William Gaston Assembly 2531
Faithful Navigator Patrick Valentine
(Council 6700 & Council 11076)
Gastonia, NC Contact Us
The William Gaston Assembly was chartered on May 29, 1998. This Assembly first met in Belmont, NC during the organizational period. It now meets at St. Michael’s Parish in Gastonia.
The Charter Officers of this Assembly were:
Faithful Navigator Patrick M. Watts
Faithful Friar Msgr. Anthony Kovacic
Faithful Captain Ronald Pantuso
Faithful Pilot Robert L. Atterberry, Jr.
Faithful Comptroller Kenneth E. Raymond
Faithful Scribe George D. Burazer
Faithful Purser Frank D. Pilieci
Faithful Inner Sentinel Joseph C. Delaney
Faithful Outer Sentinel Raymond C. Block
Faithful Admiral Carlton Heil
Trustee One Year Lucien Metayer
Trustee Two Years Eugene A. Siebers
Trustee Three Years Eugene Courtemanche
In 1846 Gaston County became North Carolina’s 74th county. The county was named for a statesman, scholar, former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice and orator, Judge William Gaston of New Bern, North Carolina.
Gaston was a man, as he himself described it, “baptized an American in the blood of a martyred father”. His father was shot to death in the presence of both William and his mother. Alexander, his father, had dared to speak his true convictions openly against the British during the era of the American Revolution.
William had law offices in both Raleigh and New Bern, North Carolina. He maintained his law practice throughout his life. He served four terms in the North Carolina State Legislature, two terms in the U.S. Congress, a cabinet post under the President of the United States and refused nomination of President of the United States as a Whig candidate. Judge William Gaston was held in high esteem at his death and continues to be held in high regard today.
It certainly can be acknowledged that Judge William Gaston was a patriot, a gentleman, a noble adversary, a kind and generous father and fighter for that which he believed to be a just and moral cause. He was also a man with a song in his heart-he is the author of our State Song-“The Old North State”.
William Gaston was a devout servant of the Roman Catholic Church. Because of his concern for the religious training of his children in 1812, he resolved to move to the North, probably to Baltimore, where that object might be facilitated. The War of 1812, the beginning of his congressional career, and his wife’s death combined to prevent that move. Instead, Gaston sent his children at an early age to Catholic boarding schools.
William Gaston carried forward his mother’s struggle to get a parish established and a priest regularly assigned to New Bern. When priests visited New Bern, Masses were celebrated in Gaston’s parlor. Bishop John England of Charleston visited him in New Bern in 1821, 1823, and 1824 and under that stimulus funds were raised and land bought for a church. William Gaston was the largest contributor to the construction of St. Paul’s Church. In the mid-1820’s a resident priest was assigned to St. Paul’s. It was then that the long cherished goal of the Gaston’s, mother and son, was at last attained.
In 1840, William Gaston again was the major contributor for the construction of a Catholic Church. This church was built in Mt. Holly, North Carolina and was named St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
St. Joseph’s was completed in 1843 and stands today, 155 years later, as the oldest, still standing Catholic Church in North Carolina. William died in 1844 without ever seeing what his gift had built.