Dyan-There are several theories as to their origin.Only info I have is what has been passed sdown to me.My Abston line (my father's maternal line) goes back to Francis (b. ca 1700) as follows: Francis/Susannah Ball Evans; Joshuary(Joshua)/Rchel/Clement; Francis/Sally Farmer & 2. Mary Bruce; James Abston/Susan Petit; / Lipscomb Petit Abston/Amanda Sevier; James Alfred Abston/Amanda Belle Davis; Mary W. Abston/Arthur C. Phillips; Earl R.Phillips/Verna J. Jennings;me
I have the siblings of all of the ones listed above after Franics.I think the most common belief is that Francis was the son of Samuuel Abston b. ca 1675 and who was on of William Abston of St. Mary's Co.,Maryland b. ca 1650.
My G. Uncle who did most of the research back about 40 years ago visited with the dau of Newton Smith, son of the sister of James Abston B. 1794 and GS of the 2nd Francis Abston (b. 1770) who had a handwritten note of Newton's that said "James Abston was born in Henry Co., VA and moved to Rutherford Co, TN and thence to Clinton Co, KY and thence to Overton Co., TN.James Abston was French & Portugese.His wife's name was Susan Petit, born in Virginia and she was Black Dutch."
I believe that the Portugese came from Susannah Ball Evans who supposedly was half-Portugese.
Jim Smith, who has a lot of entries on the Abston Forum and is related to the Nute smith above had a note based upon info passed down from Sally Dove who married William Abston, the father of James Abston mentioned above.Sally supposedly stated that William told her he came from the French Tuckaho settlement in Massachusetts.Mass. along with Richmond, VA area had the two largest French Hugenot settlements in the U.S.