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David Gelston

david gelston house, david gelston castle
David Gelston July 4, 1744 in Bridgehampton, New York – August 21, 1828 in New York City was an American merchant and politician


  • 1 Life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 References
  • 4 Sources


He married Pheobe Mitchell and their daughter, Pheobe Gelston 1771–1836 later married Nicoll Floyd, the son of William Floyd


As the American Revolution approached, Gelston became politically active He signed the articles of association in 1774, agreeing to avoid British imports, even though this hurt his own business He represented Suffolk County in the New York Provincial Congress of 1775 to 1777, as well as the 1777 New York State Constitutional Convention that debated and enacted the first constitution of the State of New York He was a Republican and he worked closely with Aaron Burr

He was a member from Suffolk County of the New York State Assembly from 1777 to 1785 During his last term, he was Speaker As speaker, he took a leading role in reconciling the differences between Tory and Whig factions He oversaw the repeal of all the laws that had imposed civil and legal penalties on Tories

In 1787, he removed to New York City, and from 1787 to 1801, was Surrogate of New York County In 1789, the State Assembly appointed him a delegate to the last session of the Continental Congress He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1791 to 1794, and from 1798 to 1802

It was during 1792, that Charles Willson Peale was commissioned by Gelston, a notable American during the time, to paint a "head size" portrait of Gelston as well as a companion piece of his wife and daughter1 This painting is currently displayed at the La Salle Art Museum

Gelston was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson Collector of the Port of New York in 1801, and held that post until 1821 when he retired

He was buried in the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in New York


  1. ^ Sellers, Charles 1962 Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale Barnes Foundation pp 85, 264 


  • United States Congress "David Gelston id: G000122" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 
  • The New York Civil List compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough pages 114f, 117f, 141, 275 and 415; Weed, Parsons and Co, 1858
Political offices
Preceded by
John Hathorn
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Succeeded by
John Lansing, Jr
Government offices
Preceded by
Joshua Sands
Collector of the Port of New York
Succeeded by
Jonathan Thompson

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David Gelston

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