Berkeley County, West Virginia COLSTON Biographies


    Biography of Raleigh COLSTON

         Raleigh COLSTON was born in England. He married Elizabeth Marshall, sister of Chief Justice John Marshall, distinguished jurist. She was buried at the ancestral home of the Colstons in the northern section of Berkeley County. Raleigh Colston purchased an estate overlooking the banks of the Potomac River and built a fine mansion thereafter known as "Honeywood." He was a man of literary tastes and devoted to the cause of religion. He was the father of Edward Colston, Raleigh T. Colston and Captain William B. Colston.

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    Biography of Edward COLSTON

         Edward Colston, son of Raleigh Colston, was born in 1788 at "Honeywood" in Berkeley County. He graduated from Princeton College, New Jersey in 1806, studied the law, and was a Federalist adherent. At 25, he was elected to represent Berkeley County in the Legislature of Virginia and, at 29, was elected a member of Congress from that district, then comprising the counties of Berkeley, Hampshire, Hardy and Jefferson.

         Edward Colston married Jane Marshall, daughter of Charles Marshall of Fauquier County, Virginia. She died March 5, 1815 at 21 years old.

         While in Congress, Edward Colston met and debated many leading men of the country, Henry Clay, William Henry Harrison (before he was President), John Floyd, Henry Baldwin, Philip R. Barbour, etc. Some of his memorable speeches he gave in Congress included "Commutation of Soldiers' Pay," "The Reduction of the Staff of the Army," and "Migration of Slaves."

         When his father, Raleigh Colston, was getting up in years, Edward had to return to "Honeywood" to take care of the estate. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1823 and 1824, and was a candidate for Congress in 1825, but was defeated by the Hon. William Armstrong of Hampshire County. The defeat was brought about by the disrupting of the Federalist party. In 1826 he was elected a member of the Virginia Legislature by a unanimous vote in Berkeley County and was re-elected in 1827, 1833, and 1834. He was commissioned a Magistrate in 1818; volunteered in the War of 1812 in the Faulkner Artillery Company of Martinsburg, rose to the rank of Lieutenant, and aided in repulsing the British in their attack at Portsmouth and Norfolk.

         He met Sarah Jane Brockenbrough in Richmond and they married. Edward Colston was an attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio, and died April 23, 1851.

         NOTE: A second source shows Edward COLSTON born 1786 near Winchester, Virginia, the son of Travers Colston of Richmond County, Virginia. Yet it shows him as a descendant of William Colston of Bristol, England and the wives listed are the same as in this source.

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    Biography of William B. COLSTON

         William B. COLSTON was born in Berkeley County, a direct descendant of the Colstons who owned "Honeywood," an estate overlooking the Potomac in the northern section of the county. He was born on that estate in 1836.

         He was educated at the Episcopal High School near Alexandria, Virginia, and at the University of Virginia. He joined the Confederate Army, in a company of volunteers raised at Hedgesville in 1859, as a private. The company was known as "The Hedgesville Blues" and was recruited of young men from the northern section of the county and from around Hedgesville. The company became Company E, Second Virginia Infantry, Stonewall Brigade. William B. Colston became Orderly Sergeant; in 1862 he was elected First Lieutenant and in the spring of 1863 was made Captain, the position he held throughout the war.

         Wounded twice, once at the Battle of Kernstown and again at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and was confined to the hospital for eight months. He rejoined the Army and was in the Battle of Nine Runs, at which place his brother, Raleigh T. Colston of Berkeley County, was killed. William Colston was assigned to post duty at Charlottesville, but the inactivity was not in his nature, so he appealed to General Clermont A. Evans, commanding a division of Stonewall's Brigade, for another post. On the way to Charlottsville to buy a horse, he was captured at Farmville and was paroled. In 1863, he was elected by the soldiers from Berkeley County, then in the hands of the enemy, as a representative in the Virginia Legislature, and served in that capacity for two years.

         After the close of the war, he was a farmer in Berkeley County until 1872 when he moved to Martinsburg. He was elected Magistrate in 1880; appointed Postmaster of Martinsburg in 1885-1889 by President Cleveland; and elected Clerk of the Circuit Court, 1890-1896. From 1883-1889, he was the editor of the Martinsburg Statesman.

         In 1866, William B. Colston married Miss Minnie Summers. Their children were Susan Colston, Jane Colston, Elizabeth Colston and Sophia Colston. Another brother of Captain Colston was Edward, a private in the Second Virginia Cavalry, who lost an arm at Appomattox in 1862. He was an attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, 1928.

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