The Heritage of Daniel Haston


Site Contents
A Brief Introduction to Daniel Hiestand/Haston's Life and Family

Daniel Hiestand/Haston - A Brief Historical Sketch

The Daniel (Hiestand) Haston, to whom this website is dedicated, moved from Knox County, TN to the southern part of the area of middle Tennessee that became White County, a year or two prior to that county's 1806 creation.  Circumstantial evidence seems to indicate that he was born in the mid-1750s and we know that he died in or about 1826. Daniel was buried in the church cemetery of the Big Fork Baptist Church, less than a mile from his home. 

For many years, Daniel Haston family researchers were not able to determine their European roots with any high degree of certainty.  Some evidence suggested that Daniel was of Swiss-German descent, but some of his descendents (even some of his great grandchildren) insisted that Daniel was of English or Scots-Irish descent.  In October of 2008, DNA testing confirmed that Wayne Haston (whose descent is from Daniel > David > William Carroll > Charles Thomas > Charles Beason > Ernest Boyd > to Donald Wayne) was definitely related to members of a Swiss-German (Anabaptist/Mennonite) Hiestand family. Subsequent DNA tests involving other descendents of Daniel Haston through all five of his known sons, have confirmed their connections to Daniel too.  This DNA evidence, combined with much historical and genealogical evidence compiled through years of research, indicates with no room for doubt that Daniel Haston was the son of a Swiss-German Mennonite, Heinrich Hiestand.

The European Hiestands, at least some or most of them, were Anabaptists (later known as Mennonites) in the village of Richterswil of Canton Zurich in Switzerland, but were forced to flee that country because of religious persecution by followers of the Swiss Protestant Reformer Ulrich Zwingli.  They moved in the mid-1600s to Ibersheim, a village near the Rhine River in southwest Germany, where they suffered hardships due to constantly being overrun by warring European armies and religious intolerance.   As a young man, Heinrich Hiestand left Germany and emigrated to America in about 1727.  In 1734 land was surveyed for him in Hempfield Township of Lancaster County, PA, but less than a decade later he purchased land and settled in what is now Page County, VA where he lived the remainder of his life.

A North Carolina Revolutionary War land grant and an 1830 mortality survey for Revolutionary War veterans, suggest that Daniel may have been a veteran of that war. However, some mysteries surrounding both of those documents make it impossible to affirm, for sure, his military service in the War of Independence. Most likely, our Daniel Haston was not a Revolutionary War soldier.  It is highly likely that the North Carolina military land grant containing the name "Daniel Haston" was forged.

A Shenandoah County, VA marriage record indicates that "Daniel Histand" married Christina Nave (or Neff) in that county in 1773. The date and location of that marriage, as well as the Hiestands' long-standing connections with the Nave/Neff family, make it virtually certain that "Daniel Histand" was "Daniel Haston," the subject of this website. It's very possible, based upon what we know of the mortality rate of frontier wives of that era and some very sketchy circumstantial research evidence, that Daniel was married more than once.  Christina, in fact, may have died early in their marriage before Daniel moved from Virginia.

Daniel seems to have been man of limited social and political involvement.  His known civic affairs are limited to several jury duty stints in Knox County, TN.  Even his institutional religious involvement has never, to our knowledge, been positively documented by researchers. Apparently, he never owned land until he was over 50 years of age when he received an 1807 occupant claim for 150 frontier acres in White County, TN. His name appears on the petition to form White County. Seemingly, he could not read nor write in English.  But, it is possible that he was literate in German, since we have a copy of his signature in German script.  Yet, his genealogical legacy is vast and, in many cases, impressive. Of the thousands of men and women who have knowingly or unknowingly descended from this humble American pioneer, many of those have served their generations nobly and with great positive impact.

Most of what we know about Daniel Haston is incorporated into the timeline of his known life which appears on this Heritage of Daniel Haston website.

Daniel's Family - Historical Sketches of His Children

One 1898 reference in a biographical sketch of William Carroll Haston (Daniel's grandson who inherited the Daniel Haston home site in what is now Van Buren County, TN) states that Daniel Haston had 13 children. Given the typical size of families in his day, that number seems reasonable enough. However, there are only six of his children that we can now identify with confident documentation. For example, a close link to Daniel has been established through DNA testing for the following men: David, Joseph, Isaac, Jesse, and Jeremiah MC. Due to the limitations of DNA testing with female descendants, we do not have similar DNA evidence for Catherine, but there is adequate historical-genealogical evidence to connect her to Daniel as his daughter.

David Haston - David was, apparently, the oldest son of Daniel Haston. He was born on May 6, 1777 in Virginia and married Margaret (Peggy) Roddy on May 5, 1800 in Knox County, TN. One of the most intriguing mysteries of Haston family research is an unexplained Roddy-McComisky connection that seems to be associated, in some way, with Peggy's family. The David Haston family Bible record indicates that David and Peggy had 13 children.  They moved to White County, TN and lived adjacent to David's father on the Haston Big Spring near the mouth of Cane Creek as it flows into the Caney Fork River.  David was very active in civic affairs, as a Justice of the Peace in White County and then later, when a new county was created from that county, in Van Buren County, TN.  One account states that he and Peggy were active Cumberland Presbyterians.  David died on April 1, 1860 and is buried in the Big Fork Cemetery very near his home.  Most of what we know about David Haston is incorporated into his timeline which exists on this site. Some of David and Peggy's children moved to Missouri and other places westward from Tennessee.

Joseph Haston - Joseph was born on January 9, 1780 according to one reported source, but the location of his birth is not stated, as is also true of his marriage to Sarah Ann Criely (Creely). Events in the timeline of Daniel's life seem to indicate that Joseph, as well as David, were born in Powell's Fort Valley on the Massanutten Mountain in Shenandoah County ,VA.  As an adult, Joesph lived with Daniel, his father, in Knox County, TN and settled adjacent to Daniel in White County, TN prior to the formation of that county.  Joseph's name appears on the petition for the formation of White County. He was appointed as constable of his district in 1824 and again in 1826, but died sometime prior to 1830. He was buried near his father in the Big Fork Cemetery.  Joseph's widow, Sarah lived until the mid to late 1850s.  Most of what we know about Joseph Haston is incorporated into his timeline which exists on this site.

Catherine Haston Austin - Catherine is reported in one source to have been born in 1776, but it is more likely that her birth occurred in the early 1790s.  A biographical sketch of one her sons indicates that she was born in Tennessee.  In about 1819, she married a prominent southern White County land owner, John Austin.  Mr. Austin's first wife, Rachel Denny, had died at some unknown time prior to that.  John and Catherine had six children and Catherine also became the stepmother of seven children born to Rachel.  After Catherine's death, in 1843, John Austin married again to Mary Ann Todd on January 17, 1844.  Catherine is buried in the Lost Creek Austin Cemetery in the Lost Creek area of southern White County, TN.  Our knowledge of Catherine Haston is limited and what we know is incorporated into her timeline on this site.

Isaac C. Haston/Hastings - Isaac was born in 1794 or 1795, probably in Knox County, TN.  He married Agnes Simpson in 1813 and enlisted for service in the War of 1812, shortly after his marriage.  Isaac was the most adventuresome pioneer of the known children of Daniel Haston.  When he was about 10 years old he moved from Knox County, with his father, to the Indian hunting grounds of middle Tennessee that would soon become White County.  In his adult life it appears that he struggled to establish himself and his family in White County.  Thus, in the mid 1820s he moved to the Hiwassee District (lands acquired from Cherokee Indians in 1819) and lived there, in Monroe and McMinn Counties of TN, for almost a decade.  After perhaps a brief return stint to White County, Isaac moved his family to Greene County, MO in about 1835, where he lived until 1857, when he loaded his family belongings into an ox cart and moved to what is now Sonoma County, CA.  He died there on March 27, 1872 and is buried in the Bennett Valley Cemetery of that county.  In Missouri and in California, the spelling of his surname vacillated between Hastin/Hasten and Hastings, gradually favoring the Hastings spelling.  Most of what we know about Isaac has been incorporated into his timeline on this site.

Jesse Haston - Jesse was born in about 1796, probably in the same Knox County, TN location as Isaac.  His 1815 marriage to Elizabeth Gillentine, daughter of Nicholas and Jane Elizabeth Terry Gillentine, is the only documented historical clue that we have to tie Jesse to the Daniel Haston family.  The Nicholas Gillentine family lived less than a mile from the Daniel Haston home.  But DNA evidence from a male descendent of Jesse has confirmed Jesse's connection to the Daniel Haston family.  Apparently, Jesse and Elizabeth moved to Howard County, MO soon after their marriage.  Jesse never appeared on any of the existing White County tax records.  Their son, Jesse, Jr., stated that his father moved from east Tennessee to Missouri in 1818.  In 1847, the same year that Elizabeth died, Jesse married Susan Catherine M. White.  Susan died just five years later and Jesse married Ann Juilet Barnes in 1853.  More than twenty children were born to Jesse, through these three wives.  As a slave-owning civilian, Jesse was killed by Federal soldiers on November 8, 1864 in a dispute over Jesse's horses.  He was buried on his family farm, about three miles east of Glasgow, MO. 

Jeremiah MC Haston - Jeremiah MC Hastings/Haston lived in the same general area of MO as Isaac Haston/Hastings in the 1840s and 1850s.  Jeremiah's identity as a possible descendant of Daniel Haston was a mystery to most Haston family researchers for a long time.  He was born in Tennessee and his age would have been in the same range as Daniel Haston's children, but researchers were not able to locate documented evidence to prove that he was related to Daniel.  DNA results from a male descendant of Jeremiah MC Haston has now confirmed his connection to Daniel's family.  An "MC" middle was given to two of David Haston's children, which has sparked much speculation about a connection to a McComisky family.  One source says that Jeremiah's MC middle name stood for "McKinley."

Probable Children of Daniel Haston

Elizabeth Haston Roddy - In 1793 a "James Roddey" married Elizabeth Haiston (or Houston) in Washington County, TN.  Daniel Haston probably lived there at that time.  In January 1800, Elizabeth Roddy and Daniel Hastings (Haston) were appointed as administrators for the estate of a deceased James Roddy in a Knox County, TN court.  There is fairly strong evidence that this Elizabeth was the daughter of Daniel Haston and that James Roddy was the son of Phillip and Mary McComiskey Roddy.  This same Elizabeth may have been the "Betsy Roddy" who married James Cox in Knox County, TN on April 9, 1801.

Note: According to some researchers, a Elizabeth Hastings or Hastins married Thomas Jefferson Johnson in White County, TN in about 1805-1806.  (Source: 1957 letter from Mildred M. Warren of Smackover, AR to Mary K. Mitchell of Sparta, TN - Image #002014 of Charles Leonard Papers TSLA microfilm AC #1421-3)

Lucinda Hastings Mitchell - Prior to 1806, Jacob Mitchell was one of four men to settle his family adjacent to a "Big Spring" near Cane Creek and the Caney Fork River in what would soon become southern White County, TN.  The others were Daniel Haston, Joseph Haston, and Isham Bradley, a friend of the Haston family.  We have been told that a Mitchell-Cowan Bible record (possession now unknown to us) states that Jacob Mitchell's wife was Lucinda Hastings.

Mary "Polly" Millikin - Mary "Polly" Hastings married James Milliken in Knox County, TN on September 4, 1805.  She died in Shelby County, IL in 1849.  The only evidence that we have which may connect her to Daniel Haston is the fact that she lived in Knox County at the time that some of Daniel's family was still there.  Daniel and Joseph may have moved on to middle Tennessee by 1805, but Daniel's son, David, and also possibly Daniel's wife, had temporarily remained behind in Knox County for a few years.

Daniel Haston of KY - A Daniel Haston lived in Adair County of south central KY in the early years of the 1800s.  He has, at times, been confused with Daniel Hiestend/Hestand, who was a grandson of Swiss-German Heinrich Hiestand of VA through Abraham Hiestand.  This Adair County, KY Daniel Haston married Chloe Skaggs, who died in 1807 (and remarried to Betsy Harrison in 1810).  When his daughter Louisa Hastings (Haston) married Thomas Taylor Green in 1829, the ceremony was performed in White County, TN  by David Haston, son of "our" Daniel Haston--strong evidence that this Daniel Haston of south central KY was closely related to the White County, TN Daniel Haston family.  Adair County, KY is approximately 100 miles due north of White County, TN.

Other Possible Children:

  • Thomas Haston appeared on a 1805 delinquent tax list for 640 acres on Roaring River in Jackson County, one of the counties from which White County, TN was formed in 1806.  Thomas Hastin was involved in a 1815 deed transaction in White County.  (Sources: March 20, 1805, Volume 5, #9 of The Tennessee Gazette - page 93 of Eddlemon's Genealogical Abstracts From Tennessee Newspapers - 1791-1808 and Page 690 of White County, TN Deed Book G)

  • George Haston (or Houston?) married Susanna Wray in Greene County, TN on August 21, 1786.  (Source: Page unknown of Tennessee First Settlers & Soldiers)

  • Jno. Haston was on a Washington County, TN jury duty list sometime during 1783.  (Source: TSLA Microfilm # 224: Box 1, Folder 11 - August-November, 1783 -  Washington Co, TN)

  • John Hasten appears on the 1820 Smith County, TN Federal Census.  More 
    (Source: Page 61 of TN 1820 Federal Census)

  • Henry Co, TN:  The names John Hastins, John Hastings, John MC Hastings & James Hastings appear in Henry County of NW Tennessee in the 1820s-1840s.  (Various sources from Henry Co, TN public records, available at TSLA in Nashville, TN)

Daniel's Children

Surname Spellings in the Daniel Haston Family
The spellings of Daniel Haston's family surname varied by times, places, and branches of the family as they spread across the expanding early American frontier.  This can partly be explained by illiteracy in some branches of the family and also by the fact that English-speaking clerks spelled German surnames the way they heard them pronounced, or simply by the way they preferred to spell them.  But, there is evidence to indicate that, in some cases, Hiestand family members simply chose to to adopt an agreed-upon spelling of their name.  And to gravitate toward an Anglicized sound and spelling was to their advantage.  Germans were generally in the minority--and not well liked--in most early American communities, other than parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia.  And Germans often had a reputation, valid or not, for being a cantankerous lot. 

Haston - Daniel Haston, apparently, was illiterate in English.  The only two of his children that we know to have been English-literate were David and Joseph.  They consistently signed their names as "Haston."  Even though Jesse was probably illiterate, his "Haston" surname spelling generally survived the forces of change, perhaps growing up under the influence of his older "Haston" brothers.

Hasten / Hastin - Clerks seem to have frequently mistaken the pronunciation of "Haston" to be "Hasten" or "Hastin," which would have been a easy mistake.  These spellings are common in Haston family records, but they probably were simple misspellings of "Haston."

As indicated above, in some cases, descendents of Daniel Haston seem to have made conscious choices to change the spelling of their family name.

Hastings -  The English surname of Hastings is fairly common throughout America.  One extensive Hastings family settled in Watertown, MA in the 1600s.  Another Hastings clan, who settled for a while in Orange County, NC, moved to middle Tennessee, on to Missouri, and then to many other places across the frontier.  Probably because of familiarity with this "Hastings" name, clerks seem to have preferred its spelling when recording documents for Daniel's descendents.  Isaac Haston / Hastings (who seems to have been illiterate) was a case in point.  In Missouri his name appeared as "Hasten" or "Hastin" on some documents, but it also appeared often as "Hasting" or "Hastings."  The same was true of his time in Sonoma County, CA, toward the end of his life.  It seems that Isaac's family finally succumbed (formally or informally) to the "Hastings" spelling, which became the standard for most of his offspring.  In 1895 a grandson of David Haston was quoted as saying that his grandfather (David, son of Daniel) changed the family name from what it was originally, "Hastings."  Even "Haston" family members today have to deal with this tendency for others to pronounce the Haston surname---"Hastings."

Hasting - In about 1880, one branch of Daniel Haston's family moved to Arkansas.  In a family meeting they decided to change the surname spelling to "Hasting" because they thought that this was the originally correct spelling.  It is true that "Hasting" was a common early spelling assigned by court clerks in Knox County and White County, TN.  However, while clerks were spelling the name "Hasting," David and Joseph were spelling their names "Haston."

Hastain - Some time after David Haston's son, Daniel McCumskey Haston, moved to Missouri, his surname spelling was changed to "Hastain."  The change seems to have been a conscious and popular choice, since the revised spelling has generally been passed down through his descendents and has been adopted by some other descendents of Daniel Haston who settled in Missouri.  In Benton County, MO there is a community, now virtually unpopulated, named after this "Hastain" family.

Surname Spellings