Chastain Historical Documents


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Index to Chastain Historical Documents

To Top of Page

#1 Death of Elijah Webb Chastain
#2 Eulogy for Elijah Webb Chastain by Hon. H. P. Bell
#3 Ed Chasteen's Proposed Birth Control Plan
#4 Newspaper Articles on Avery Chastain
#5 Zeno Chastang Will
#6 Letter from William R. Chastain, Blois, France, December l3, l9l8
#7 Union Private Chester B. Shasteen Killed in Steamer Fire
#8 Scott Ray Wears Elijah Webb Chastain Top Hat in Centennial Celebration
#9 Peter Chastain Contract with Edward Scott
#10 Norman Chastain Alien Encounter
#11Murder of Wilborn M. Chastain
#12Sarah Chastain's Pension Application
#13Mary Robertson Chastain's Bible

1. Death of Elijah Webb Chastain

See Elijah Webb Chastain Biography

Posted at Chastain Family Genealogical Forum on September 10, 2002 by Caleb G. Teffeteller.

The Mountain Signal, (Lumpkin Co. GA) Thursday, April 16, 1874:

“It becomes our painful duty to chronicle the death of Col. E.W. Chastain, of Fannin County, caused by being drowned in Holly Creek, on Thursday the 9th of April, near Ellijay, Gilmer County, Ga. He had been off on business, accompanied by Col. Dickey and Senator Jervis, of Fannin County, his personal friends. They were all on horse-back, and in attempting to cross the ford, the creek being much swollen from recent rains, Mr. Jervis before, Col. Chastain in the center and Mr. Dickey behind. Mr. Jervis had just succeeded in getting across when he heard Mr. Dickey holler out to Col. Chastain to “rein his horse upstream.” Mr. Jervis looked around just in time to see Col. Chastain’s horse fall, having struck a large rock in the ford, and the water being very swift Col. Chastain was plunged into eternity almost in the twinkling of an eye. All efforts were made by his friends to render him assistance, but he was not seen anymore after he fell from his horse.

Senator Jervis at once dispatched the sad news to his friends, and the citizens round about the place was called together, and our informant thinks the body was recovered on Friday morning following. This sad fate of one of the leading spirits of N.E. Georgia will be deeply deplored by all who knew him. Col. Chastain was once a member of Congress from this district before the war, and has held many offices of trust and honor. He was Colonel of the first Georgia Regulars in 1861, and was stationed on Tybee Island, near Savannah.

We deeply sympathize with the family and friends of the deceased, and would earnestly commend them to Him who has promised to be a “Father to the fatherless and a husband to the widow.” Since writing the above, we learn from the Morganton mail rider that the body of Col. E.W. Chastain was found early on Friday morning about a half mile below where he was drowned, and the body was conveyed to his home in Fannin County, and was interred on Monday morning. We learn that the funeral was the most largely attended, by citizens, kindred and friends of any ever before in that country.”

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2. Eulogy for Elijah Webb Chastain by Hon. H. P. Bell

See Elijah Webb Chastain Biography

Posted at Chastain Family Genealogical Forum on September 10, 2002 by Caleb G. Teffeteller.

The Mountain Signal, (Lumpkin Co. GA) Thursday, May 14, 1874:

“The Late Hon. E.W. Chastain.
Interesting Memorial and Biographical Sketch by the Hon. H.P. Bell.
Washington, D.C., April 27, 1874.

Editors Constitution. The family and some of the friends of the Hon. E.W. Chastain have written to me asking me to write his obituary and send it to the Constitution for publication. In compliance with this request, I have written the enclosed sketch, which is more of a biography than obituary. I trust you will do these friends of deceased, (and they are legion), as well as myself, the favor to publish it. I doubt not that it will be read by a great many of your readers with interest, not on account of the merit of the production, but from interest in the subject. I am respectfully your obedient servant, H.P. Bell.

Hon. Elijah W. Chastain.

The death of this distinguished citizen and estimable gentleman has created throughout the State, the most profound regret. It occurred on the 9th inst., and was peculiarly sad in its attendant circumstances. Returning from Dalton in company with the Hon. John B. Dickey and the Hon. John A. Jervis, where they had been on business pertaining to the contemplated Dalton and Morganton Railroad; in crossing Holly Creek, in Murray County, which was swollen, the ford being rocky and the current rapid, Col. Chastain’s horse stumbled and fell, precipitating him upon a large rock, and falling upon him, so crushed and disabled him that he could not escape, and thus he was drowned in the presence of his friends who were unable to render him any assistance.

He was born in the State of South Carolina, September 25th, 1814, but came to Georgia in early life. He married Miss. Clarissa Brazleton, of Jackson County, in 1838, and soon after settled on Toccoa River, in what was then Gilmer County, where he resided until his death. He filled with usefulness and distinction high positions in the military and civil service of the State. Elected a Captain in the war with the Seminole Indians in Florida, in 1837, and promoted to the command of a regiment in 1838, he served through that contest with honor and distinction. In 1840 he was elected to represent Gilmer County in the Senate and continued to represent the county until it was united with Murray in a senatorial district, which he also represented, serving in the Senate consecutively for the period of ten years. As a Senator, he exhibited high qualities for debate and legislation, and at once took his position among the leading minds of the State, rendering to the county signal service. In the fall of 1851 he was nominated for Congress, in a district (the Fifth) distinguished for its talent, and after a brilliant canvass, marked by intense excitement and enthusiasm, defeated his accomplished antagonist, the Hon. W.H. Stiles, by a large majority. Entering the House of Representatives in the calm between the agitation of 1850 and 1854, he made but one speech during the term. It was delivered March the 5th, 1852, on “The Union and Southern Rights Parties in Georgia.” He was re-elected to the 33rd Congress. It was during this session that the Kansas-Nebraska Act, under the leadership of Douglass in the Senate, and Stephens in the House, was passed. In the culmination of the excitement upon this subject, on the 20th of May, 1854, Col. Chastain delivered a very able speech, probably the ablest of his life. Belonging to the progressive school of statesmen, the detester of tyranny, and a worshiper of liberty, he favored the acquisition of Cuba, and made his last speech in Congress June 12th, 1854, upon that subject. The convention that nominated his successor unanimously adopted a resolution approving his official conduct as a representative of the people. After four years of public service, in exciting terms, involving many hundreds of votes on every variety of questions arising in the National Legislature, with each of these votes closely scrutinized by over a hundred thousand constituents, an unanimous judgement of approval is no ordinary compliment, and one that seldom falls to the lot of public servants. In 1857 he was appointed by Gov. Brown attorney for the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which office I believe he resigned. He was chosen a delegate from Fannin County to the Convention in 1861. He believed honestly that secession was the only remedy for existing evils and apprehending dangers, and, true to his nature, without counting the cost or looking to consequences, he followed the convictions of his heart, and the dictates of his judgement, and ardently supported secession.

At the commencement of the late war he served as Lieutenant Colonel for some time of the 1st Regiment Georgia Regulars. I am not advised how long. This was his last official public service; but he never ceased to feel a deep interest in all matters affecting the public interest, whether of a political, material or moral character, and was always ready to make his contribution of means, labor or sacrifice for their advancement.

Like many other distinguished men, Col. Chastain did not possess the advantages of a liberal education, nor the adventitious aids of fortune, but in natural intellectual endowments he was perhaps inferior to no man in Georgia. In physical development, a model of perfect manhood, quick in apprehension, fluent in speech, felicitous in repartee, bitter in invective, graceful in manner, wise in council and fearless in action, modest as a maiden, and brave as Caesar, he was a born leader of men. He loved the gladiatorship of the political arena, and always left it a victor. He was never defeated when a candidate for office. Ardent in his attachments and thoroughly honest in his convictions, he infused into his friends his own zeal, and bound them to him with the earnestness of devotees. Although engaged in fierce party contests, and in office for a period covering nearly sixteen years, neither envy or malice ever dared to assail his official integrity or personal honor. If he was a zealous partisan, it was because he was an ardent patriot, believing the highest interest of the country was involved in the success of the principles of his party. He never surrendered to an enemy, nor betrayed, nor deserted a friend.

He was admitted to the bar in 1849. The owner of a large and valuable farm, and largely engaged in politics, the practice of his profession was more an incident than an object. Yet for a number of years he did an extensive and successful practice. More successful in the result of his cases, than productive of remuneration for his services, for he seemed to loose sight of his fee in his anxiety for victory. Indeed, he seldom asked a client for money, and if he did it was in such a good natured way that the client felt sure but any sort of excuse for non-payment would be received. A very large number of his fee notes became barred by the statute of limitations and were never paid. The poor especially always found in him a willing counselor and a zealous and an able advocate. He was distinguished at the bar for his courtesy to the bench and his professional brethren, and for his adelity to his client. He studied the science of government more than law. Politics seemed to be his native element. In what is known as the black letter of the law, his reading and research were not extensive. He discarded the pompous formularies and ignored the technical subtleties of the books. With him the law was not so much a grand system or science invested with the awful forms of a solemn antiquity like some ideal divinity, as it was the simple practical means of enforcing rights and redressing wrongs. And while others admired the gorgeous drapery with which the Goddess of Justice is clothed, he tore it away and approached the alter of her worship, charmed with the beauty of her naked simplicity. Still, with the love of the right and abhorrence of wrong, his accurate knowledge of men and his fine powers of advocacy, he was a formidable adversary in the Court House and especially so before the jury. He was more fruitful in legitimatere sources for the continuance of his cause, when unprepared for trial, than any member of the bar I ever saw. The professional reader will understand and appreciate the importance, frequently to their client, of a continuance, when the showing cannot be brought entirely up to the rule. His were not always ready, not always not prepared to make a strictly legal showing, yet his professional skill always compensated his client’s business. He moved the continuance and would insist with such earnestness, showing so many excuses for his client’s negligence, and appealing to the Court with such courtly grace and elegance, and bring his showing so nearly up to the rule, that it was impossible to resist him. Colonel Chastain leaves a widow and seven children in sorrow and bereavement, all of them, I believe, members, and some of them leading and most useful members of the Baptist Church, in whose creed he was a firm believer. Much and deeply as the community in which he lived lament his sad and untimely death, and greatly as he is beloved by that community, it was in the home circle where he is missed, that he was beloved with the warmest ardor and mourned with the bitterest anguish. I will not raise that veil, nor obscure the light of the vestal lamp that burns to his memory on that sacred shrine. I bring friendship’s last offering and drop upon his grave “the tribute of a tear.”

H.P. Bell

Note from Chastain Central: Hiram Parks Bell was a U. S. Congressman at the time he wrote this eulogy.

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3. Ed Chasteen's Proposed Birth Control Plan

See Ed Chasteen Biography

Posted by EWTN.



As of January 1, 1975, it shall be unlawful for any American family to give birth to more than two children. Any family already having two or more natural children on that date shall not be allowed to give birth to another. Toward this end, it is hereby lawfully determined that all Americans above the age of 10 years will, at least one year prior to the aforementioned date, present himself/herself for reversible immunization against fertility at a local county health department or physician's office. An official "Certificate of Immunization" shall be issued to and in the name of each citizen so treated. Said certification shall be signed by the authorized medical practitioner who administers the immunization, and shall be entered into the official records of the county in which immunization occurred. After marriage, any citizen may present himself/herself at a local county health department or physician's office and obtain a fertility restorer. At the birth of the second child, immunity against fertility shall be readministered to both parents. If the first birth shall be multiple, no other births shall be permitted to that mother, and both parents shall thereupon be re-immunized.

Reference: Edgar R. Chasteen. The Case for Compulsory Birth Control. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1971.

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4. Newspaper Articles on Avery Chastain

See Nelson Avery Chastain Biography

Text extracted from clippings of Atlanta Journal contributed by William F. Fenn.


Atlanta Journal, October 4, 1899
Deputy Chastain Has Narrow Escape While Arresting a Negro Woman.

Deputy Sheriff Avery Chastain came near being murdered Monday night by a negro whose wife was under arrest.

The deputy went out to Cook's district to arrest a woman. He expected trouble and deputized two other men to assist him. The woman was found on the streets and when the officer and the two men had her under arrest her husband fired a pistol at Chastain and then ran away.

Neely Little, alias Brown, alias Hardeman, alias Dillard was wanted on a bench warrant, charging her with larcony from the house. Deputy Chastain ascertained that she was in Cook's district and went after her.

The woman gave several names after her arrest. Dillard has been hunted for, but he has not been found. He is said to be a very desperate negro, not without a record with the police.

The woman denies that her husband did the shooting, and says he was not in the city when she was arrested, but her story is not believed by the deputy sheriff.

She will be tried before Judge Calhoun in a few days.


Atlanta Journal, November 13, 1910
Raked From Car Step.

A third accident for the day, in which a street car figured, occurred at 7:10 o'clock at the Fairlee street crossing of the Luckie street car line.

N. Avery Chastain, former deputy sheriff and owner of considerable property in Chastaintown, a suburb named after him, was riding on the front step of outgoing car No. 44, when the hub of a passing wagon raked him off.

Chastain fell heavily to the pavement and sustained painful but not serious injuries.

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5. Zeno Chastang Will

See Zeno Chastang

Posted on USGENWEB.

USGENWEB NOTICE: In keeping with the USGenWeb Project policy of providing free information on the Internet, this data may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or other gain. Copying of the files within by non-commercial individuals and libraries is encouraged.

ALGenWeb Archives File Manager – Carolyn Golowka
Contributed by Thelma Jackson Hartman SEP 1999
Pgs. 241-245 Dated 4 March 1851
Will of Zeno Chastang
Mobile Co. Al.

To my wife, Maria Theresa Chastang, land given to me by my father, land purchased from my brother Ogive Chastang, land owned by me in common with my sister, Levina Andry. This land is located on the east side of Mobile River. Also to my wife, Maria, land on west side of River known as Chastang's Bluff, given to me by my father, Dr. John Chastang. To wife, Maria, land lying on Spring Hill Road, which was residence of late Charles Delage, that I purchased from Isabella Noel, a free woman of color.

To my 7 sons, Zeno Jr., Alfred, Francis, Joseph, Lewis, Lastain, and Edward, land I purchased from Gen. Joseph Bates, situated on Tensaw and Mobile River. Land purchased by me from United States Government. Land purchased by my father from United States Government, part of his estate alloted to my sister Margaret Collins, designated as No. 10 in division of estate. Also undivided share in estate of my deceased brother, N ?. To Isabella and Catharine. To Zeno, Jr., and Joseph Lev?, my son-in-law, remaining 10th part of estate in trust for my daughter, Louisa, separate from the control of her husband, J. Andry.

Executors - Zeno, Jr., Alfred, and Francis Chastang.
Witnesses - Theodore Graham, Theodore V.W. Graham and Sylvestre Dubroca.
Recorded - 26 Nov. 1860

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6. Letter from William R. Chastain, Blois, France, December l3, l9l8

Posted at Chastain Family Genealogy Forum on March 15, 2002 by Deborah Brownfield Stanley.

Decatur County Journal
Thursday, January l6, l9l9

A Letter from WILLIAM R. CHASTAIN; Blois, France; December l3, l9l8.

Home Folks: I was sent down here from the hospital at Toul. I wrote a letter from there. I am in a hospital but will leave here in a few days to a classification camp and I might be sent back to my company from there or I may be put in some other company. I am feeling fine, I had my picture taken a few days ago and will send some home if I ever get them.

I have not seen any one that I knew since I left the company. I have not received any mail since I have been here but I expect they will send it to me as I have been away more than ten days. I wrote Grandpa a letter the other day, I hope he will get it. I suppose everybody is feeling all right at least I hope so. Has GEORGE got back yet?

You had better not write until you receive another letter from me. I think I will be in a place where I will stay a while, or have some address to give so you can write. I will close for this time. I will write every day or two, with love to all.

Base Hospital 43, Blois, France.

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7. Union Private Chester B. Shasteen Killed in Steamer Fire

Posted at Max Pages

SHASTEEN, Chester B Private Hamilton Co Feb 27, 1862 Lost on steamer General Lyon, Mar 31, 1865

Fifty-sixth Illinois, with its Brigade, marched across the country to Pocotaligo, the place of rendezvous. From this point the Army started upon one of the most momentous movements of the war, and this Regiment acquitted itself with high credit, as did the whole army. It took part in the battle of Bentonville.

Twelve officers and 193 enlisted men of this Regiment embarked on the steamship General Lyon. She encountered a storm, and, when off Cape Hatteras, caught fire, and about 500 person met their death in the flames or in the sea. Twenty-eight persons were saved, of these five were enlisted men of this Regiment; and thus, on March 31, 1865, 200 men of this Regiment, as noble and brave as any who fought for the Union, perished.

"General Lyon." riverboat steamer commissioned into service by the Union; exploded off Cape Hatteras in 1865 killing hundreds, including a company or 2 from Hamilton Co., IL. Isaac Johnson, lost on the "General Lyon," as also Albert E. Johnson, Thomas G. Mezo, Constant Mezo, James Murphy and Chester B. Shasteen.

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8. Scott Ray Wears Elijah Webb Chastain Top Hat in Centennial Celebration

The Atlanta Constitution, Friday, August 6, 1954

Kin Learns To Ride Horse
To Portray Fannin Founder

By Bob Sibley

A 24-year old Atlantan is learning to ride horseback in order to portray his great-grandfather in the Fannin County centennial next week.

Scott Ray, released from the Army recently after 18 months with Counter-intelligence in Germany, agreed to learn to ride for his part in the pageant, "The Fannin Story."

The young Atlantan will have the role of E. W. Chastain, noted legislator, orator and pioneer in the Fannin County area.

"Horseback riding is all right," laughed Ray, "but I wouldn't like it as a steady diet."

100-year old hat

The fact that he couldn't ride didn't faze the Atlantan when he was asked to portray his great-grandfather in the Fannin celebration "I got a horse, went out near North Fulton Park and began practicing," he explained with a grin.

To add realism to his role, Ray will wear an imported top hat worn 100 years ago by Chastain at the celebration marking the founding of Fannin County.

Talmadge to speak

The Fannin County Centennial featuring a parade, homecoming day, and old-time religion day, boat races, a centennial ball and the pageant, will be held on Aug. 9-14.

General Chairman Cecil Hartness said Gov. Talmadge and Rep. Phil Landrum will be guest speakers Saturday. A monument to the memory of World War II and Korean War dead of Fannin County will be dedicated that day, too.

"The Fannin Story" depicting highlights in the history of the county, was written by another Atlantan, Edith Russell (Mrs. Herschel R. Harrington, 229 Ponce de Leon Ave., NE.) The pageant will be given Aug. 12-13-14 at 8 p.m. in the county amphitheater.

Col. Chastain was instrumental along with Col. James Walker Fannin in the founding of the county. Chastain also founded Morganton, first town in the county, descendants said.

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9. Peter Chastain Contract with Edward Scott

From James Garvin Chastain, Brief History of the Huguenots

Know all men by these presents that I Peter Chastain of the Parish of King William and County of Goochland, Me, my heirs, Executors and do owe and stand Justly Indebted unto Edward Scott of the Parish of Saint James and of the County aforesaid the Just Sum of two hundred pounds Current money of Virginia unto which payment well and Truly to be made I bind my Self my Heirs, Executors and Administrators dated this Eleventh day of December anno Domini 1729.

The Condition of the above obligation is Such that If the above bounden Peter Chastain, hie heirs, Executors or Administrators do all the reasonable request of the Edward Bcott make over by Law full Deeds of Conveyance all that part of Parcel1 of Land whereon his Deceased father Peter Chastain Lived in the Manakin Town, being part of the Donation of King William of Hapy Memory to the French Refugees In such manner that the same may by virtue of the Deeds aforesaid, and Acknowledged in open Court put the Said Edward Scott in actual possession of the Said Land, and the Apurtenances and apendancys to the Same belonging in an Indefiesable Right of Inheritance infeesimple then this obligation to be Void. Otherwise to stand in full force power and virtue. In witness whereof The Said Peter Hath hereunto Sett his hand and affix'd his Seal. The day and year above written Signed Sealed and Delivered.

Peter Chastain.

In presence of
Thomass Ransdolph.
Daniel Gierrant.
William X Bryant.
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10. Norman Chastain Alien Encounter

Posted by Aileen Garoutte at UFOexperiences.

THE ALIEN OF BLOUNT ISLAND - The most unique and conclusive alien encounter in UFO history - by B. Ann Slate (Deceased)

Last October, 600 disappointed people had to be turned away from the already packed Florida Junior College auditorium in Jacksonville. They all wanted to hear nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman deliver his lecture, "Flying Saucers ARE Real."

Norman r. Chastain, a resident of Jacksonville, had arrived early in order to get a seat. The reason for his promptness was more than a normal interest and curiosity about UFOs. Norman Chastain had kept a secret inside him for over a year about an amazing experience which he would not reveal until he found the proper scientific authority to investigate it with, as he put it, "sincerity."

Later that evening at his home, Chastain began drafting a letter to Stanton Friedman at the UFO Research Institute in California. It began, "I am just an ordinary railroad electrician with 35 years of service..." The contents of that letter and the subsequent scientific research now being conducted as a result may make Norman Chastain's encounter the most unique and conclusive in UFO history.

While an electrician by profession, Chastain is an outdoorsman by hobby, so on a Friday evening in late January 1972, the 60 year old man drove with his cabin boat and trailer toward Blount Island which lies inland from the Atlantic Ocean near the mouth of the St. Johns River which is east of Jacksonville.

The island is essentially an industrial complex with municipal docks, a generating plant, and towering power lines. It was soon to figure prominently in the news as the Audubon Society fought in the courts to prevent a platform-mounted floating nuclear power plant from being constructed on the island.

But for Norman Chastain, Blount island meant calm water and a likely spot to catch large red bass. He anchored the Sea Camper 50 feet from shore. It was high slack tide. Across the island, the deserted passenger liner, the Constitution rested at storage anchor.

The mild winter's night was so quiet, Chastain could hear a "tiny frog croaking across the river." He began fishing and the hours passed quickly. It was near 3 a.m. when he first noticed the orange and blue lights flashing over the Ft. Caroline National Monument.

"Must be Mosquito Control," Chastain thought to himself but he soon changed his mind. The lights remained stationary, hovering about 300 feet over the monument and changing colors frequently. "Could it be a police helicopter?" he wondered. No, there wasn't a sound. Suddenly, the lights moved directly toward him, stopping 150 feet over his boat. The domed, circular shape was clear now and the electrician knew he was looking at a craft that was not from this planet. Approximately 75 feet across, eight feet thick, with a dome estimated at five feet high, the strange object had brilliant lights around its circumference.

"When I saw it was a UFO and the first one I've ever seen in my life, naturally I was kind of startled," Chastain said. "I didn't know what to do and I didn't know what it might do!"

After the initial shock wore off, Chastain reasoned that the craft might have mistaken his boat's running lights for another alien object. The Sea Camper has some unusual lighting features which Chastain built himself, blinking red and green markerl lights, a flashing white light on the bow and several reflectors. The two-burner Coleman lantern, mounted on top of the cabin, was also burning.

For five minutes, the craft hovered noiselessly overhead until Chastain snapped off the main light switch and turned out the lantern. Almost instantly, the UFO lights went out and he watched the dark outline of the object move slowly back toward the bluff from where it had come.

Chastain believed his strange encounter was over and that he had seen the last of the alien spaceship. Now he had other things to worry about because in the excitement of the sighting, the tide had shifted and pushed his boat aground. He made his way onto the dark island to hunt for a piece of driftwood to pry his boat off the shore and back into deeper water. He carried a strong spotlight with him and played the light over the ground to avoid stepping in any holes. Some distance from the boat, he located a 10 foot plank and began making his way back to the Sea Camper.

"I stopped about 75 feet from my boat to rest a minute as that wet piece of timber was heavy," Chastain said. "I raised my spotlight to see if my boat was still in the muck and there in the edges of the bushes was the strangest looking creature one could ever imagine!"

Standing in the waist-high growth was an alien being, clothed in a tight fitting suit that the witness compared to old fashioned men's winter underwear, "except it was a dark silver gray and it shined slightly." The being was about five to five and a half feet tall, had small arms, a large head with pointed ears, and a slightly angular chin. On the top of its head was a glowing disc. The creature's mouth was slightly open and framed in the bright glow from Chastain's spotlight, the oversized, protruding eyes resembled glass reflecting light. As the witness understated, "It didn't look human at all!"

For several frozen moments, alien and earthman gazed at each other. Then suddenly, the being raised his left hand which held a flat device about three inches across. There was a brilliant white flash which Chastain said almost blinded him. Then the numbness started, a slow paralysis that began in his neck and moved throughout his body.

"I staggered around so dizzy I couldn't stand up, so I laid down in the tall grass. My arms and legs became numb and tingled, just like when your leg goes to sleep. I was tempted to scream for help, hoping someone might be on the island and would come to my rescue, but then I decided it might be better just to lie still. The devil-looking thing might've come up to where I was and finished me off in an instant."

After the brilliant ray from the alien's weapon flashed in his face, an overpowering stench seemed to cling to Chastain's hair and clothes; a sickening, unfamiliar odor which he said "didn't compare to a skunk!" Whether this foul smell was part of the beam or one of its after effects, Chastain couldn't be sure.

Now lying paralyzed in the grass, the terrified witness said, "For the first hour I was sure I would die, but I prayed and prayed. The numbness began going away. About daybreak, I was able to get up on my hands and knees and crawl farther away from the boat. By noon of the next day, my strength returned and I could walk again. It was a warm day, I could see my boat 50 feet out in the water with the door open and no one inside."

The offensive odor still covered him. Chastain swam out to his boat, put on swimming trunks and dried his clothes, but the stench still remained. He washed his hair with a disinfectant, threw the clothes in a roadside ditch on the way home and felt almost normal except for having a peculiar light feeling, almost as if he was floating on air.

This condition didn't escape his wife's notice. "You don't look right, Norman," she said as soon as he walked on the house. "What's the matter?" Since Mrs. Chastain had been under a doctor's care, he didn't want to upset her with the details of his frightening experience. "So I told her a little lie, that the water had been rough and I got seasick," the witness said. "What's more I didn't tell anyone else for fear of being ridiculed, or have somebody accuse me of being some kind of nut!"

Norman Chastain couldn't have known that his experience with the humanoid from another world was far from over. The following day he went to his physician for a checkup, just in case the alien ray might have dome some permanent damage, or by chance the paralysis might have been caused by a stroke or heart attack. His doctor gave him a clean bill of health.

The electrician returned to the island in the daytime to search for some clue or evidence of his bizarre encounter but there wasn't a trace. He smelled around the grass and bushes where he had fallen but the noxious odor was gone. The piece of timber was still on the ground where he had dropped it. He went back to work at the railroad as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

But his nights weren't ordinary, for Chastain began to experience vivid dreams of another planet with strange-looking beings, remarkably huge flowers, and assembly lines which put out saucer-shaped craft. He kept these dreams, as well as the incident on Blount Island to himself.

Not being well informed about UFOs, Chastain wasn't aware of the many strange objects sighted over power lines, generating plants, and atomic installations. Nor had he ever researched the many cases concerning humanoids so he couldn't have known the alien he saw was not unique in appearance or actions. Silver-gray, tight-fitting uniforms, prominent glowing eyes, pointed ears, mysterious rays which blind or paralyze, all these are familiar features in documented sightings reported by responsible eyewitnesses to UFO investigators all over the world.

The classic case of the Hopkinsville, Kentucky creature bears several similar characteristics to that of the Blount Island episode. Considered one of the finest of all occupant sightings in the US, this incident took place in 1955 and is listed in official Air Force files as "Unidentified." Jacques Vallee's presentation of the case in Anatomy of a Phenomenon points out several significant facts omitted in other versions. He especially calls to the attention of interested biologists that a particular reaction on the part of the Hopkinsville creature might be worthy of further investigation.

In brief, the Kentucky alien was described as about four feet tall with huge eyes, large pointed ears, arms that hung almost to the ground, and large hands with long nails or claws. The being's clothing was called "nickel plated." Just before the alien approached the Sutton family household of eight adults and three children, one of the teenager's said he'd seen a flying object land behind the farmhouse. The family assumed he'd seen a shooting star -- that is until an hour later when a "little man" walked toward the house with both arms raised over its head.

If this gesture meant no hostility was intended, that fact was lost on the frightened people. One of the men grabbed his shotgun and fired through the screen door but the blast seemed to have no effect. The creature did a somersault and disappeared into the darkness. (The sound of the shot hitting was compared to that of shooting into a tin bucket.) The being's curiosity (or surveillance mission?) continued for interminable hours, as the creatures appeared on the roof and peeked through windows. (There is some question as to the precise number of beings as one of the witnesses remarked during an Air Force interrogation, "I only know what I saw. I saw two of the men or maybe the same one twice.")

The terrified family, during a lull in the "battle" abandoned the house, piled into their cars and drove into town to get law enforcement help. Police and state troopers moved into the area. As one of the officers drove toward the farmhouse to join the search, he reported seeing several strange "meteors" that came from the direction of the Sutton farm. As he and his wife looked out of the car, they saw two of them passing overhead with a loud "swishing" noise. However, the result of the investigation proved fruitless. The craft had disappeared from the gully and there were no indications around the house of what had taken place.

Of biological significance, as author Vallee points out, is that, "The eyes of the entities were large and apparently very sensitive. It was noticed that they always approached the house from the darkest corner. There was no pupil in the eye, no eyelid; when the witnesses turned on the lights outside the house, it seemed to prevent the creatures from coming towards the doors. Thus, as Norman Chastain stood on Blount Island, frozen with the shock of seeing a silver-suited alien outlined in the beam of his powerful spotlight, can we assume that this creature felt pain or discomfort from the light and so retaliated by blasting the witness with his own form of light ray? This extraterrestrial, as with the Sutton case, had similar large glowing eyes that apparently had no pupils or eyelids.

So if by chance the Blount Island alien was in reality a robot on a surveillance mission, whose job was to take scientific readings (soil analysis, etc.) at the site of a future nuclear power plant, Norman Chastain may have inadvertently interfered and had to be stopped! There's no end to speculating on alien motivation and behavior, yet similar details from well-researched cases must be examined if we're to eventually draw any clear-cut patterns in the data.

However, the real evidence of the Blount Island sighting would uniquely present itself three days after the incident and right in the witness's own backyard.

It was now just a few days into February 1972 and Norman Chastain was asleep when a loud clap of thunder woke him up. "It was lightning and raining and then that same overpowering, distinctive stench that thing shot me with was pouring into my bedroom window. I jumped up to close the window, got my gun, and stayed awake the rest of the night listening and smelling that sickening odor. I wondered if that creature had some way of knowing where I went when I left the island."

Chastain got up several times during the stormy night to peer nervously out the window. His wife was sleeping in a separate bedroom on the opposite side of the house. Finally the storm ended and it was morning. Chastain heard his wife moving about and the cat meowing to be let out. He dressed rapidly and with gun in hand, cautiously opened the back door from where the stench was pouring in.

For a moment, he thought he'd lost his mind. Growing in the grass directly behind the Sea Camper was a cluster of flesh-colored "heads." It was like a scene out of an all-too-real horror movie but the "plants" all resembled the facial distortions of the alien on the Island and were producing the same terrible odor! With mouths gaping, large eye sockets shining with a white substance like glazed eyes, three of the five inch tall "heads" appeared fully developed while two of the smaller ones were, according to Chastain, like "new born babes with their eyes closed." The witness shuddered, looked skyward and on the ground for a spacecraft or other growths but there was nothing else unusual to be seen.

He had to have someone else witness the strange growth so he rushed to some of his neighbor's homes. The men had already gone to work. In a state of near frenzy, Chastain returned home, grabbed a shovel and dug up two of the bigger heads and the two smaller ones, and tossed them behind the nearby utility shed. Then he called to his wife, asking her to join him in the backyard. Her first shocked response was, "Lord that looks like something from another world!" Chastain desperately wanted to tell his wife everything that had happened the night he went fishing alone on Blount Island, but he held back concerned about her delicate health. Already she was showing signs of becoming ill from smelling the noxious odor of the remaining growth.

"Go inside and call the police! Tell them something strange is growing in our backyard," Chastain said to his wife. "And have them say I'm drunk or crazy when I tell them what it looks like; a pink devil with big eyes and pointed ears and a round mouth that's stinking up the neighborhood?" was her response.

Chastain had to agree with her but he desperately wanted other witnesses. Grabbing a shovel, he dug up the last freak growth, jumped in his car and headed for the Jacksonville Journal newspaper offices. He carefully placed the "head" on the front floorboard of his car.

"I had to drive with my head out the window because the stench was overpowering me," he said. "I was getting dizzy, the same helpless feeling I experienced on the Island, and I was scared the numbness might start to set in before I reached the newspaper office."

In route, Chastain narrowly avoided hitting another car. He jammed on his brakes and the growth slammed against the steep portion of the floorboard. Now another nightmare began. The "head" started oozing a red substance after the impact -- a secretion which Chastain describes as similar to blood.

He tried to regain his composure at the newspaper offices as he described the weird plant in his car to the news editor. Chastain made no reference to the craft or alien on Blount Island.

The news editor eyed Chastain suspiciously. "Is this on the level or have you been drinking?"

"I'm not a drinking man," Chastain answered, "but this thing in my car has got me woozy from the odor it's putting out!" Together with several other reporters, Chastain and the editor returned to the car. Someone in the group remarked upon closer examination of the growth, "Look into its mouth! It's even got little teeth!"

The "head" was not familiar to any of the Journal staff. Nor could the monstrosity be identified by Chastain's coworkers at the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Company roundhouse, his next stop for additional witnesses after leaving the newspaper offices. Foreman John Ellis exlcaimed, "Good Lord, is that thing putting out all the stink in here?"

Clyde Schramm, pipe fitter said, "Look at the red stuff coming out f the back of its head!" By the following day, all the "heads" had shriveled into pink sponge-like balls which Chastain buried in the spot where they initially grew to see what would happen, but none of the Demon Plants reappeared.

As of this writing, soil samples taken from different depths in Chastain's backyard and on Blount Island are being subjected to various tests in several laboratories. The backyard soil, under preliminary microscopic examination, possesses substantial fungi hyphae (root filaments) and it is hoped that the spores remaining in the samples will germinate in a humidity chamber set to duplicate the conditions that prevailed on the night they grew.

What exactly are these spores? Are we talking about extraterrestrial ones seeded in terrestrial soil? While this cannot be ruled out thus far, another tentative hypothesis may be possible. One clue to the freak "heads" is indicated by the terrible stench they gave off.

Louis C. C. Krieger in The Mushroom handbook says of the variety of fungi called stinkhorns that they have"... the insupportable effluvium of Limburger cheese raised to the nth degree." Because of the stench, these mushrooms attract flies and thus the spores are disseminated by the insects which carry them on their bodies and in their excreta. The flies also deposit their eggs on these fungi and the maggots then have a ready supply of food as they mature, eating their way through the flesh of the mushroom. The resulting holes in the stinkhorn will produce various designs and a few varieties in the stinkhorn family will ooze a blood-like red substance when cut or split open.

Does that eliminate any connection between the alien on the island and the peculiar growths in Chastain's backyard? Did the witness merely fall into a patch of stinkhorns on the island and transport spores on his shoes or body back to his home where they would magically pop out of the ground several nights later due to the extreme rain and weather conditions?

The specialists working on this case could not agree. The probability that maggots would eat a precise face in one stinkhorn might be called coincidental but the odds are astronomical that all five of the fungi would be eaten in precisely the same manner to produce identical shapes. That the mushroom would bear such a close resemblance to the creature on the island is also rather remote. It is also significant that the "heads' grew near the location where Chastain drained the water from the Sea Camper - water that may have been irradiated from the UFO which hovered over the boat.

Prof. Leslie Paleg of Adelaide University of Australia recently announced the remarkable method of using laser beams on plant life to influence plant behavior on growth. "Only bursts are needed because laser light is highly concentrated and intense," the distinguished agricultural scientist said. "We have been able to show that a one-second burst of light from a laser a quarter mile away will affect the growth of a morning glory vine." And in that area of research lies the key, not just to the Chastain mystery but the many UFO close encounters and landings which have affected the soil and produced the huge circular rings of mutated plant life nearby.

Laser, microwave, and other light energies used in biological research is still a relatively new science. But if the fungi can be made to germinate in the Florida soil samples, we can work backward to determine what kind of light beam -- or energy -- produced the mutation, yielding still more definitive data on the technological secrets of flying saucers and their occupants.

To Index

11. Murder of Wilborn M. Chastain

Posted at Henry Branson Page.

Winfield Courier, Thursday, March 25, 1886

The third love tragedy for Cowley County since last fall has been enacted. Monday at five o'clock p.m., Jim Nichols came in from Dexter with the intelligence that A. B. Elliott, a wealthy farmer and old settler of Dexter township, had put a double charge of shot into the breast of his daughter's questionable lover, Dr. W. M. Chastain. Sheriff G. H. McIntire and Deputy Joe Church, who happened to be here from Dexter, left immediately for the scene, followed closely by Coroner Wells, Assistant County Attorney Lovell H. Webb, and THE COURIER scribe. At the home of George Dunlap, the victim's boarding place, lay the body of Dr. Chastain, with his left breast in a jelly from a heavy charge of turkey shot.

A. B. Elliott came to Dexter eight or nine years ago and bought the Bryan farm, right up against the village, and one of the best farms in Kansas all in the rich Grouse valley. He also owns another farm near and is considered one of that section's well-to-do men. He had always lived peacefully until this racket and has a host of friends. He has ten children, four of whom are grown. Two sons-in-law, William Radcliff and Moses Williams, live near him. He takes this murder with great coolness. He doesn't deny it. He claims self defense. Public sympathy is largely with Elliott, though all agree that his attacking in the public highway will be bad. Elliott is fifty-five years old.

THE INQUEST. At 9 o'clock Tuesday morning, Coroner Wells began the inquest, with H. R. Branson, J. H. Serviss, S. H. Wells, A. C. Holland, and C. A. Peabody as jurymen. Lovell H. Webb examined about twenty witnesses. The jury's verdict found A. B. Elliott the murderer. A post mortem by Drs. Wells and G. P. Wagoner revealed thirty-six turkey shot in the left breast, six of which entered the heart. It was a revolting perforation.

Winfield Courier, Thursday, April 1, 1886

The preliminary examination, before Judge Buckman, of Alfred B. Elliott for the murder of Wilborn M. Chastain, at Dexter, on the 22nd, closed at five o'clock last evening. The defendant was granted bail in the sum of $10,000, which was promptly given. The court room was thronged with anxious listeners. The interest was intense and when the case was declared bailable, signs of approbation were noticeable all around.

The Judge said the evidence warranted the charge of murder in the first degree and the prisoner would be held. "I believe the prisoner is entitled to bail and as he is able to give sufficient bond, I will place his bond at $10,000." The crowded audience arose and the preliminary was over. Mr. Elliott was warmly congratulated at his fortune in getting bond. All over the audience and especially among the Dexterites, could be seen a strong leaning in favor of Elliott. The attorneys for the defense immediately prepared the bond. Plenty of men were on hand to sign the bond. The bondsmen are: Alfred B. Elliott, Rowland C. Maurer, John B. Harden, S. G. Elliott, John R. Smith, Azro O. Elliott, Isaac H. Penis, Tully G. Hoyt, George M. Hawkins, John M. Reynolds, J. Wade McDonald, James McDermott, H. R. Branson, and J. M. Jackson fourteen names. The bond was approved. The bondsmen were not required to qualify. The bond aggregates big wealth.

To Index

12. Sarah Chastain's Pension Application

Copied from PCFA Brown Book D-G, October, 2006

See Alabama Chastains in the Civil War

This document was discovered under time constraints and copied hurriedly. Habitually, it was written in printed uppercase letters, so the capitalization below may be incorrect in places. The text, however, should be correct. Note that David is listed as serving in both the 19th Kentucky Infantry and the 1st Alabama Infantry. The family is said to have lived in Thomas County, Georgia before moving to Alabama. These are both very interesting statements in light of everything else we know about this family.

David D. Chastain
Civil War - Co R, 19th Kentucky Infantry (Union)
Sarah (Shelton) Chastain - Mother

Pension Application #447700

Certificate #377660

By deposition, 12 May 1886, Thornhill, Marion County, Alabama.
Sarah Chastain states she was the widow of Edward Chastain and the mother of David D. Chastain. She was 75 in 1886. They were married in October 1825 in her father's house in Hayward County, North Carolina. She was Sarah Shelton prior to her marriange to Edward Chastain. Children of this marriage were:

Martin - Born January 1827; Died in Confederate Army; Married and lived in Georgia. Wife's name not mentioned
Nancy - Born March 1829
Elizabeth - Born May 1831
Artemesia? - Born June 1833
Lidia - Born August 1815
Emline - Born January 1837; Died April 1884
James - Born 1839
David D. - Born August 1841; Never married; Died 22 Febrruary 1866
Sarah - Born May 1843
William H. - Born May 1851

The family moved from Hiawatha, Thomas County, Georgia, to Marion County, Alabama in 1859. Edward Chastain was thrown from a horse and died in May.

Deposition CX
Case of Sarah Chastain No 93355
On the 12th day of May, 1886 at
Thornhill, County of Marion
State of Alabama....
Married by John Love, a JP at my father's house

I was always a loyal woman and never aided in any way in the rebellion against the government of the United States. My two sons James and David both served in the Union Army in the 1st Ala

To Index

13. Mary Robertson Chastain's Bible

Contributed by Joy Gallagher

See Rev. John Chastain ~ Jesse Shasteen ~ William Shasteen

From Mary Robertson Chastain's Bible which was in possession of Polly Brown, Greenville, Texas. The Bible was in very bad shape according to William George Chastain who corresponded with Polly Brown's brother George Wilson. George Wilson is the one who transcribed the information from the Bible in the 1970s. Polly Wilson Brown and George Wilson were children of Lillie May Chastain, who married Henry Wilson. Lillie May Chastain was a daughter of George Norris Chastain. William George Chastain is a son of George Clarence Chastain, who was a son of Joseph Rice Chastain. In 1997 William George Chastain mailed a copy of the Bible transcription to Joy Q. Gallagher. Polly Wilson Brown and her brother George Wilson are now deceased and the location of the Bible is unknown in 2007.


James Robertson born Oct. 20, 1773 [could be 1778]
John Robertson born Nov. 16, 1779
Henry Robertson born Feb. 27, 1782
Richard Robertson born July 31, 1785
Peter Robertson born June 1, 1787
Violet Chastain born Dec. 17, 1798
William Chastain born Aug. 7, 1801
Lavina Chastain born Aug. 31, 1803

Mary Chastain, mother of the foregoing posterity, deceased March 24, 1847 age 88 yrs. ____ mos. and 24 days. 1 [According to Polly Brown and George Wilson, Mary lived with her son William after her husband John's death.]

Violet Chastain married William Akins, born Dec. 17, 1791. Their children:
Benjamin Akins born Jan. 7, 1816
Fatema Akins born Dec. 21, 1818
Ireney Akins born May 27, 1821
James Alexander Akins born Aug. 10, 1823

William Chastain married Margaret Dobbs on Oct. 9, 1825. Their children:
Sara Jane born August 1827
Levina born March 1830
David born Feb. 7, 1832; died Aug. 19, 1834 age 2 yrs. 5 mos. and 22 days
John D. born April 24, 1834
Mary Francis born Jan. 22, 1837
Terusha Elizabeth born Aug. 1, 1839; died March 28, 1870 age 30 yrs. 6 mos. and 27 days
Martha Jane born June 8, 1842
Green Berry L. born Sept. 19, 1844; died Feb. 27, 1870 age 25 yrs. 5 mos. and 1 day
George Norris born Jan. 17, 1847
Joseph Rice born Dec. 5, 1849
Calvin D. born July 22, 1852

Joseph R. Chastain and Fannie Fox were married Dec. 4, 1872.

1 Obituaries and Marriage Notices from the Tennessee Baptist: 1844-1862, compiled by Russell Pierce Baker, Southern Historical Press, Easley, SC, 1979, page 22
CHASTAIN, MARY d. March 24, 1847 in Madison Co., Ala.
wife of (1) Henry Robertson, (2) Eld. John Chastain.
b. Dec. 29, 1758
May 29, 1847

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