A New Bern Legend
by Claudia Houston, Historian, New Bern Historical Society
On January 23, 1844, the brilliant career of a most distinguished scholar, lawyer, landowner, US Representative, and NC Supreme Court judge ended with his death. Who was this most famous son of New Bern, North Carolina?
William Gaston was born in New Bern on September 19, 1778, to Dr. Alexander Gaston, an Irish Huguenot and surgeon, and Margaret Sharpe, a French Roman Catholic. Dr. Gaston, an ardent Patriot, was killed in New Bern in August 1781 while trying to flee British troops. Margaret Sharpe Gaston, age 26, was left a widow with three children.
Religion and education were extremely important to Mrs. Gaston; she was determined that her son was to be ...