For some time now I have researched the William Goucher family of Wood co. WV, convinced that my ancestor JG Casto was from that family. We know that his father wasn’t a Casto from our DNA test. We know only a few details of his early life, he didn’t tell much. He was born in Wood county & at the age of 14 went to Gallipolis Ohio were he was an apprentice blacksmith. By the mid 1830's he was in southwest Missouri.
I have been able to verify that the mother of the family, Sarah Goucher, was a Casto. Also I have been able to identify 4 of the 7 sons of the family. I was looking for a son John Goucher & some clue as to why he changed his name. I assumed that with the death of the father in 1826, Sarah Goucher may have sent one or more children to live with relatives. In such a situation I imagined that John Goucher changed his name to Casto.
A few days ago I received some information from Dorothy England who is related to the Goucher family that I think answers the question. Its not the scenario I imagined but I think it is correct.
US ARMY REGISTER OF ENLISTMENTS:1798-1914; 1828 Jan - 1835 > A-Z (Ancestry.com) ENLISTMENTS FOR THE YEAR 1834.
pg 75. #36GOUCHER, JOHNage 21, blue eyes, dark hair, fair complexion, 5'6" in height, born VA, Wood County, blacksmith.Enlisted 26 March at Portsmouth by Lt Clyman for 3 year period in Drag. I (Dragoon I).Deserted 15 December 1834.
pg 75. # 38GOUCHER, ROBERT age 20, blue eyes, fair hair, complexion fair, height 6'1", born Wood County, VA, labourer.Enlisted March 25 at Portsmouth by Lt Clyman for three years in Drag I (Dragoon 'I').Died 5th Sept 1834 at Fort Gibson A.T.
Two Goucher boys from Wood county joined the US Army Dragoons in Portsmouth Ohio, downriver from Gallipolis. At Fort Gibson in what is now eastern Oklahoma the regiment undertook the Pawnee expedition in the summer of 1834. One quarter of the men died from cholera & malaria, many more were sick. Robert Goucher died during that epidemic. That winter John Goucher must have decided he’d had enough & ran. He knew he couldn’t be caught. Deserters were whipped, branded, & put in the guardhouse for the rest of their enlistment. It wasn’t far to sparsely settled south west Missouri. I believe John Goucher went there & changed his name to John G. Casto to avoid the law. The rest is history.
Dorothy England also found another Goucher that is most likely a son of the William Goucher family. William the younger was on the Wood co. Va tax rolls until 1838, then he is gone from Wood co. records. In the 1840 census of Coahoma co. Mississippi a William Goucher of the right age is living. Dr. GW Goucher said that when he first started practicing medicine he did so in Mississippi. In searching the state census for 1841 in Coahoma county she found George W. & a Washington Goucher. Both of them were married, Washington had children. He must have been another son to the William Goucher family.