The Heritage of Daniel Haston


Signatures of Daniel Haston

Handwriting analysts (graphologists) tell us that much can be learned from studying a person's handwritten signature.  While it would be interesting to learn more about the personality and other psychological traits of Daniel Haston, from the "Daniel" signatures that we have located we would be happy just to determine these three things:  
  • First, was our Daniel Haston a literate man?  
  • Second, if he was literate in German was he also literate in English?
  • Third, did this Daniel Haston personally sign to receive a Revolutionary War land grant from the state of North Carolina on September 29, 1785?

Keep in mind: "In some cases Germans may appear as illiterates when in reality it was simply they didn't know the English language.  They would pronounce their name with their German accent and the clerk of the court or other in charge of keeping records would spell the name phonetically as it sounded to them."
Source: Page III from History of the Descendants of John Koontz by Lowell L. Koontz, 1979.

We invite you to participate with us in this process of analyzing the following "Daniel" signatures in order to answer the above questions.  Please study the signatures for yourself and then record and submit your personal analysis of this data.  You can also read and review your analysis, as well as the analyses that other Daniel Haston researchers have submitted.

Analyze the Daniel Haston - Daniel Hiestend Signatures

Read Existing Analyses of Daniel Signatures

 Document Scans 2001 by Wayne Haston

1777 Dunmore County, Virginia Signature
This signature of Daniel Hiestand, son of Swiss-German Henry Hiestand of Page County, VA, appeared on a March 25, 1777 Dunmore County, VA estate settlement document related to the death of Frederick Gimlin, father of Andrew Gimlin (Gimling).  The surname was originally written in a German script and then someone (perhaps a family researcher at a later date) translated it into English.  When we compare Andrew Gimling's (brother in law to Daniel Hiestand) signature, on this document, with another signature of his (Andrew's) name that appeared on Henry Hiestand's will (three days earlier), it seems clear that his (Andrew's) signature was a bonafide self-signature and not one signed by the court clerk.  Are we to assume then that Daniel Hiestand's was also a bonafide personal signature?  Read the German script for Jacob's and Daniel's surnames.  They clearly seem to be written by different people.  This has been verified by a researcher who reads German script.  This person said that Daniel seemed to be more as ease with his writing, which would suggest that he was more literate than Jacob.  Their (Jacob's & Daniel's) first names may have been written by the same clerk, but it seems that the the surname handwriting is different for their names.  Perhaps Jacob & Daniel both wrote their surnames in their own handwriting in German, but maybe the clerk added their given names in English.  A clerk probably wrote the English spellings of their surnames.

Source for Daniel Hiestand signature:  Estate settlement, in Shenandoah (now Page) County, VA, for Frederick Gimlin, father of Andrew Gimlin.  The document bears a date of March 25, 1777, which happens to be three days after Henry Hiestand's will was created, in which Daniel Hiestand was somewhat reprimanded by his father. 

1785 Fairfield, NC Signature
This signature appears on the September 1785 Revolutionary War land grant that was assigned to a Daniel Haston at Fairfield, NC.  It can and has been argued that what was purported to be a personal "Daniel Haston" signature was actually written by Willoughby Williams, Deputy Secretary (and son-in-law) to NC Secretary of State, James Glasgow.  Williams was the clerk who created the document.  Compare this signature, for yourself, with the handwriting of clerk Williams.  The North Carolina official, William Faircloth, who assigned this land grant and Willoughby Williams, who wrote the "Daniel Haston" land grant, were both incriminated later for forging NC Revolutionary War land grant documents in what became known as the Glasgow Land Fraud.  Willoughby was one of three men, including James Glasgow, to be tried and convicted.  William Faircloth died before the case went to court.

Source for NC Rev War land grant signature:  NC Secretary of State Land Grant Records, Warrants, Surveys, and Related Documents, Tennessee County, TN, S.108.388; frames #721-725:  File #201, Thomas Archer, assignee of Daniel Haston (Military Warrant No. 2344), 640 acres, Grant No. 1490, 4 Jan 1791.  Available from the NC State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

1800 Knox County, TN Signature
Daniel Haston signed as a security in support of his son Joseph Hasting (Haston) in the April, 1800 Knox County, TN "timothy lot" court case, Samuel Cowan vs Joseph Hasting.  Daniel's signature appears between those of Joseph and David.  However, notice that Daniel only provided "his mark."  The handwriting in the document seems to indicate that Daniel's "signature" was written by the clerk who wrote the document.  Joseph's signature is clearly distinct from the handwriting style that appears throughout the document, as is David's.  David's signature here matches the handwriting of his (David's) signature on his May 5, 1800 Knox County, TN marriage papers.  Does this mean that our Daniel Haston could not write his name (in English)?  If so, what does this tell us about the other "signatures" that we have for Daniel?  If he could write in English, but he only signed with "his mark" here, how can that be explained, especially since Joseph's and David's signatures seem valid?  The bond money that Daniel, Joseph, and David put up was $2000 in "1800 money!"  Surely, with this amount of money at stake, a literate Daniel Haston would not have allowed a clerk to sign his name without him (Daniel) being present and participating in the act.  It could be argued that Daniel was literate, but that his primary language was German and that the Knox County court would not accept German script.

Source for Knox County, TN court signature:  Samuel Cowan vs Joseph Haston; Knox County, TN Court Case File: Docket # 138511235, (1800).  Vol. 3 Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions, 1800-1802 (p. 76 / p. 100), # 1235, 1385.  Available from Knox County, TN Archives.  The 1800 David Haston marriage bonds document is also available from the Knox County, TN Archives.  

1806 White County, TN Petition Signature
In 1806, 155 men from what is now White County, TN signed a petition to form White County from Jackson County.  This "Daniel" signature appears on page three, the final page, of that document.  This page begins with the phrase "by his neighbours" (whoever "his" might have been?) and is dated July 22, 1806.  Despite the "Dannel Hasstont" spelling, it must be the name of our Daniel Haston because it appears just six signatures down from "Joseph Haston."  Also, many of the men whose names appear on this page are men known to have lived near Daniel Haston in that era.  But is it a bonafide personal, self-written signature of Daniel Haston?   

The Isam Bradley (who was marriage bondsman for David Haston in 1800 Knox County, TN) signature, that appears eight places above Daniel's name, seems to match his (Isam's) signature on David Haston's marriage papers.  However, the Joseph Haston signature on this document seems to bear no resemblance to Joseph's signature on the 1800 Knox County "timothy lot" court document.  Long-time Haston researcher, Dwight Haston, who is a descendent of Joseph, believes that Joseph still had Roane County (just west of Knox County), TN ties at this time and that he may have gone back to Roane County temporarily.

We can probably assume that many, if not most, of the signatures on this list were the actual personal signatures of the men represented.  However, interspersed throughout the list are several names that appear to have been written by the same person who wrote other names.  It is possible that the men who were literate wrote their own names and that the man or men who circulated the list wrote the names for the men who could not write (in English).  Perhaps someone wrote Joseph's name because he, although a resident of the area, was unavailable at the time.  Did Daniel sign his own name or did another man sign it for him, mistaking Haston for Hasstont?  It seems clear that whoever wrote "Joseph Haston" was not the same person who, just six signatures down, wrote "Dannel Hasstont."  At first glance it appears to be a unique signature, different in handwriting style from the others around it, but examine it for yourself.  For example, compare the capital "D's" and capital "H's" of Daniel's signature with other names on the page.

The harsh sounding "tont" ending for "Hass-tont" fits with what we know about Daniel's Swiss-German roots. The surname probably ended with a "t" in its original form in Germany and Switzerland--Hiestandt.

Source for White County, TN petition signature:  Legislative Petition # 5-1-1806, Petition for the Formation of White County from Jackson County, TN. Available from the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Do you know of other Daniel Hiestend / Daniel Haston signatures?  If so, please contact us


Analytical Response Form For "Daniel" Signatures

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Signature Comparisons

Which of the last three signatures (or "mark") do you think is more likely to be a genuine self-written signature (or "mark") of our Daniel Haston?

NC Land Grant Signature
Knox County, TN Court Document "Mark"
White County, TN Petition Signature

Explain why you think the signature that you selected is more likely, than the others, to be genuine:

Do you see any similarities between the last three (NC Land Grant, Knox County Court Document, & White County Petition) signatures?


If so, please explain the similarities you see.

Do you think that either of the last three signatures matches the Daniel Hiestend (top) signature?


If so, which of the last three signatures best matches the (top) Daniel Hiestend signature?

NC Land Grant
Knox County Court Document
White County Petition

Optional Observations or Questions

Please record any observations or questions that you have regarding any or all of the four "Daniel" signatures:

Dunmore County, VA "Daniel Hiestend" Signature

North Carolina Land Grant "Daniel Haston" Signature

Knox County, TN "Daniel Hasting" Mark/Signature

White County, TN "Dannel Hasstont" Signature

General Observations or Questions (Top of Page)

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Four "Daniel" Signatures

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