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FredQuest Genealogy

David Ashley

David Ashley (1642-1718)

Ashley Genealogy by Francis Bacon Trowbridge (1896)

DAVID ASHLEY (Robert), born 3 June 1642 in Springfield, Mass.; died 8 December 1718 in Westfield, Mass.; married 24 November 1663 in New Haven, Conn,. HANNAH GLOVER, daughter of Henry and Helena Glover, born in May 1646 in New Haven; died 7 Jun 1722 in Westfield.

David Ashley settled in Springfield and lived there the first three years and a half of his married life. In 1661 grants of lands had been made to Captain Pynchon, Robert Ashley, and George Colton at the new settlement then being made at Woronoco, now Westfield, and David Ashley eventually had his father's title confirmed to him. On February 8, 1663-4, David received a thirty acre grant at Woronoco, on condition that he and the others grantees were "to pay the Indians for their purchase within three years and that they go there to dwell." He was on of the original grantees of land on the Fort Side (Main Street) on July 6, 1666. This land was to be settled "in their own persons on the last of May next." He probably removed his family to Westfield in the spring of 1667. He lived near the confluence of the Great and Little rivers, and styled himself "yeoman." In March 1668 , a division of territory was made into three parts, and lots cast for it and David Ashley's lands fell in the first division. In March 1669, Sacketts creek was granted to Joseph Whiting and David Ashley "to set a mill thereon and grind corn."

At a county court held at Springfield September 27, 1670, Walter Lee brought an action against David Ashley "for taking away from him 10 shock of his wheat last year and a load of Indian corn this year off the ground which he had plowed and sowed." This must have been a mistake on Mr. Ashley's part, as the parties agreed before the jury brought in their verdict.

In the fall of 1671 Mr. Edward Taylor, recently graduated at Harvard College, was invited by the inhabitants of Westfield to come there and preach to them. He says in his diary, "This being the 2d [1st] of December, we came to Westfield.... We went to Mr. Whiting's. There the men of the town came to welcome me, and after supper I went to Goodman Ashley's, where I was till Mr. Whiting had got his house reading that I might be with him."

David Ashley was one of a committee of three appointed to convey to the government at Boston the protest of the town against a letter dated March 20, 1676, advising that the town of Westfield be abandoned and the inhabitants retreat to Springfield for protection against the Indians, as the cost of maintaining the scattered settlements along the Connecticut River was considered too much. This was during King Philip

On September 6, 1685, the town granted to David Ashley, Thomas Noble, Isaac Phelps and Nathaniel Weller liberty to erect a sawmill "on the brook on the northeast side of the river."

"At a town meeting held November the 18, 1696, it is voted y lef Samuel Root, Nathaniel Bancroft, Adijah Dewey and David Ashley should be as a commitey to rise all lands in Westfield, and stock all y is above one year old, and y all heads should bee apprised at ten pounds p head to defray town charges."

David Ashley was prominent in the management of Westfield affairs and held a number of responsible office. He served as a juror in 1665; he was elected a selectman in 1676, 1677, 1679 to 1685, 1694 and 1699; Clerk of the Writs in 1678, 1686. and 1690; and Treasurer of the town in 1694. He performed the duties of all these and other less important offices in a manner satisfactory to the town and creditable to himself, and was highly respected. He united with the Westfield church January 1, 1679-80, five months after its organization, and took the freeman's oath at a court held at Springfield on September 28, 1680.

The gravestones of David Ashley and his wife are among the oldest in the old Westfield cemetery. They are short irregular slabs of native stone, and are so weather-beaten that they were deciphered with difficulty as follows:


Ye  8 1718

IVNE T-E 1722

*** See Mechanic Street Cemetery webpage for grave marker photos ***


i. SAMUEL, b. 26 Oct 1664 [Springfield, Mass.]

ii. DAVID, b. 10 Mar 1666-7 [Springfield, Mass.]

iii. JOHN, b. 31 July 1671 [Westfield, Mass.]

iv. JOSEPH, b. 31 Jul 1671 [Westfield, Mass.]

v. SARAH, b. 10 Sep 1673 [Westfield, Mass.], m. 22 Jul7 1692

vi. MARY, twins [HANNAH] d. 19 Jul 1676

vii. HANNAH, b. 26 Dec 1675 [Westfield, Mass.]; m 13 Sep 1694; Nathaniel Eggleston of Westfield

viii. JONATHAN, b. 21 June 1678 [Westfield, Mass.]

ix. ABIGAIL, b. 27 Apr 1681 [Westfield, Mass.]; m. 25 Nov 1699, Nathaniel Lewis of Farmington

x. MARY, b. 8 Mar 1682-3 [Westfield, Mass.]; m. 21 Dec 1709, Benjamin Stebbins of Northampton

xi. REBECCA, b. 30 May 1685 [Westfield, Mass.]; m. about 1710, Samuel Dewey of Westfield

Source: Francis Bacon Trowbridge, The Ashley Genealogy, History of the Descendants of Robert Ashley of Springfield, Massachusetts, (Press of Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor; 1896), page 343-346.