Mustain Name Origin

A Sep 2007 post to by Pamela Almustaine, a professional researcher, gives  possible history of Mustain and related names. Her post is copied below in full. I’ve added bold text to a few sections I found most interesting. For example she found a 1722 land grant to Thomas Mustain, who may have been our Thomas’ father. There is also a note that our Thomas may have been trained as clerk, lawyer, or legal notary.

The following details are very complicated, and I certainly don’t understand the way they all fit together. However, I want to share with our family because I (and others) have found mystery about Thomas Mustain before the first 1748 record of him in Pittsylvania Co. VA.

Thomas Mustain_Origin of Name 

Hello Steve,
don’t get me wrong…. I am talking about descent over millennia here… I am an anthropologist and have spent a lot of my time researching descent from Antiquity and long term migration patterns…

Thomas Mustain clearly had his origins in the British Isles in terms of immediate lineage. I believe he belonged to the family of Taine’s recorded in Bermuda, Barbados, and Jamaica. Both Thomas and Jesse were Anglicans not Jewish neither were they Morisco or Melungeon. Marriage records show Anglican, Quaker, and Huguenot affiliation for the Taine, Moustin, M’Taine, and Muston families that emigrated to Americas in the 1500-1700 time frame.

Mustain family migration

English Galleon Model as one possible sailing ship. Public domain image from Wikipedia

These migration patterns of these surnames from 1000 AD – 1750 are as follows (I am creating a map to show the relationships). Brittany to England – (within England to Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, Channel Islands). With the advent of persecution in France they migrated to Holland, Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean. From Holland they migrated to Scandinavia, Germany, New Amsterdam, Canada and the Caribbean. From Ireland they migrated to Canada, North America and the Caribbean.

The Moorish/Arab name Al Musta’in is not the same as Mustain although there is some similarity in the creed of Mostyn (Auxillum meum et Dominum) and the Arab meaning of the name Al Musta’in (one who prays to God for intercession). I am not entirely discounting a connection however..more research will need to be done before we can say yay or nay with any certainty.

In fact the centuries old Anglophilic definition of the origin of the surname Mostyn (Moss town) is under scrutiny. The name does have an alternative Latin meaning “tin mine”. Incidentally the same root behind Brittanium. My research so far shows that in England most of the town names derived from Mostin are in some way associated with mining (tin, silver, or coal) or with families with mining interests. This was certainly true of Isaac of Muston. If the name Mustain is in any way connected to Musta’in it would have had to be prior to 500AD.

I highly suspect that any Arabic genes infused into the lineage may have come from secondary sources not from the main Mustaine ancestral line but from an Admixture introduced between 1000AD and 1700AD through a Portuguese or Spanish intermarriage. Regarding the name Seludy there were a great many girls of from this area in 1700-1780 who were named Seluda, Seludi, Seludie after then Seluda river in Carolina.

With regard to that… this bolsters my believe that the next step to locating our Thomas Mustain is to look in the islands of the Caribbean where there was two generations of Jesse Taine living in Barbados. One Jesse Taine married a Joan Browne in the Anglican Parish in 1725. At the baptism of their son William some years later there was a Jesse Tain who was made Godfather of little William. I found a record of a Jesse Tayn who emigrated from the Caribbean to South Carolina prior to 1740 accompanied by a William Browne. It would appear also that our verifiable Thomas Mustain was not the original Thomas (first ancestor) but rather his son.

Land records indicate that Thomas Mustain received a land grant in 1722. Since he would have had to be an adult to receive the grant. This Thomas would have had to be our Thomas’s father. If our Thomas had been an adult in 1722 he would have been too old to be the Thomas Mustain that participated in the American Revolution.

Here is what I know so far…

There is a record of Marc Taine aka Marc Moustin serving as an alderman in Calais. He is also associated with the Enterprise of America (French West India Company) which in 1560 sent settlers to Martinique to raise sugar cane and tobacco. One of these settlers was a Marie Taine (possibly Marc’s sister). There is also at this time a Antoine Taine/Mustin also from Calais who was instrumental the settlement of New Amsterdam and Canada.

There is a record of a Thomas and Ann Moustine who debarked in MD 1670, in 1701 there is a record of a Thomas Taine baptized son of Thomas Taine and Jeanne Cornu in Calais France. There is also a John Mustain recorded in MD around 1660. (Maryland is very close to Halifax/ Pittsylvania county VA.)*

*Rebecca’s note: I believe I’ve found this John Mustain, please scroll to the bottom of this article.

There is a Jesse Taine in Barbados married Joan Browne in 1725 and emigrated to South Carolina in abt 1740. There is a second Jesse Taine who is obviously related to the first Jesse Taine (whether senior or junior I am not yet certain).

One thing I am sure of the (M’Taine/Mustain) family did not come to the Carribean as indentured servants, nor did they come by way of Bristol, Middlesex, or London. They would likely have sailed from the ports of France, Holland, or Ireland. Most likely as the owners of their own ships, or as fully paid passengers.

BTW… There is some indication that our Thomas may have been a (clerk, lawyer, or legal notary).

One additional aside not sure how it is related… There is a record of a Thomas Mostyn and Browne (T/P)ayne located at Puddledock up Thames London in 1730 as the insurance underwriters for port shipments of sugar between the colonies and Dutch and English ports. The name of the insurance company at the time was the Sun Assurance Company. in 1781 ownership was transferred and the name changed to Phoenix Assurance.

Could this be the record that Pamela referred to in the text above?

*Thomas Moustain (Mustain) b. ~ 1650 (son of John)

Click on the links below, to see the parents of this Thomas and tables of several generations. Clicking on the “Mustain” or “Vaughan” links will give you a list of persons in each family:
John Mustain (of Churston) [Mustain] b. изм 1620 и 1630 d. ~ 1682

Bridget Vaughan (Vann) [Vaughan] b. 1635проц

> # Thomas Moustain (Mustain) [Mustain]

1674, From France to Maryland

Although it is certain that Thomas was related to John Mustain, the age of John’s wife makes it difficult (but not impossible) to reconcile chronologically, unless Thomas was the projeny of a first marriage. Another scenario is that Thomas is cousin’s son to John, being the grandson of either John’s uncle Jasper, Thomas, or Maximilien. Maximilien is unlikely since non of the descendants of Thomas carried the name Maximilien forward. However the names Thomas, John, and Jesse/Jasper, appear with regular frequency. That Thomas is decended from the branch of Muston-Churchill that was located in France is made more likely by the fact that Thomas and his wife Ann set sail to Maryland from the Port of Calais, rather than the more conveniently located Cinque Ports.

Note on family migration: I was amazed to see the many types of sailing ships in wikipedia. It was not easy for me to determine on which types of ships our ancestors might have sailed.

If you have more information about our family before Thomas Mustain and Mary Haley Mustain, please share comments and/or links.


Hooked on My Family History: Rebecca Musteen Johnson

I can tell you exactly when I became entranced with my family history.

One month before my 12th birthday, I was resting fretfully at St. John’s Hospital in Tulsa, OK after surgery to remove my right kidney (due to a birth defect, which had been undetected earlier). The actual procedure was far more fearful to Mother than me…I was greatly relieved to be done with weeks of irritating and painful tests.

My main problem was entertainment. I’d read ALL the classic Nancy Drew mysteries on the top shelf of our Candy Striper’s gray rolling trolley, and Mother had gone back to Northwest Arkansas to tend my three younger siblings.

Grandma Musteen Came and Shared My Family History

Dad’s 76-year-old Mama* arrived to sit with me and told me stories we had never enjoyed the solitude to share. While I dined on broth, weak tea and any flavor of Jell-O that my heart desired, she shared tales that were far more flavorful.

Jennie Brown Musteen

Jennie Brown Musteen with the 6th of her 12 grandchildren…me.

Her grandfather was a solid Ozark farmer with eight children. For his main livelihood, he tanned hides in an earthen pit, filled with tanning chemicals. Northwest Arkansas was just slightly south of the Mason-Dixon Line, so his pit was covered with branches and leaves to conceal it from armed bands of post-Civil War raiders from both sides.  

Food was precious. One story told of his youngest, Mary, crying for the warm bread her mother had just taken from the oven…after “Bushwhackers” rode into the yard and rudely stole it away.

Butterfield Overland Trail

Butterfield Overland Trail

To supplement his family income before the Civil War, John drove a Butterfield Stage from a point in MO to Fort Smith, AR on a regular route. Great-Great-Grandpa’s route went right through that upper corner of AR, which you can see in the official trail map. Grandma specifically mentioned that he stopped at the Elkhorn Tavern. I’ve searched the Butterfield records and found that it was an unofficial, but popular stop.  

Prior to the Civil War, the house was used for many purposes, although it was well-known locally as a stop for the Overland Stage. Although the Butterfield Stage passed by on the Telegraph Road, the Elkhorn Tavern was not an official stop on the Butterfield line. During this period, the Tavern was described as a place “of abundant good cheer”.

Wait! While Grandma was describing the tavern, I knew something about it. In my 5th-grade class, the silver-haired granddaughter of the tavern’s Civil War-era managers came to share her mother’s unforgettable, youthful memories from The Battle of Pea Ridge. The tavern was occupied as the field hospital by Army surgeons, who worked tirelessly to remove shattered limbs and save as many lives as possible.

Now, my region’s history, my country’s history, was also my family history! (Dad’s mamma was born in 1887 and would have been close in age to the kind woman who shared her mother’s Civil War memories with our class.)

It was Cox, who later renamed it Elkhorn Tavern. Under Cox’ management, the structure served as a trading post, an unofficial Butterfield Overland Mail stop, post office, voting place, eating establishment, church of the Benton County Baptist Society and inn. As the war moved near, Jesse Cox left the tavern to the care of his son and daughter-in-law Joseph and Lucinda Pratt Cox and went to Kansas.

The last time I visited Pea Ridge National Military Park, a stretch of bare-earth ruts from Telegraph Road were still visible near the tavern. I stood and thought of my great-great-grandfather driving his coach and team over those ruts.

By a quirk of fate, my only granddaughter now attends Butterfield Trail Elementary School in Fayetteville, AR. Even stranger, the first successful Butterfield stage run was finished on her birth date of September 19—148 years and six family generations before she was born.

The first Butterfield stage entered Forth Smith on Sunday, September 19, 1858, at 2:00 a.m. Its route took it over Fort Smith’s old Washington Street, which today is 2nd Street. Even at that hour, its arrival was greeted with music, cheering, and cannon fire, which continued until the coach left for California.

While it thrills me to know something of my family history, I wish I knew so much more! The last Musteen in my dad’s direct siblings is gone now. My cousins and I never sat down with her and captured her rich trove of memories. We intended to do it “next visit,” “when we get the chance.”

Time didn’t wait for us. If you’re interested in your family history, please grab any opportunity NOW to capture family stories…those treasured memories can live forever.

I’m very fortunate to have history for several generations on three of my grandparents. The main focus of this blog is my dad’s Mustain lineage. I begin with this history because our ancestor, Thomas Mustain, built a home that has stood for more than 250 years. I love that tangible reminder of my heritage. I have no idea why Thomas received a royal land grant, so that’s a subject for future research.

Any blood descendent of Thomas is eligible to join Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Click here for details about Thomas donating a firearm, and you can also find more information on all requirements at

Avery and Jesse were both enlisted in the Revolutionary War, so their service records can be used, too.

According to Delores M. Mustaine’s book, The descendents of Thomas Mustain of Pittsylvania County, Virginia; Thomas’ daughter Molley’s father-in-law, Littleberry Patterson, was also a veteran of the Revolutionary War. So far, I’ve found this reference. The online photo archive of Delores’ book has page numbers in the upper right corner…details about Molley and the Patterson family begin in the middle of page 5.

Dad’s grandfather, Nathaniel Baxter Mustain, fought in the Civil War, waited for wages that didn’t come and endured a Union prison camp…more about that in a later post.

Please comment and share this blog with your family members. The details of our family histories are too precious to lose!

*Jennie Lee Brown married Nathaniel Baxter Musteen when she was 23. Only the oldest of Nate’s four surviving children, Walter, raised his own family. More about this in a later post. Four of Jennie and Nate’s seven children gave Jennie 12 grandchildren. Nate died in 1946, so we grandchildren have photos and a few minutes of video made by my Uncle Hubert in the handful of years before Grandpa’s death.  

Hubert: Martha Jane and Sarah Lee Musteen
Mary: Lisle Gene, Bennie Joe and Gail Lou Stevenson
Jack: Debbie, David and Margie Musteen
Joe: Rebecca Gail, Jennie Lynn, Michael Wayne and Barry Twan Musteen


Carolyn Mckenzie’s Outstanding Family Research Includes Mustain, Mustaine and Musteen

I own a copy of my mother’s family research. It’s 500+ pages that my grandmother’s aunt typed in the 1960’s. She was nearly finished when a chance reply to one letter opened information to nine more generations.

Mustain, Mustaine & Musteen

A huge “thank you!” to Carolyn Mckenzie for detailed research of Mustain, Mustaine & Musteen family history.

I find online research very time consuming. It’s hard to imagine only letters, long-distance telephone calls and printed materials as resources!

The following,  outstanding collection was compiled by Carolyn Mckenzie, and presents information in three different views as described below.*  She included Mustain, Mustaine and Musteen.
We’re thankful for the MANY hours devoted to Mustain family research!


Click “Next Page” in the top menu to see each new page.–Mckenzie/GENE1-0001.html

Here is a nine-generation list.–Mckenzie/ODT2-0001.html

Here is a tree format.**–Mckenzie/tree1.html

*What a treasure we have in both Delores M Mustaine’s and Carolyn Mckenzie’s research! I have noticed a few places where Carolyn might have slightly different details from one version of her research to another…for example from the descending generation view to the tree-format view…perhaps a death year one place and not another. I can just imagine how difficult and time-consuming it was for her to enter and format all that information! I mention this only to say that as you use her research, you may want to check between the different formats.

** When you use the “tree” view of Carolyn’s research, click inside the tree box after it loads the information (you’ll see a bar inside the top of the box as all the information is added), then type F to see an alphabetical list of names. Other directions are on the page, but the need to click inside the box before typing F to get the full, alphabet-order list is not clear.

Carolyn has researched my own branch of the family from Thomas’ son, Avery, down through my grandfather, Nathaniel Baxter Musteen, plus some of his children and grandchildren. You can see some online history links to each generation of my branch in the page titled “Note to Family.”

I have not found a photo or any other information about Carolyn McKenzie. If you have anything I’d love to know. Please comment, share this blog with your branch of our family and add details and/or links for research you may have found.

If you have written or oral history, or photos, of your branch; I’ll be glad to add one or more posts to this blog for you. I know we’re unlikely to find many photos before the later 1800s. I have only a handful of older photos from my grandparents.


Thomas Mustain Will 1791

Thomas Mustain Will

Thomas Mustain will was written on November 6, 1791 and entered into court on November 21, 1791. This photo for illustrative purposes only.

On November 6, 1791, Thomas Mustain, “being weak in body,” wrote his will:

  • To my beloved wife Mary Mustain, a sufficient maintenance suitable to her circumstance, as long as she remains a widow;

  • To my son Jesse, 200 acres to be taken off the upper end of the tract that I now live on: Beginning at the upper N corner and running down the N line  onto the S line, making his complement;

  • The balance of the tract of land I live on to be sold to the highest bidder giving 18 months credit;

  • To daughters, Rebecca and Molly, twenty shillings each;

  • To daughters Mary Ann and Sally, ten pounds each;

  • To son Avery Mustain and daughters Anna Buckner, Milly Keesee, Tabetha Bruce, Winney Lewis, and Saludy Shelton one equal part of the money from the sale of the land;

  • To Thomas Mustain, son of Jesse Mustain and his wife Jenny, has promised to live with me and my wife during our lives for which I give and bequeath unto the said Thomas Mustain a tract of land on both sides of Mayes Creek, 170 acres, and 1/3 of my moveable property;

  • The balance of my moveable property to be divided among my last six named children.

  • I appoint son, Jesse Mustain, and Joel Shelton executors.

Signed by Thomas Mustain (with his X).  Witnessed by Frances Irby, Nathaniel Farris, and Griffith Dickinson.  Vincent Shelton and Charles Lewis, Jr. gave security for the executors.  This will was entered into court on November 21, 1791.

Unfortunately, it was not long before Jesse died.  Family lore says he fell from his horse while intoxicated.  On June 1, 1795, Polly Mustain, widow of Jesse, mortgaged her dower of 66 2/3 acres to Samuel and David Pannill for thirty pounds. On August 21, 1797, Jesse’s son Thomas was made legal guardian to Jesse’s minor children.  Also in 1797, the whole plantation, including Polly’s dower, was sold to Benjamin Gosney and passed out of the Mustain family.

In 1817, Gosney sold the property to Richard Whitehead for $2,840.  When Whitehead bought roughly the other half of the Mustain tract in 1811, he had, in effect, the land to which Thomas Mustain was given patent by George II.  Around 1836, Richard Whitehead made structural changes to the house:  moving the south and north doors (front and back) on the 2nd floor, as well as adding a wall to make a center hallway corresponding to the new placement of doors.  Richard and his wife, Pency, were buried together near the house, but in 1934 they were removed to Chatham, VA

The details above are from a description of the property when it was for sale in 2002.

Here is the entry for Thomas Mustain will 1791 posted on Each basic point is essentially the same, but language and spellings are different.

Last Will and Testament of THOMAS MUSTAIN weak in body.

Deed Book 9, pg. 119-120, written 6 November 1791, probated 16 July 1792

To my beloved wife Mary MUSTAIN, a sufficient maintenance suitable to her surcomstance, free and undesturbed during her life or widowhood.

To my son Jesse, 200 acres to be taken off the upper end of the tract where I now live.

The rest of this tract to be sold.

To daughter, Rebeckah and Molly, twenty shillings each from the sale of the above land.

To daughters Mary Ann and Sally, ten pounds each.

To son Avery MUSTAIN and daughters Anna BUCKNER, Milley KEESE, Tabeth BRUCE, Winney LEWIS and Siludey SHELTON one equal part of the money from the sale of the land.

To Thomas MUSTAIN, son of Jesse MUSTAIN and his wife Jenney, has promised to live with me and my wife during our lives for which I give and bequeath unto the said Thomas MUSTAIN a tract of land on both sides of Nixes(?) Creek, 170 acres.

The balance of my moveable property to be divided among my last six named children.

Appoint son Jesse MUSTAIN and Joel SHELTON executors.


Witnesses: Francis (X) IVY, Nathaniel FARIS, Griffith DICKINSON Vincent SHELTON and Charles LEWIS, Jr. security for executors


Thomas Mustain: First Records and Land Grant in VA

  • Name: Thomas Mustain
  • Birth: Est 1720 in Halifax, Lunenberg Co. Virginia
  • Death: 21 NOV 1791 in Pittsylvania Co. Virginia

The first record of Thomas Mustain is in 1748 on the list of Tithables. Thomas received his first land grant on Feb. 5, 1753 from King George II of England, signed by Robert Dinwiddle. It consisted of 400 acres in Luneburg co., on Poplar Branch of Mill Creek. Source:

The blog header photo and following text are from the current county site at:

The largest county in Virginia, Pittsylvania County consists of 982.89 square miles. Situated in the south-central Piedmont plateau region, the land is rolling to hilly with elevations averaging from 400 to 800 feet above sea level. The highest point in the county is Smith Mountain, which is 2,043 feet high.

The county borders North Carolina and is adjacent to the City of Danville. Chatham, the county seat, is 140 miles from Richmond, 68 miles from Roanoke, 50 miles from Lynchburg, and 96 miles from Raleigh, North Carolina.

The county was formed in 1767 from Halifax County and assumed its present boundaries in 1777. It was named for William Pitt, First Earl of Chatham, a British Statesman who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768.