Gaston, Matthew Alexander (1832–1883)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: April 13, 2011

Updated: May 23, 2015

Matthew Alexander Gaston, farmer, physician, and state representative, was born in Greene County, Georgia, on November 1, 1832, to Matthew Gaston and Pheriba Jane (Brown) Gaston. He was raised in Georgia and received a basic education there. On January 22, 1851, he married Mary Ware in Hancock County, Georgia. This couple had one child, a daughter, who lived to maturity. Several other children died in infancy. In 1853 Gaston immigrated with his family to Texas and settled and farmed at Bowles Creek immediately west of Alto in Cherokee County. He was a Master Mason at Terrell Lodge No. 83 in Alto. His wife died of pneumonia in 1856, and this event inspired him to undertake the study of medicine. After expanding his homestead with the purchase of 555 acres of land in January 1858, Gaston left his child with relatives and enrolled at Medical College of Augusta, Georgia. On December 21, 1859, during a trip home, Gaston married Mary Elizabeth Brown. They had one son and one daughter. Upon completing his studies, Gaston returned to Cherokee County.

On April 5, 1862, he enlisted as a private in Company A of the Eighteenth Texas Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to captain on November 18, 1863, near Camp Bayou Metre, Louisiana. He was wounded on the left side at the battle of Mansfield, and the condition worsened into a recurring lung condition. He spent time at the C.S.A. hospital in Shreveport, and Gaston received promotion to major on April 30, 1864. At the conclusion of hostilities, he returned to Alto where he resumed farming and established his medical practice. He was able to enlarge his homestead to 2,500 acres and also assumed a prominent role in local affairs. In 1869 he was elected as a delegate to the state constitutional convention, and he later won election as a Democrat for the Third District to the Twelfth and Fifteenth Texas legislatures in 1870 and 1876, respectively. In 1880 he continued to work as a physician in Alto. Gaston died in Cherokee County on January 9, 1883, and was buried at the Shiloh Cemetery.

Cherokee County History (Jacksonville, Texas: Cherokee County Historical Commission, 1986). Helen Wooddell Crawford, Cemeteries of Mid Cherokee County, Texas (1973). Flake's Bulletin, June 28, 1870. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Dr. Matthew Gaston (, accessed March 10, 2011.

  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Twelfth Legislature (1870-1871)
  • Fifteenth Legislature (1876)
  • House
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Gaston, Matthew Alexander,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 13, 2011
May 23, 2015

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