The Ashley family may reach back to Sir Anthony Ashley born in 1551 in Middlesex, England and died 1628 in the Netherlands, and his wife, Lady Dorothy Lyte Baroness of Ashley, born 1545 in England. Their son, William Ashley, born 1592 in England and died 1664 England may have been the father of our John Ashley who was born in England but crossed the Atlantic to the American Colonies. There are sources for this family but not a clear line of succession.
Once upon a time… The history of the Ashley family begins with a romantic tale. According to ‘The Ashley Family’ by Elizabeth Willis DeHuff the family originated in England where two brothers, William and John Ashley, competed for the affections of Jane Cooper. ‘It was decided between them that the one whom she rejected migrate to America.” William lost and crossed the ocean to the colonies. Nevertheless, John and Jane followed at a later date.[i]Although this romantic tale is centuries old there is evidence to support its claims.
John Ashley, born 1625 in Lancaster, England married Jane Cooper.[ii], [iii]Before he was 30 years old he was living in Lancaster County, Virginia. In 1653 John Ashley and Thomas Hamper received 300 acres of land on the north side of the ‘Peancketanck’ River [Piankatank River] because they transported ‘six persons’ to the area.[iv]
1 Thomas Ashley, Jr. b: c. 1710, d: Aug 1790 Bertie, NC
… + Ann Hicks
……2 Ann Ashley b: c. 1733
…… + Humphrey Lawrence b: c. 1726, d: 1772 Bertie, NC
………3 Frederick Lawrence b: c. 1746 Bertie, NC, d: 1823 Bertie, NC
………3 Reuben Lawrence b: c. 1748 Bertie, NC, d: Bertie, NC
………3 David Lawrence b: c. 1750 Bertie, NC, d: Abt. 1786 Chowan, NC
………3 Anne Lawrence b: Abt. 1762 Bertie, NC, d: Abt. 1830 MS
……… + Richard Dillon b: 7 Oct 1745 Norfolk, VA, m: c. 1776, d: 7 Oct 1833 MS
………3 Nathaniel Lawrence b: 27 Jul 1766 Bertie, NC, d: 24 Dec 1849 Artesia, Lowndes, MS
……2 Elizabeth Ashley
…… + Boulton
……2 Mary Ashley
…… + Hodgeson
Read more about:
- Bell, Mary Best. Colonial Bertie County North Carolina 1753 – 1757. Volume VI; Abstracts of Deed Book H. Windsor, North Carolina: Colonial Bertie, 1968. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Bell, M. B. (1963). Colonial Bertie County, North Carolina: Deed Books A – H, 1720 – 1757 (2nd Edition). Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc. [Ashley deeds in this book]
- Creel, Bevin. A Patriot’s Legacy: The Family of Richard Dillon and Ann Lawrence from Bertie County, North Carolina to Southern Mississippi and Louisiana; Mildred Penton Richbourg, Publisher, 2002. [Lots of information but no sources in their book]
- DeHuff, E. W. (1962) The Ashley Family; Retrieved from family search.org, April 2017.
- Hathaway, U. R. B. (Ed.) (1900) The North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register. Edenton Publishers, North Carolina. Retrieved April 2017 from archive.org.
- Haun, Weynette Parks. Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes (Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions) 1724 thru 1739. Book I, North Carolina: 1976. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, NC.
- Haun, Weynette Parks. Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1740 thru 1743; 1758 thru 1762. Book II. North Carolina: 1977. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, NC