Saturday, May 11, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ Ashby of Virginia and Kentucky

Virginia (courtesy Wikipedia)
The earliest Ashby ancestor I know of is Thomas Ashby, who is believed to have been born about 1680 in England. His wife was Rose (or Rosanna) Berry and they had ten children. He settled in the colony of Virginia sometime between 1700 - 1710. He was known as Captain Thomas Ashby, as he served as a captain of the local militia. Thomas' will was written in April 1752 and was probated in August 1752. It is recorded on page 53 of the Frederick County (Virignia) Will Book 2, and is where his children are listed: John, Robert, Benjamin, Stephen, Thomas, Jr., Henry, Elizabeth, Sarah, Rose, and Ann.

Generation 2: Stephen Ashby was born in 1710 in Prince William County, Virginia. He served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War. For his service, he was granted what were known as bounty lands in Kentucky. When he died on May 19, 1797, he was a resident of Mercer County, Kentucky, though it is believed he died in Hopkins County. He is buried in the Old Ashby Cemetery in Hanson, Hopkins County, Kentucky. His Find A Grave memorial contains a great deal of information about him, including photographs of his original gravestone and a much later replacement one.

Different sources offer different names for his wives. The DAR Patriot index indicates that he had two wives named Elizabeth and one named Sarah. His will was written in May 1797 and is recorded on page 36 of the Mercer County (Kentucky) Will Book 2. In Captain Stephen Ashby's will, he refers to his "Military land" being left to his sons (Daniel, Absalom, John, Stephen, Enos).

Captain Stephen fathered at least eight children: John, Enos, Daniel, Rosa, Absolom, Stephen, Jr., Lettice, and Annie.

Kentucky (courtesy Wikipedia)
Generation 3: Daniel Ashby was born in Frederick County, Virginia in August 1759. He also served in the Revolution and settled in Hopkins County, Kentucky after the war. He was married twice. His first wife was Olive Boardman with whom he had one child. She died in 1788 and his second wife was Mary Benson (also known as Polly) and they had five children. I'm unclear as to whether Sarah or Nathaniel is his child with Olive, but the remaining children were Absolom, John, Stephen, and Daniel, Jr. He died on September 13, 1836, in Hopkins County, Kentucky and is buried in the Old Ashby Cemetery where his father is buried.

Generation 4: Stephen Ashby was born about 1805 and died young, in May 1829, without a will. There is a record of his marriage to Pamela (or Pamelia or Permelia) Christian on July 20, 1820, in Hopkins County, Kentucky (Dodd, Jordan, Kentucky Marriages, 1802-1850, at Although he died intestate, there are court records that help piece together this family.

Court records from the 1820's to 1840 summarize the family's situation. When Stephen died in May 1829, he owned some personal property, 311 acres of land in Hopkins County, and four young slaves. The administrators (brother Nathaniel and widow Pamelia) sold some of the personal property and one slave to pay debts. They had to petition to sell 50 acres of the land instead of one of the slaves in order to raise enough money to pay remaining debts. In one record, it specifies that Stephen "left a widow and four children who are infants," i.e. young children (likely born between 1821-1828). In another record, the children are listed as Malinda, Benjamin, Napoleon, & Morgan (also known as Daniel M.) There are also references to the widow Pamelia marrying James Hall, which leads me to look for the family in later records under the surname Hall.

Although it is extremely difficult to find vital records for births and deaths in early 19th century Kentucky, these court records are a wonderful resource to piece together a family.

Generation 5: Daniel Morgan Ashby (also found in records as D.M. or D. Morgan) was born in January 1828. I wrote about him at Workday Wednesday-Tobacco then Insurance. He was in Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky by 1850 and married Mary Elizabeth Gorin on February 11, 1857.

Because census records prior to 1850 only listed the head of household, I'm not sure where he was in 1840, but it was very likely in the household of his step-father, James Hall. More research to do here!

As I noted in an early 2012 blog post, Daniel Morgan Ashby was a fifth cousin to Confederate General Turner Ashby. He named one of his sons Turner.

Generation 6: Mary Bowman Ashby (1866-1956) married Charles Chapin Adsit
Generation 7: Elizabeth Adsit (1897-1983) married Charles McAlpin Pyle
Generation 8: Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr. (1924-1993)
Generation 9: Me

Most of what I know about the first four generations of this family is from The Ashby Book, Vol. 1: Descendants of Captain Thomas Ashby of Virginia by Lee Fleming Reese, published in 1976. This book is digitized and I found it at This author did a very good job of transcribing wills, court records and military records in order to piece together many descendants of Ashby families. I am thrilled to have found this book and it has given me some leads on filling in some holes I had on this line.


  1. Hi, I just discovered your blog. Captain Stephen Ashby is my 5th great grandfather. I am descended from his daughter Rosa or Rose who married Captain George Timmons. I'm so excited to have found your blog and compare information and sources!


    1. Hello Kim,

      It appears that we are sixth cousins! Thank you for your comment and let me know if you have tested your DNA - it would be interesting to see if we share any from our common fifth great-grandparents!

      Thank you for reading and commenting.