaston was one of the first non- Spanish white men in this formerly at-least-nominally Spanish territory, and he was contemptuous of everything Spanish. When it became necessary to make a third survey and an additional plat of Swede Point, Gaston, as the Administrator of Mrs. Dalander's Estate, renamed it "Madrid."

Gaston lived in Madrid after his third marriage, but soon tired of living in town. In 1887, he bought six acres of land one mile west of Madrid, and built a house there. It was there that his third wife and he died.

Charles Gaston died on the 20th of May, 1892, and was buried in the Dalander Cemetery near Anna Dalander Gaston. He ordered that he be buried facing the west rather than the east, as the Swedes were.

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