The Heritage of Daniel Haston

 

 

In Search of Our Roots


Richterswil, Switzerland Rise & Persecution of Anabaptists Ibersheim, Germany Emigration to America
    

 


In Search of Our Roots
A Brief Historical Overview of Our Family's Search - the Descendants of Daniel Haston - for our European Roots

The desire of Daniel Haston's descendants to know our European ethnicity did not begin with the genealogical interest that surged in the final decade of the 20th century, due to the availability of personal computers and internet access to repositories of family records and historical documents.  Research files and notes from Haston family researchers in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s reveal that their major quest was to know the European origin of Daniel Haston's ancestors.  Who and what are we--English, Dutch from Holland, Irish, Scots, Scots-Irish, Germans, Swiss, Swiss-Germans? 

Opinions about our ethnicity have varied greatly and sometimes been held tenaciously.  "My granddaddy told me..." oral histories within the various sub-branches of the Daniel Haston family have often become accepted as true, even without supporting historical evidence.  Even some of Daniel's grandchildren, two or three generations removed from Daniel, varied in their opinions.  Surely, Daniel's own children would have known their roots--especially the older ones, such as David and Joseph and Catherine.  But apparently there was not much interest in communicating and perpetuating knowledge of their family's history from generation to generation.  According to John Rice Irwin, founder of the Museum of Appalachia, early European immigrants into Appalachia did not spend a lot of time looking back to their roots "across the waters."

"As a child growing up in a rural isolated section of the East Tennessee mountains, I wondered why the old folks, with whom I spent much of my time, never talked about their European origins.  They were a colorful, jolly lot, and they, of all people, were wont to tell stories about their families, about the wild and romantic frontier their fathers and mothers tamed.  They were reflective, philosophical, and even studious when it came to unwritten history; but in referring to the 'old' family members they never got beyond Virginia, North Carolina, or possibly Pennsylvania."

"I never heard a family member nor a neighbor talk of someone being English, German, Italian, Scotch-Irish or anything else.  Having reflected on this for years I've concluded that because of generations of migration, the continuing flow of lore and stories of ancestry was almost totally broken.  There was little or no contact with parents, and most often there was none at all with grandparents.  So, we were all Americans, and if pushed as to where one's family was from, the family patriarch might say...'they came from across the waters.'"

Dr. John Rice Irwin (Founder and Director, Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee)
From page 10, The Scots-Irish in the Hills of Tennessee by Billy Kennedy.

Prior to the 2008 DNA results that prove, beyond doubt, that Daniel Haston was the son of Swiss-German immigrant Henrich Hiestand, there were three major views of our European ethnicity and country-of-origin that were commonly held by various members of the extensive family of Daniel Haston's descendants.


English

The 1790 Federal Census recorded 136 heads of households with the Hastings surname.  Seven of the Hastings households were in CT, eighty were in MA, two were in ME, twelve were in NC, twenty-one were in NH, one was in NY, five were in PA, one was in RI, and seven were in VT.  

One large family of Hastings descended from its progenitor, Thomas Hastings (about 1605-1685), who came from England to Watertown, MA in America in 1634.  The Thomas Hastings descendents probably account for most of the New England Hastings families, which was by far the majority of the Hastings in America in 1790.  The Thomas Hastings family was documented in a book published in 1866, The Hastings Memorial, A Genealogical Account of the Descendants of Thomas Hastings of Watertown, Mass. From 1634 to 1864 by Lydia Hastings Nelson.

Another family of English Hastings trace their American roots to John and Mary Hastings who appeared in Henrico County, Virginia (Richmond area) in 1703.  John died in about 1719 and his known sons (John, George, and Henry) extended his legacy, west of Richmond into Amelia County and Mecklenburg County.   The name "Hastin" and other similar names were adopted by many of these descendents of John and Mary.  Some members of this Hastin/Hastins/Haisten/Hastings family moved down into various counties of North Carolina, Fayette County in Georgia, and later to other southern and western parts of the new country.  Robert Wayne Haisten's Haisten: A 250-Year History of the Haisten Family (copyright 1983) focuses on this family.  

The Henry Hastings family of Orange County, NC has often been connected to the Hastings of the Henrico, Amelia, and Mecklenburg counties of Virginia.  In his book, Robert Wayne Haisten wrote "The Henry Hastings under discussion (son of George Hastings and grandson of immigrants John and Mary Hastings) ... seems to have removed to Orange County, North Carolina."  However, in his January 31, 1985 updated addendum to the book, Mr. Haisten published a correction to this statement.  Apparently, there is evidence to suggest that the Henry Hastings of Orange County, NC was not connected to the Virginia family, but that he was first-generation to America, arriving from England through Maryland to Orange County, NC.  The Hastings families of south central Tennessee (such counties as Bedford and Franklin and Williamson and Marshall) are descendents of this North Carolina Henry Hastings.  

On a Keener Family website (that apparently no longer exists), it was recorded that Giles Hastings claimed Henry Hastings "to be the son of Theophilus Henry Hastings who was sent from England in 1715 to the North Carolina Colonies to aid the Colonists in the organization of the fight against the Indians."  The site also acknowledged the original (pre-addendum) claim of Robert Wayne Haisten's book that Henry Hastings was the son of George Hastings (of Amelia County, VA).

Some Haston Family Oral History That Favored the English Ancestry

Some descendants of Daniel Haston have believed that Daniel and/or his ancestors were from England. Sometimes, adherents of this English theory attempted to tie him to one of the English "Hastings" families that immigrated to America in the 1600s or 1700s and settled in Watertown, MA or Amelia County, VA or the Orange County area of NC.

Those of us who bear Daniel's "Haston" surname, know the tendency for others to look right at "Haston" and pronounce it "Hastings" or to hear us clearly introduce our self as "Haston" and yet respond, "Hello, Mr. Hastings."  That is probably due to the fact that the name Hasting or Hastings is much more common than our H-A-S-T-O-N surname. 

James Thomas Hasting - Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
Some members of Daniel Haston's family, after leaving White County, TN, did adopt the Hasting or Hastings spelling of the name.  According to Howard H. Hasting, active Daniel Haston researcher in the post-war 1940s through the 1970s, "The Arkansas family held a 'family meeting' in Yell County, not long after moving to that county, at which it was decided to spell the name 'Hasting," because--as they said--that was the correct and original spelling."  Howard H. Hasting learned of this Yell County, Arkansas meeting from his father (James Isaac Hasting) who was an infant when the meeting happened, who later heard of the meeting from his father (James Thomas Hasting) who participated in the family's name change.  James Thomas Hasting's father was Isaac Haston, son of Joseph Haston, son of Daniel Haston.  Mr. Howard H. Hasting goes on to explain that this must have been done after 1880, because the 1880 census for that county lists the family name as "Haston." One wonders if they just got tired of having people confuse their name for Hasting or Hastings.
Source: Page 33 by Howard H. Hasting's research report, "The Daniel Haston Family" (available on this site).

Pleasant Dawson Hastain - Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
A biographical entry for "P.D. Hastain" was included in the 1895 Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis Counties, Missouri.  Pleasant Dawson Hastain was the son of Daniel M. Haston/Hastain, who was son of David Haston, son of Daniel Haston.  The record states that the name was originally "Hasting" and that his grandfather (probably thinking of Pleasant Dawson Hastain's great grandfather, Daniel) came from England.  These "vanity biographies" were popular around the turn of the 19th century and often contained inaccuracies based on the family's oral history or editorial assumptions. 
Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis Counties, Missouri by Chapman Publishing Company of Chicago, published 1895 (Library of Congress - F 472 JE P8).

Henry Pleasant and Samuel Perry Hastings - Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
In a November 3, 1960 letter from Samuel Perry Hastings (grandson of Isaac and great-grandson of Daniel) to his niece Laurann Coleman, Mr. Hastings wrote, "Pleasant (Henry Pleasant Hastings, Perry's brother) told that Pa told that there three brothers who came over from England."  It isn't clear if the "Pa" was Pleasant's and Samuel Perry's father, Hartwell Greene Hastings, or their grandfather, Isaac Haston.  In either case, here is a statement of English ancestry by someone who was only a few generations removed from Daniel Haston.
Source: Letter in Wayne Haston's Isaac Haston file.

Woodson A. Hastain - Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
Woodson A. Hastain, was the son of Daniel McCumskey and Anna (Green) Haston/Hastain.  A biographical entry for him, in the History of Henry County, MO, states that "It will thus be seen that the Hastains are of the purest and oldest American stock of undoubted colonial ancestry of English origin."  The reliability of the source, however, is called into question due to several known errors in the entry (dates of David and Margaret Haston's births, etc.).
Source:  Page 446 of History of Henry County, MO by Uel W. Lamkin; Historical Publishing Company, 1919.

John Lawrence Haston - Great-Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
A similar entry for a biographical record for John Lawrence Haston (son of David Lavender Haston, grandson of Isaac T. Haston, great grandson of David Haston, great-great grandson of Daniel Haston) stated that:   "The Haston name as used in this country is a derivation from the old English Name of Hastings, borne by the progenitor of the family in America.  As the years have passed, like many other names, this has gradually changed to its present form.  The great-grandfather of Mr. Haston, who spelled his name Hastons, came to Tennessee from the Carolinas, and settled in Warren county, where he reared a large family."  John Lawrence Haston's great-grandfather was David Haston, not Daniel.  But perhaps he was referring to David Haston who came with his father's (Daniel's) family and also reared a large family, as did Daniel.  The credibility of this reference is weakened by the fact that known errors appear in the account.  For example, David Haston settled in White County, not Warren County.  The account goes on (just below the aforementioned reference) to state that John Lawrence Haston was the son of D.L. Haston, who was the son of J.H. Haston.  The various sources we have indicate that John Lawrence Haston's father, D.L. (David Lavender) Haston, was the son of Isaac T. Haston, David's son.  We have no record of David Haston (son of Daniel) having a son with the initials "J.H."
Source: Page 1725, Volume VI of A History of Tennessee and Tennesseans by Will T. Hale and Dixon L. Merritt; Chicago and New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1913.
 

So at least as early as the generation of Daniel's great-grandchildren, some of his offspring thought their European roots were in England.  But none of these claims cited documentation or other kinds of plausible evidence to support a connection to either of the English Hastings families in America or any other proof of English ancestry for Daniel Haston.

 


Scots-Irish

The "Haston" surname is known to be native to Scotland, leading some descendants of Daniel Haston to assume that we are Scots or Scots-Irish (also known as Ulster Scots).  For example, the late Dougal Haston, of climbing fame in the Alps and on Mount Everest, was born in Scotland.  And to this day, the Haston name is still common in Scotland. 

Dougal Haston believed that the Hestan/Haston family of Scotland descended from the ancient Vikings who used to winter their ships on the Isle of Hestan, and other islands of the Auchencairn Bay along the southern coast of Scotland, in preparation of invasions of Britain.  Apparently, the Hestan Isle was a haven for smugglers in the 1600s and 1700s. 
 

HASTAN, of local origin from the island of Hestan in the parish of Rerrick, Kirkcudbrightshire.  John Hestan was resident in the parish of Borgue, and William Hastine and Thomas Hastan were residents in the parish of Senneck, 1684 (RPC., 3. ser. ix, p. 567, 569).  Janet Hasten is recorded in Torphichen, 1712 (Torphichen).
From page 346 of The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History by George F. Black, PhD (NY: New York Public Library, 1946).

Original sources:  RPC = Register of the Privy Council of Scotland. 1. series. v. 1-14 (1545-1625); 2. series. v. 1-8 (1625-1660); 3. series. v. 1-14 (1661-1689). Edinburgh, 1877-1933.  Torphichen = Register of baptisms, proclamations, marriages, and mortcloth dues contained in the kirk-session records of the parish of Torphichen, 1673-1714.  Edinburgh, 1911.

Apparently, based only on the similarity of the surnames, some earlier Haston family researchers concluded, without any connecting documentation or other hard evidence, that Daniel Haston descended from John Haston of Edinburgh, Scotland, through his son Thomas Haston who married Polly Stacy, and through their son William Haston who married Allison Montgomery in 1735 in Amelia County, VA.  Thus, Daniel (according to these assumptions) was of Scottish descent.  And that view is still being circulated, even though it is totally unsubstantiated. 

It might make sense to assume that Daniel Haston's family was rooted in Scotland, IF we were not aware that Daniel's real/original surname was not "Haston" or something very similar.  

Scots-Irish Emigration to America and Influx into Tennessee

At the same time Swiss-Germans were emigrating en masse from Germany to America in the 1700s, another even more massive migration from Europe to America was underway.  More than 200,000 people emigrated from Ulster, a province in the north of the island of Ireland, between 1710 and 1775.  They fled Ulster to escape escalating rent, frequent crop failures, economic pressures, and hope for greater opportunities in America.  Although in America they were sometimes referred to as Irish, most of them were actually descendants of Scottish Presbyterians who had moved from the lowlands of Scotland to northern Ireland in the early 1600s.  King James - "King of Great Britain and Ireland" - had enticed them with the promise of land to establish a government-sanctioned protestant colony in Ireland, the Plantation of Ulster.  Thus, they became known as Scots-Irish (in America) or Ulster Scots (in Great Britain). 

The preponderance of people in East and Middle Tennessee seem to have been Scots-Irish in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  Scots-Irish writer from Belfast, Billy Kennedy, has said that "according to the Tennessee census bureau, one in five Tennesseans can trace their roots directly to the Scots-Irish settlers of the 18th century."  In his book, The Scots-Irish in the Shenandoah Valley, Kennedy quoted a Mr. Kelly who made this remark in the 1889 Scotch-Irish Congress of Tennessee:

An overwhelming majority of the early settlers of Tennessee was Scotch-Irish.  Every Tennessean descending from our first settlers is to be put down as of this people if he cannot prove his descent to be otherwise.

Although Mr. Kelly's statement may exaggerate historical reality, the general gist of it is true.  All three Unite States presidents who came from Tennessee (Andrew Jackson, James Knox Polk, and Andrew Johnson) were Scots-Irish.  By 1885, 90 years into Tennessee's history, half of its governors were of this descent.  Genealogical research, particularly in the East Tennessee era of Daniel Haston's life, reveals that many, if not most, of the people who were somehow associated with Daniel's family were Scots-Irish.  Even the community in south Knox County where Daniel lived during his time there was named Iredell.  Iredell may have been so-named for the county of the same name in North Carolina or from the surname Iredell.  In either case, there is no doubt an Irish connection associated with it.

Monroe Seals, author of the History of White County, indicated that the "Irish and Scotch" accounted "overwhelmingly" for the racial stock of the early pioneers of White County, Tennessee.  He added that there was a small sprinkling of English, Welsh, and French.  Source: Page 132, original copyright 1935, reprint by Higginson Book Company of Salem, MA. 

In a 1938 tribute to Rev. James Tate Williams, Rev. Paul E. Doran (Supervisor of the Cumberland Mountain Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterians) echoed the preceding statement of Monroe Seals by saying that:  "White County...was settled by Scotch-Irish stock mainly from Virginia and North Carolina."  He then added: "Considering the race stock, it was natural that all the early churches [in White County] should be Presbyterians."

Scots-Irish Surnames in the Daniel Haston Family

It is a well known fact that a mother's or a grandmother's surname was often given as a first or middle name for children in early America.  That practice continues today, though not as often as it did in the 18th and 19th centuries.  

Files, letters, and research reports from some of the mid-20th century (and before) Daniel Haston researchers indicate that it was a fairly common belief among them, at that time, that Daniel Haston's middle name was Montgomery, which was one of the most prominent Scottish clan names.  However, we do not know of any documented evidence to prove that Montgomery was Daniel's middle name.  The closest we can come is to point to the 1830 Mortality List file compiled from a Survey of Revolutionary War Veterans for Pension Purposes, which refers to him (a farmer who had deceased in 1826 in White County, TN) as Daniel MG. (or MC) Hastings or Hastin.  But the authenticity of that file is in doubt.  The Montgomery given name (first or middle name) appeared no less than six times in the Haston family during the 1800s.  For example, David McCumskey Haston (David's son and Daniel's grandson) named his third child David Montgomery Haston in 1833.  And then there was Montgomery Greenville Haston a prominent Haston who lived near, and was often associated with members of, the Daniel Haston's family.  Although his connection to Daniel's family is still a mystery, he certainly lived among them as if he belonged. 

Also, some researchers believed that David Haston's middle name was McComisky, McComiskey, or some other similar spelling of the Irish or Scottish or Scots-Irish surname.  Currently, we have no hard evidence for McComisky as David Haston's middle name, and it is doubtful.  However, we do know that he and Peggy (David's wife, Margaret/Peggy Roddy) assigned the name McCumskey (a variant of McComisky) to their fifth child, Daniel McCumskey Haston.  Some family genealogists have speculated that perhaps this child received the name "Daniel" from his grandfather and "McCumskey" from his grandmother's (Daniel Haston's wife) maiden name.  Also, David and Peggy gave a later son the name David Mc. Haston.  Some say that the Mc. middle name for David's son David also stood for McCumskey.  Probably the "McCumskey" name came from David's wife's (Peggy Roddy's) family.  And if so, Daniel's son David would not have had McComiskey as his middle name.  A web search on August 7, 2000 for the name "McComisky" turned up a 1783 Baltimore, Maryland tax assessment record that led to evidence that appears to connect Peggy Roddy, wife of David Haston, to a McComisky family.  But that's another interesting and lengthy story.

Some Haston Oral History Claims of Scotland or Ireland as the Family's Country of Origin

In light of the "Haston" spelling that Daniel Hiestand's English-literate sons adopted (apparently, while living in Knox County around 1800), the prevalence of Scots-Irish neighbors among whom the family lived in Tennessee, and the frequent assignment of Scots-Irish names to Haston kids, it is not surprising that early-generation descendants of Daniel would begin to assume that they were Scots or Irish or Scots-Irish. 

E.S. Haston - Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
The E.S. Haston biographical entry in the 1887 Goodspeed's History of Tennessee County Histories correctly says that his father was Isaac T. Haston and his grandfather was David Haston.  E.S. was born September 11, 1850, which means that he was 10 1/2 years old when his grandfather, David, died (April 1, 1860). E.S. grew up in the same community where his grandfather lived and would, no doubt, known his grandfather (who would have known his European ancestry) well.  The E.S. Haston 1887 biographical entry says that he was of Irish descent. 
 

Early history books often referred to the Scots-Irish as "Irish."  Who knows whether or not that is what was intended in the Goodspeed biography for E.S. Haston, or did the biographer mean that E.S. was a true (non Scots-Irish) Irishman?  It is true that the Scots-Irish did come to America from Ireland (the Ulster Province of NE Ireland), although they were not native to Ireland.  Billy Kennedy (page 27 of The Scots-Irish in the Hills of Tennessee) also stated:  "The early Presbyterians from Ireland [i.e. the Scots-Irish] generally knew themselves simply as 'Irish' and were thus known by the other colonists.  The later establishment and rapid growth of highly visible Irish Roman Catholic communities led many Protestants in the United States to adopt the Scotch-Irish label."

John Taylor Haston - Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
On his Form 2, of the Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaire, John Taylor Haston (great grandson of Daniel, through Joseph and Joseph's oldest son, James Alford Haston) said "My Great Grand Father came from Irland [sic] and were married to Sarah Creeley who came from Germany Something over a hundred years ago and settled in Tenn."  Actually, his grandfather (Joseph Haston) was married to Sarah Creeley. 
Source: Received from him by the TN Historical Committee on September 29, 1922.  

Dicie M. Haston-Cummings-Shockley - Great-Great Granddaughter of Daniel Haston
A mulatto woman who claimed to have been a granddaughter of Daniel Haston, Dicie M. Haston-Cummings-Shockley, supposedly told her grandson, William E. Shockley, that "her Grand Father came from Scottland [sic]."  Dicie was born about 1834 and lived very near David Haston and other 2nd and 3rd generation (to Daniel Haston) Hastons. 
Note:  Daniel Haston would probably have been her great grandfather...not her grandfather.
Source: Undated letter ("Facts From Grandmother Dicie") from William E. Shockley

James Isaac Hasting - Great-Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
Howard H. Hasting, who was a diligent and prolific Daniel Haston family researcher in the late 1940s through the 1970s, wrote to another 1960s Haston researcher: "My father always said that the family was Scotch-Irish...." 

But in his research report which was released in 1980, Mr. Hasting stated:

All evidence indicates that the statement [by Daniel's grandson, William Carroll Haston, that Daniel Haston was of Dutch descent] as to the nationality of Daniel is correct, notwithstanding contrary statements by others. This may account for the various spellings of the name ­ an effort to spell a Dutch name in English.

Howard H. Hasting's father was James Isaac Hasting, son of James Thomas Haston, son of Isaac Haston, son of Joseph Haston, son of Daniel Haston.
Source: June 24, 1968 letter from Howard H. Hasting, attorney in San Antonio, TX to Dave R. Haston of Sparta, TN (in Wayne Haston's files).

Taylor Casto Haston - Great-Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
The journal of Taylor Casto Haston (born December 12, 1887 and died August 24, 1960), great, great grandson of Daniel Haston through Daniel's son Joseph) indicates that he believed he was from a Scottish family. 
Source: Email from Dwight Haston, grandson of Taylor Casto Haston

Clyde Dewitt Haston - Great-Great-Great Grandson of Daniel Haston
Daniel Merritt Haston, who grew up in Oklahoma, reported that as a lad of 10 to 12 years of age (1946-1947) his father (Clyde Dewitt Haston, 1893-1964) related a "bare oral outline" of their "descendency."  "To wit:  he said that our ancestors originated in Scotland and were Scots/Irish, English, and were early settlers in the American colonies."  Clyde Dewitt Haston was the son of Samuel Arthur Haston, son of David Montgomery Haston, son of James W. Haston, son of David Haston, son of Daniel.
Source: June 4, 2001 letter from Daniel Merritt Haston of Wiggins, MS to Wayne Haston of Lewisberry, PA.
 

As was true with the English theory of Daniel Haston's ancestry, the idea that the family was of Scots or Irish or Scots-Irish descent can be traced as far back as to some of Daniel's great-grandchildren.  But, again, their assertions seem to be based solely on oral history, without any supporting documentation or other hard evidence. 

 


Swiss-German

Throughout the history of our country, until recent decades, the word "Dutch" was commonly used to refer to persons of German descent, because "Deutsch" is the German word for "German language."  For example, in the Richard Green Waterhouse journal (Richard Green Waterhouse (1775-1827): Tennessee Pioneer by Elizabeth Waterhouse Layman), the author of the journal consistently refers to people of German descent (for example, the settlers of Lancaster and York Counties of PA, as well as others) as "Dutch."  In certain parts of the United States even today, "Dutch" is still known to be a proper reference to Germans or Swiss-Germans.  
 

The Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, are a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania and their descendants. This early wave of settlers, which would eventually coalesce to form the Pennsylvania Dutch, began in the late 17th century and concluded in the late 18th century. The majority of these immigrants originated in what is today southwestern Germany, i.e., Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg; other prominent groups were Alsatians, Dutch, French Huguenots (French Protestants), Moravians from Bohemia and Moravia, and Swiss.

Historically they have spoken the dialect of German known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch. In this context, the word "Dutch" does not refer to the Dutch people (Nederlanders) or their descendants, but to Deitsch or Deutsch (German).
Source:  "Pennsylvania Dutch" from Wikipedia

In referring to an early long hunter, Kasper Mansker, who visited the middle Tennessee area before it was settled by white settlers, a contemporary of Mansker referred to him as a "Dutchman...reportedly born aboard a ship when his German parents were immigrating to America." 
Source: Page 10 of The History of Van Buren County, Tennessee:  The Early Canebreakers, 1840-1940.  Salem, WV: Don Mills, Inc., 1987.

Thus, statements regarding Daniel and his ancestors being of "Dutch" descent indicate that the person making the statement thought that Daniel's roots were in Germany, not in Holland. 

Pleasant Austin - Grandson of Daniel Haston
A biographical sketch of Daniel's grandson, Pleasant Austin (son of John Austin, Sr. and Catherine Haston Austin) says that his mother (Catherine) was thought to have been of Dutch descent.  Pleasant Austin was born on September 8, 1820 which was six years prior to Daniel's death.  The Austins lived in the Lost Creek community, which is an extension of the Hickory Valley community in White County, about ten miles (down by the White's Cave and through Big Bottom and around to Cummingsville) from Daniel's home place.  So he grew up close enough to his grandfather that he would have known him personally, and at the age six, should have had memories of interacting with Daniel.  
Source:  Page 861 of Goodspeed's History of Tennessee Illustrated (White, Warren, DeKalb, Coffee, & Cannon Counties) [published 1887 by the Goodspeed Publishing Company of Nashville, TN]. (This book was published about 13 years before Pleasant Austin died.  Pleasant was 67 years old at the time of its publication.)

William Carroll Haston, Sr. - Grandson of Daniel Haston
The classic "Dutch descent" quote, referring to Daniel Haston, is attributed to William Carroll Haston, Sr.  In a biographical sketch of William Carroll Haston, published in A Biographical Record of the Cumberland Region by George A. Ogle and Company of Chicago (published in 1898), it is said of William Carroll Haston that "He was born here, March 2, 1829, and on the paternal side is of Dutch descent, his grandfather, Daniel Hastons [sic], being scarcely able to speak English.  At an early date, he [i.e. Daniel] came to Tennessee, locating in Van Buren County, near the spring now known as Haston's Big Spring, where he purchased the land now owned by our subject."  It is true that William Carroll never met his grandfather, since he was the youngest son of David and was not born until three years after Daniel's death in 1826.  On the other hand, it was he (William Carroll) who lived and died on the very property that was settled by his grandfather (Daniel) and would probably have had strong sentimental feelings, as well as "second hand memories" of his pioneer grandfather. William Carroll died about four years (1902) after the publication of the book that contained his biographical sketch.  At age 70 at the time of the book's publication, it is very possible that William Carroll Haston was the direct source of the information given in his biography.  

William Carroll Haston, Sr. was the grandson of Daniel through David, as was Pleasant Austin, through Catherine.  The descendents closest to Daniel, to whom published statements exist regarding their ancestry, both point to a "Dutch" descent.  

As stated previously, Howard H. Hasting, Sr. said:  "All evidence indicates that the statement as to the nationality of Daniel (in the William Carroll Haston bio) is correct, notwithstanding contrary statements by others.  This may account for the various spellings of the name--an effort to spell a Dutch name in English." 
Source: Page 5 of Howard H. Hasting, Sr.'s unpublished report on his Daniel Haston family research; written in 1954 and revised in 1980.

Hiestand researchers agree that the children of Henrich Hiestand would have been bilingual, but would have probably been more comfortable with the German language than English.  For example, the Bible entries in Peter Hiestand's Bible (brother of Daniel Hiestand) were written in German.  There is evidence that Daniel Hiestand/Haston could sign his name in the old German script, but other people signed for him when English was required.  This bilingualism, but preference for German, would seem to naturally fit the "scarcely able to speak English" comment regarding Daniel Haston in the William Carroll Haston, Sr. biography. 

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.
 

From the research records I have seen, it appears that prior to the 1950s or so, many (if not most or all) people who were conducting research regarding Daniel Haston and his European roots were focusing solely on the "Haston" (or slightly alternately spelled) surname.  Because Haston is a Scottish name, these earlier researchers focused on Scotland as the country of origin for our Haston family.  And they accepted, without any evidence known to me, the John Haston - Thomas Haston - William Haston Scottish lineage mentioned above.

But it seems that, in the 1950s or 1960s, someone (perhaps Dave and Estelle Haston of Sparta, TN or Howard H. Hasting of San Antonio, TX) discovered some 1700s-era records of the Swiss-German Henrich Hiestand Mennonite family of Shenandoah/Page County, Virginia who had a son named Daniel.  And, in light of the William Carroll Haston statement that his grandfather was of "Dutch" descent, it made sense to think that Daniel Haston might have been Henrich Hiestand's youngest son, Daniel Hiestand. 

When I began researching my Haston family in 1999, I determined to remain neutral regarding the European roots of Daniel Haston until I, or someone else, found adequate proof to declare with certainty where our Haston forefathers came from in Europe.  Other than hearsay-based statements or circumstantial evidence, no evidence emerged to support the English or Scots/Irish/Scots-Irish views.  But evidence, even strong evidence, did gradually accumulate to indicate that our Daniel Haston was, Daniel Hiestand, the son of the Swiss-German Henrich Hiestand.  Swiss-German means that the Hiestand family originated in Switzerland but lived in Germany for some time prior to emigrating to America.

When, in October 2008, I received my paternal lineage DNA results, my DNA matched perfectly (on all 43 points) the DNA of a Hiestand who is known to be a descendant of Henrich Hiestand through Henrich's oldest son, Jacob.  Since that time, male descendants of all known sons of Daniel Haston (David, Joseph, Isaac, Jesse, Jeremiah MC) have submitted DNA and the results have all been the same--perfect matches with this known descendant of Henrich Hiestand.  And, also since the earliest known match, our DNA has matched other known Swiss-German Hiestand men.

-Donald Wayne Haston - February 5, 2017 (Great-Great-Great-Great Grandson of Daniel Haston)
 
Descended from Daniel > David > William Carroll > Charles Thomas > Charles Beason > Ernest Boyd Haston