The John Abston Chapter, NSDAR was organized by 20 women October 17, 1975, and has the special distinction of being named after one of only two patriots whose graves in Texas are known to be marked by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, and the State of Texas. To learn more about John Abston, you can read his story in the History of Our Namesake.
The Chapter Patriots
is a list of the chapter membership's ancestors who provided civilian, patriotic or military service during the American Revolution. William Tyler Page pays tribute in "American’s Creed"
to the men and women who risked “their lives and fortunes” to establish a nation on the “principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity.” It is our duty to honor their sacrifices, preserve their history, and not take for granted the freedoms for which they fought.
History of Our Namesake
Much of our information about John Abston has been passed down as family oral tradition. While some of the original records and sources of information have been lost over time, the details contained in this article represent our best understanding of the history of John Abston. Further study and research of these details is a matter of ongoing study.
A friend of Colonel William Washington, he fought alongside and under men like John Crockett (father of Davy Crockett), Isaac Shelby, John Sevier, William Campbell, Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, and Colonel Joseph McDowell at the Battle of Kings Mountain.
Serving more than two years in the Continental Army, he fought in one of the most pivotal battles in the Revolutionary War that kept the spirit of the patriots strong in the southern colonies. Abston fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain in Captain Rose’s company under Colonel William Washington and the story handed down through the Abston family is as follows and related in J.P. Cranke's "The Indian Play At Kings Mountain"
article in the Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine
Volume 55 Number 11 published in November 1921.
“The detachment of Colonel Washington had marched steadily for two days and nights with the balance of the mountaineers from the slopes of the Alleghenies. They had very little to eat during this last 48 hours, having already consumed the rations with which they had supplied themselves before starting from their homes. The morning they came up with the enemy they were all but famished, and Washington, knowing the necessity of having his men fed before going into action, was much concerned. It was the good fortune of John Abston to save the day and relieve the anxiety of his commanding officer.
He was scouting in advance of the main body and luckily ran upon a fat steer in the woods, one of the few that had escaped the British foragers. He immediately transformed himself from scout to commissary and drove the steer back to his command, where he was received with shouts of delight by the men. The beef was quickly butchered and the men cooked and ate their breakfasts. Then, with much dignified ceremony, there in the presence of the enemy which they were about to assail, William Washington presented to John Abston one of the horns of the steer as a memento of the occasion and the signal service he had performed. He carried it with him through the battle, and after the close of the struggle, preserved it as a remembrance of his gallant colonel.
There were but few trained soldiers in the detachment that went into the Battle of Kings Mountain. John Abston was one of the few who had received the training of a soldier, he having enlisted in 1779, and engaged in a number of skirmishes, marches, and maneuvers before this action that was to have such a far-reaching effects on the final outcome of the Revolution. However, the men were trained to fight Indians, if not British soldiers, and their Indian tactics proved sufficiently effective.”
There was such a decisive victory at Kings Mountain that three presidents would take note of the battle. Theodore Roosevelt would write in The Winning of the West
, “This brilliant victory marked the turning point of the American Revolution;” Thomas Jefferson eloquently phrased it as the “turn of the tide of success;” and Herbert Hoover opened his address at the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain to a crowd of 30,000 people and broadcasted by the National Broadcasting Company and Columbia Broadcasting System radio networks, “This is a place of inspiring memories. Here less than a thousand men, inspired by the urge of freedom, defeated a superior force entrenched in this strategic position. This small band of patriots turned back a dangerous invasion well designed to separate and dismember the united colonies. It was a little army and a little battle, but it was of mighty portent. History has done scant justice to its significance, which rightly should place it beside Lexington and Bunker Hill, Trenton and Yorktown, as one of the crucial engagements in our long struggle for independence.”
After the war, Abston married Frances Thurman and moved his family westward in search of the “proper amount of space a gentleman’s estate should occupy.” Settling in Kentucky and Missouri for a time before moving to Collin County, Texas, with his son, Jesse, his son’s wife, Sarah, and their children in the early 1850s. Unfortunately, Jesse died of pneumonia shortly after arriving in Melissa, Texas. John and Sarah purchased land about a mile north of Lavon, Texas, in 1854. Abston died February 4, 1856-7, and was buried in the family cemetery.