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FredQuest Genealogy

Robert Ashley

Robert Ashley

Ashley Genealogy by Francis Bacon Trowbridge (1896)

ROBERT ASHLEY, first appears on record as a resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, January 13, 1638-9, when here was a rating of £40 agreed upon to meet a portion of the expense of the minister's residence and maintenance. Robert Ashley's disbursement was £1 for the former and 16 shillings for the latter, being the fifth in amount on the list. This shows that Robert Ashley must have been in Springfield 1638.

The first participation of Robert Ashley in the allotment of lands on record was on January 5, 1640-1, when "It is ordered that these psons underwritten shall have theyr lotts for ye 2d Division of plantinge ground granted them accoringe to ye number of acres and order of places as is under neath written wch is be measured out by the first of Aprill next, pvided that those yt have broaken up ground there shall have allowance for it as 2 indifferent men shall judge equall. Single psons are to have 8 ro in brdth, maryed psons 10 rod in bredth, bigger familys 12 rod, to begin upward at the edge of ye hill." [Chestnut Street.] Robert Ashley had lot No. 3, of 8 rods, being unmarried, situated between Widow Searle and John Dibble.

The next mention of Robert Ashley of importance is on page 19 and 20 of the records of Mr. Pynchon, which contain the following instruments:

"August 7, 1641. Know all men that whereas there is a marriage shrtely intended between the widdow Horton & Robert Ashly, both of Springfield. That the said widdow Horton in the p'sence of Robert Ashly doth assigne & set over her house & house lott containing about eleven akers & 4 aker of woodland afore the house Eastward all wch are valued at eighteene punde all together are valued at Thirty pounde, into the hande of Robert Ashly for the use & behofe of her two sonns one sucking and the other about three years ould caled Jarmy to be paid to them that is to say to eather of them fifteen pounds apiece when they shall come to the age of Twenty & one yeres: & the said Robert is to have the use & profits of the said land & hogges for the educatine of her said Two sonnes; and when they shall come to the age of 13 or 14 yeares the said Robert doth proise to put them out as apprentises to some usefull traade such as they shall like of: & if they cannot be put out without a portion of money, then so much is to be deducted out their portion of 15 lb apiece as shall be indifferently judged fitt for their bynding out: & the rest of yr said 15 lb a piece the said Robert doth bynd himself his lad goods & cattell to pay to them when they shall come to the age of 21 yeeres: and in the meane tyme doth bynd himselfe to maintaine the present house & fencinge & if he shall leave it in better case thant it is at present then he that shall enjoy it shall pay such cost as shall be judged to make it better for his use by indifferent prties & if one of the two sonns of the widdow Horton shall die before the age of 21 yeares: then the other shall share his portion also:  And the widdow Horton being present before me at the wrighting hereof doth acknowledge that this is her will & meaninge & that she is fully comsentinge to what is above expressed, & the said Robert Ashly being also present doth acknowledge that he is fully consentinge to all that is aboe expressed; and upon this their mutuall Consent I have given them leave & liberty to proceed in marriage when they please: and the Inventory of her goods I have hereunto anexed as they were apprised under the hand of Samuell Wright & Samuel Hubbard.


An Inventory of the Goods & Cattell of the widow Horton of Springfield this first July 1641 we whose names are under written do value & apprise as followeth:

Imprimis for all her linnen, brasse, pewter, bedding, vessels & other implements £17.  0.  0.
her hoggs little & great as they were rated by the appraisers of the Town rate   18.  0.  0.
her house & lot   12.  0.  0.


Robert Ashley was sworne at Springfield this 24 day ye 10 Month 1641."

Although the marriage of Robert Ashley and the widow Horton is not recorded in Springfield records, there is little doubt that it was actually consummated, for it is known that he married about 1641, that his wife bore the christian name Mary, and that after 1641 the widow Horton's name disappears from the records. She was the widow of Thomas Horton of Springfield, who ahd died the previous summer, leaving her with two children, one three years old and the other an infant.

The home lots of the inhabitants were laid out on the west side of what is now Main Street, extending to the Connecticut River. On the east side of Main Street was the "wet meadow," which was allotted each inhabitant in the same width and just opposite to his home lot, and running 40 rods to the foot of the hill.Adjoining the wet meadow on its eastern end was also given a wood lot 80 rods in length and 8 rods in width. Robert Ashley's home lot was on what is now the northwest corner of Main and State streets and extended down to the river, Francis Ball being his neighbor on the north and John Leonard on the south. His "wet meadow" and :wood lots." just opposite, extended back along State Street to what is now Spring Street.  His land in the "planting gorunds' was across the Connecticut River, and between it and Agawam River. On "A rate made the 6th of May, 1644, for payinge of £20 in part of payment for ye land of ye Plantation," Robert Ashley paid 15s, the fifth amount. There were but four other inhabitants, Mr. Pynchon, Mr. Holyoke, Mr. Moxon and Henry Smith, who owned more land than Robert Ashley did at this time, and in 1647 he was taxed on 51 acres.

Robert Ashley, like most of the inhabitants, was chiefly occupied with agriculture. His ear mark for his cattle was "in the off ear a slit cut in the under side or back side of the ear (not at ye top of ye ear), but toward ye root of ye ear, the slit is but a little slanting outward toward ye root of ye ear."

The Lands of Robert Ashley

"Robt. Ashley is possessed of a home lott by the grant of the Plantation with the additions viz, 4 acres more or less. Bredth 8 rod.  Length 80 rod. Extendinge from the street fence to ye greate river. Bounded North, Benj: Mun. South JnLenard. In the same line eastward opposite to his house lott 2 acres of wet meddow more or less of the same brdth."

"April 6, 1643.  A list of ye alotments of planting lotts as they were cast with ye order how men doe fall begininge at ye ends of ye 80 rod lotts yt face to ye Great River  Mr. Moxon is to have ye first by consent of ye Plantation."  Robert Ashley was No. 12 with 17 acres, the fourth largest allotment, Mr. Pynchon being No. 11 with 80 acres and John Leonard No. 18 with 9 acres.

"Lotts cast for meddow ground on Agawam side where is 2 pts of ye quantity to be divided."  Robert Ashley was No. 19 with 41/2 acres, the fifth in amount.:

"March 15, 1653. Also by purchase from John Leonard of a parcel of meddow lying in ye woods beyond ye Swan pond on ye left hand of ye Bay path, being four acres more or less, James Bridgman having the like quantity there."

"In the Plain a Lott of 18 or 19 acres more or less, lying in a triangle.  The breadth from the mouth of the 3 Corner brook upwards is 68 rod, from the Greate River to ye front 64 rod, bounded south by ye Brook north by Benjn Mun."

"Over the Great River a Meddow Lott 2 acres and a quarter. Breadth 4 rod 1/2, length 80 rod up to ye Swamp. Bounded South by Jona, Burt, North Mr. Pynchon."

"In the Long meddow a planting Lott bought of the Widow Johns, being 6 acres more or less. Breadth -- rod, length extending from the Greate River to ye back fence East."

"Also fro: Jno Leonard of a meddow lott over ye Greate River of one acre and half more or less. Breadth 9 rod, Length 30 rod, Bounded North Tho: Cooper, South Jno Clarke." Recorded March 15, 1653.

"January 2. 1655. There is granted to Robert Ashley four acres of wet meddow and other land wch he is to take as it falls wet meddow and other land to go there one with another which is to lye above Abell Wright and to ron fro: ye Highway yt goes ut to ye Round Hill eastward to ye brow of ye further hill, viz : to ye hither end of ye wood lots. This granted upon condition he continues 5 years in Town or else to leave it and ... not to hinder a cartway, but that it is to take place where it shall be most convenient over ye meddow and through ye low land."

"Also by Grant of the Plantation of nine acres more or less lying on the next brook that runs into the Greate River below Agawam River, lying in two places. The upper parcel bounded Morth by James Warriner and South by Leiu Cooper, and the lower parcel bounded North by Leiu Cooper and south by James Warriner." He conveyed this to John Scott.

“Also by Purchase from Rice Bedortha of five acres of wet meddow On ye Mill River, Bounded by Robert Ashley South, by Tho. Mirick North. Also by Purchase from Tho. Miller of five acres and half more or less of wet meddow, Breadth 10 rod 1/2, bounded by Miles Morgan South, by Samuel Terry North." Recorded September 29. 1656.

"February 1, 1657. Robert Ashley is possessed of a Houselot by the Grant of the Plantation wth the addition viz: 4 acres more or less. Breadth 8 rod, Length 80 rod, Extending from the Street fence to the Greate River. Bounded North Benjamin Mun, South Jno. Lonard. In the same line eastward oposite to his Houselott 2 acres of wet meddow more or less of the same breadth, wth a woodlott of 4 acres more or less, extending in length from ye wet meddow 80 rod Eastward. Breadth 8 rod, Bounded North by Benjamin Mun, South ye Highway. This woodlot ye Running of it is turned and now it points upon ye Highway to ye Bay on ye South and Runs back Northward 39 rod in length, ye breadth of it is 16 rod and half, and it is bounded on ye West by Rowland Thomas, on ye East by Simon Beamon, On ye other side ye Greate River oposite to his Houselott 4 acres more or less, Breadth 8 rod, length 80 rod, Extending from the Greate River west to Agawanl River, Bounded North Benjamin Mun, South John Leonard" He conveyed this to Samuel Marshfield.

Robert Ashley is Possessed by Purchase from Saml Marshfield (which he bought of Abel Wright) of three acres of Wet meddow more or less, breadth 6 rod, length 80, adjoyning to Robert Ashley's wet meddow granted from ye Town, this lying on ye south of that, together with a wood lott of four acres, breadth 8 rod, length 80 bounded by --, together with one acre of wet meddow and low land lying under the Round Hill, breadth 2 rod, length 80 and better, bounded by Richard Fellows North, by ye Town lot South. Together with a Homelot (which was Samuel Ferry's) of three acres Southward of ye Round Hill. Breadth 10 rod, Length 50, bounded by a Lot yt was Hugh Dudley's North and John Stewarts South." Recorded February 2, 1657.

"Also by Purchase from Samuel Ferry of three acres of wet meddow more or less. Breadth 6 rod, Length 80, bounded by ye land purchased of Tho: Miller South, by John Dumbleton North." Recorded September 18, 1657.

"Also by ye Grant of ye Plantation of four acres of wet meddow more or less, Breadth 8 rod, Length 80, fro: ye Highway yt goes under ye Round Hill eastward to ye woodlotts, bounded by Tho: Cooper North, by Saml Marshfield South." Recorded September 18, 1657.

"Also by Purchase from Richard Fellows of three acres more or less on this side ye Round Hill in ye Plain, Breadth 10 rod, Length 50, adjoining to Robert Ashleys 3 acres aforesd wch lyes on ye South side of it, and bounded by Tho: Stebbins North." Recorded January 20, 1659.

"Also by Purchase from John Riley of a Parcel of Land in Chickupee Plain on ye West side of ye Great River, containing three and forty acres more or less. Breadth 42 rod, length back fro: ye Great River west to Jonathan Taylor's land, Bounded South by Francis Pepper, North by John Dumbleton." Recorded October 18, 1660.

"February 12, 1660. There is also granted unto Ensign Cooper, Robert Ashley, Samuel Marshfield and James Warriner all the meddow yt lyes uppon the North Branch of the next brook yt runs into tbe Greate River below Agawam River, the said 4 persons are to share equally those meddows amongst them, thenlselves also are to agree where each man's share shall lye."

"Also by Purchase from John Dumbleton of four and twenty acres of Land more or less in ye Plain called Chickupee Plain on ye West side of the Great River, wch 24 acres is 19 rod and 1/2 in Breadth and 20 rod in Length, Bounded by Robert Ashley's own land on ye South, and by ye Commons on ye North." Recorded January 1, 1661.

"February 19, 1661. There is granted to Robert Ashley a house lott of five acres between ye two brookes below Chickuppe Playne on ye West side of the Greate River provided that he build and dwell there, or that he dispose not of the lott but to such as shall build and dwell there. This land is bounded, North by John Bagg's homelot 33 rods, South by a way of 1 rod in width that leads to Mr. Pynchon's land bought of Joseph Crowfoot 41 rods, East by a slip of land bought by Robert Ashley of William Brooks which lies by the River, and West by ye highway which leads to ye said Plain." Later four acres were added on the opposite side of the road.

"March 16, 1661. There is granted to Robert Ashley six acres of meddow on the back side of Chickuppe Playne within 2 or 3 mile of ye Great River where he can find soe much undisposed of."  "There is granted to Robert Ashley liberty to build on his land towards ye round hill."

"There is granted to Captain Pynchon, Robert Ashley and George Colton that share of upland at Woronoco Meddow that was formerly granted to Jonathan and John Gilbert who forfeited their grant of these lands. These lands thus granted are all the low lands between ye River and the hills on ye Northeasterly side of Woronock River, and this grant is upon condition that these lands be confirmed to ye Towne by the Genl Corte and that the grantees doe buy out the Indians’ right in the said lands here granted."

"February 6, 1664. There is also granted to Robert Ashley four acres woodlot next beyond Samuel Ferry's woodlot" [in the west meadow].

"February 1, 1665. Robert Ashley desiring yt ye four acre woodlot which was granted him next beyond Samuel Ferry's woodlot last February, 1664, may have an addition to it, so that he may have eight or ten acres there in all, his desire is granted, vizt : that his woodlot there shall be in all eight acres, to run in length 30 rods as ye other woodlotts doe and so to be ye more in breadth, only there is just to be three rod broad left common for a highway to be disposed for passage to ye woods, either there or lower as shall be most convenient."

Robert Ashley was licensed to keep the ordinary in 1646.  On January 22, 1651-2, he received a grant of land on Mill River on condition that he should keep the ordinary. He consente to keep it, and was so engaged for several years. Keeping the ordinary or inn in those days was a highly respectable position and was only filled by those who were considered responsible persons.

"January 22, 1651. There is granted to Robert Ashley three acres and half of meddow upon ye Mill River begining lowermost on ye Southeast branch, and so going up to ye little brooke and then upward to ye 16 Acres, and so over to ye North branch at ye upper end, and then come downeward, and lastly to ye lake or pond. But one acre and half of it is given in relation to his keeping ye ordinary, and he is to leave it into ye Town's hands whenever he shall cease to keepe ye ordinary, and he to enjoy 2 acres, at most but 2 acres and half."

The keeper of the ordinary was under the supervision of the town's officers and was placed under certain restrictions.

The coppy of an order of restraynt to Robert Ashley and his wife forbiddinge them to sell wine or strong waters to the Indians sent to them the 27 June 1655.

To Robert Ashley and his wife keepers of the ordinary in Springfield; Whereas it is famously known how the Indians abuse themselves by excessive drinking of strong liquors whereby God is greviously dishonored, and the peace of this Plantation in great danger to be broken;

And whereas you have noe Lycence formally and according to Law to sell eyther wine or stronge waters to English or Indians;

These are therefore to will and require yon uppon yor perill that you henceforth forbear to sell eyther wine or strong waters to any Indians, though for selling to the English wee would not restrayne you, but doe allow yrf:

Springfield June 27, 1655.

Robert Ashley resigned his position of keeper of the ordinary, probably, in the fall of 1660, for on December 31st of that year Samuel Marshfield was appointed to keep it.

"December 31, 1660 Whereas there was one acre of meddow on ye Mill River wch Goodman Ashley had in relation to his keeping of ye ordinary, and he was to leave it into ye Towne's hands whenever he should cease to keepe ye ordinary : He having given over ye ordinary, and 1 acre of meddow more or less now falling into ye Towne's hands, it is ordered that Samuel Marshfield who now keeps ye ordinary shall have it."

By this time, as has been seen, Robert Ashley had become by means of grant and purchase an extensive owner of land on the west side of the Connecticut River in what is now West Springfield.  His house lot there had been granted him in February, 1661, "provided that he build and dwell there," and in March he had "liberty to build on his land towards ye round hill."  He probably built his house on it soon after this, and lived there the remaining twenty years of his life.

Robert Ashley probably placed his house on the hillside to the west of that part of West Springfield now known as Riverdale.  Tradition says that all the earliest settlers built their houses along the hill for fear that floods would cover the plain below.  This plain stretches about two miles to the north from Meeting-house Hill and was the first part of West Springfield to be cultivated.

Robert Ashley was employed considerably in the public service.  He as called frequently to serve as juryman, his first appearance in the records of the court being on January 2, 1639-40, when he was on the jury that tried Mr. Moxon's slander suit against John Woodcock.  He also served as juror at the courts held at Springfield, February 13, 1639-40, and March 1, 1654, and those held in the month of September in the years 1661,1662, 1664, 1667 and 1670.  His life seems to have been given but little to litigation, and the following extracts contain the only mention that has been found of Robert Ashley either as plaintiff or defendant.

"December 24, 1640. It is ordered and voted that whereas Henry Grigory, John Leonard and Robert Ashley have contrary to an order formerly made sold away theyre cannoes, they have therefor liberty granted them to redeme and bringe ym into the Plantation agayne until1 the 15th of May next, and in case of defect herein they shall be Lyable to the forfeiture yt is expressed in the order dated Febr,  14th, 1638." [Cancelled.]  This order was that no inhabitant should sell his canoe to outside parties.

On February 15, 1641, Robert Ashley entered a complaint against John Woodcock for not delivering to him a gun for which he had paid twenty-two shillings.  The jury found for the plaintiff in the sum of twenty-two shillings and costs, amounting in all to twenty-six shillings.

"In Answare to a Peti[ti]on of Robert Ashley of Springfield for Satisfaction for a horse killed by a Nepanett Indian the last yeare : The Commissioners being informed by Mr. Pinchon that the said Indian liveth att Quabage under the Sachem Annoackamor doth thinke twenty pounds should bee demanded of the said Sachem or the man that killed the horse to bee delivered into the hands of the said Ashley to bee kept by him and disposed of as hee sees cause. Mr. Pinchon is desired to take care that Satisfaction bee demaunded, and the ptie cecured if there bee opertunitie, which if hee cannot attaine, wee desire the Massachusetts Government to effect the same as they shall see cause."

On September 27, 1659, Robert Ashley entered a complaint against Richard Fellows "for detayning a sword from him. The sword and damages he reckons at forty shillings." In this action the plaintiff withdrew his charge " promising to pay the costs of the costs."

On September 29, 1663, Robert Ashley and Miles Idorgan complain against John Scott, John Riley, William Brooks and William Morgan for violating town orders. On September 25,1660, Miles Morgan had sued Robert Ashley for wrongfully impounding his swine.

In the transactions of the town Robert Ashley appears rather prominently.

"November 3rd 1646, Robert Ashley and Miles Morgan are chosen by ye towne to ye oversight of ye fences of ye house lotts and ye greate playne according as they shall be directed by ye townsmen."

"November 5th, 1650. William Warriner and Robert Ashley chosen overseers of fences for ye fields prtayninge to ye upper pt of the towne from ye meeting house upward."

"November 4th, 1651. Robert Ashley and Nathaniel Bliss were chosen surveyors of highways for the year ensuing." He was also chosen to this office the following year and in 1667.

In 1653, at the reorganization of the town by the younger men, Robert Ashley was chosen one of the five selectmen.

"November 1, 1653. At a Town meeting it was concluded to make choise of five Townsmen, viz: George Colton, Robert Ashley, Tho: Cooper, Benja. Cooly and Tho: Stebbins who are to order ye prudential affairs of ye Town for ye year ensuing."

Robert Ashley was reelected annnally until 1659, and in 1660, 1662 and 1665, being first selectman in 1657.  In 1655 he with two of the others refused to serve and they were fined twenty shillings apiece.

Robert Ashley took the oath of fidelity March 23, 1655-6.

On February 7, 1659, Robert Ashley was chosen town constable, and on March 5th of that year sealer of weights and measures, being reelected to the latter office the following year.

In those days the people of the town jointly made arrangement for the grinding of their corn.

"At a Towne Meeting called to settle something about ye mill," it was agreed that Mr. Holyoke should grind the corn, "and ye Towne designated John Pynchon, George Colton, Robert Ashley, Miles Morgan and Samuel Marshfield to set their hands to yt in ye behaffe of ye Towne, and theire hands being to it, this ingagement is firme to all intents and constructions in Law.  According hereunto ye Aforementioned persons have hereunto set their hands the 4th day of June 1662.

Elizur Holyoke.
John Pynchon.
George Colton.
Robert Ashley, his marke.
Miles Morgan, his marke.
Samuel Marshfield"

The town ordered and appointed Benjamin Parsons, Samuel Marshfield and Robert Ashley, the sealers, " to mak a Tole with true and exact to ye twelth pt of ye bushell, and to seale it with ye Towne's seale."

Public officers were expected to attend strictly to their duties, as will be seen from the following order.

"At a Court held at Springfield Septr. 27, 1664, Robert Ashley and Jonathan Burt were presented for the like offence in not viewing on ye East side of ye River, being chosen for ye work.  But Robert Ashley pleaded yt he had not warning yt he was soe chosen & it beinge not proven yt he had warninge, the Selectmen are fined 20s a peese for the use of the Towne accordinge to ye law except they can cleare ymselves and they did give warninge to ye viewers, wch Captain Pynchon is ordered to examine & determine, vizt : whether he had legal1 warning, and if he fynd Robert Ashley had legall warning yrof then the Selectmens fynes are to be remitted & he is to pay as a fine 20s for the use of the County."

In April, 1665, Robert Ashley and several others were fined for absenting themselves from town meeting.

Four years later Robert Ashley petitioned to be relieved of military training.

“At a Court held March 30, 1669, Robert Ashley of Springfield presenting his desires that by reason of the weakness of his body he may be freed from military exercises : The Court granteth his desires on such terms as the chief officers of that company shall determine."

The following extract refers to a maid servant in Robert Ashley's service.

"July 29th, 1671, Katharin Hunter (of about 14 yr old) servant to Robert Ashley Deserting from her Master's service unlawfully: once last Tuesday and then coming againe on Thursday and yet goeing away againe on Friday morning to her father and for noe cause yt shee can relate herself but only yt her dame once only and yt some tyme before gave her a blow or 2 with her hand : there being nothing to justifie her in her unlawful1 depture. I [Mr. Pynchon] ordered her to ye house of corection there to abide till I discharged her.  And William Hunter her father for harburing his sd daughter and not discharging her and sending her to her aforesd Mr. (none informing), I acot 20s due by law to ye County:  But respited the sentence till some other tyme."

Robert Ashley seems to have felt much interest in the welfare of the village church, and, certainly, always paid his proportion of the tax for the maintenance of public worship.  As has been seen, the first time his name appears in the Springfield records was in connection with a rating to raise the means for the minister's support, and, when on later occasions it was necessary to raise funds for this purpose, he invariably paid his share of the assessment.

"At a Town Meetinge Assembled February 5th, 1651, George Coulton and Robt Ashly were nominated by Mr. Jno Pynchon, and appoynted by ye vote of ye Inhabitants to gather in ye-rate yt shall be made by ye Selectmen for ye charge layd out about this floore " [of the meeting-house chamber].  In February, 1653, Robert Ashley received three shillings as payment" for the use of his mare for the use of the church."  The first list of seatings in the meeting-house bears date of December 23, 1659. Robert Ashley sat in the first seat, and was on the seating committee.  His two oldest sons sat "below ye pillars on ye North side."  In 1663 he was again one of a committee to distribute the seats in the meeting-house.

Robert Ashley and his two oldest sons were among the sixty-two inhabitants of Springfield who signed the petition against" acustome imposed on all goods and merchandizes” by an order of the General Court at the October session in 1668.

Robert Ashley took the oath of allegiance with the other Springfield inhabitants on December 31, 1678.

The foregoing pages contain all the references to Robert Ashley that the compiler could find in the various records.  He was obviously a man of energy and ability, and that these qualities were recognized by his fellow townsmen is shown by his election to discharge the duties described.  These offices, although not of the highest grade, were regarded as of much greater importance then than they have been in later years, and were never bestowed upon any but trustworthy men.  His education had not been such as to qualify him for the performance of some important duties in the administration of the affairs of the town.  Like many others of the early settlers, who were men of great worth and useful citizens, he did not write his own name, but made his mark whenever his signature was necessary.  His mark was something like a Greek Γ.  He is called Goodman Ashley in Mr. Pynchon's account books. He seems to have been industrious, upright and public spirited, and a man of strong religious principles.

Robert Ashley died November 29, 1682 in West Springfield.

Mrs. Mary Ashley died there September 19, 1683.

The age of neither of them is known, nor does any monument mark their graves.

The Will of Robert Ashley

"Robert Ashley deceased, his Last Will and Testament togeather with an Inventory of his estate was prsented to this Corte [holden at Northampton March 27, 1683] which will aforesaid was attested to by Mr Holyoke before ye Worship Major Pynchon and ye Worshipful Major Pynchon made oath before this Corte as witnesses to sd will & it was thereupon approved & confirmed in Corte as ye Last Will and Testament of Robt Ashley deceased.  And Wras he nominated noe Executor to his sd Will this Corte, therefore appointed & allowed the widdow Relict of sd Robt Ashley and Joseph Ashley his son as administrators to sd Estate of Robt Ashley.

Here followeth Coppys of sd Robt Ashley's Last Will and of ye Inventory of his Estate.

I, Robert Ashley, being aged and of infirme body but yet of sound minde and perfect memory doe now make this my Last Will and Testament. In the first place I doe comitt my Soul to ye care, grace and salvation of one God in three persons, the second person being incarnate, Who by His blood hath purchased it, trusting in His name for all that good of grace and glory He hath bought for His, having hopes only for His own sake and in His alsufficient mercyes, that He will at ye Resurrection of ye just reunite Soul and Body to enjoy a sinless state with Himself in that house not made with hands which He hath prpared for those who believe in Him.  And my Body to such decent buriall as my friends and surviveing relations shall judge meete.

Nextly I doe confirme my deede of gift made to my beloved son Jonathan of lands, uplands, meadows on ye East side of Conitticut River all as in that sd deede is expressed.

And to my beloved son Joseph I doe give all my lands on ye West side of ye sd River, that at Chickapy plaine and that over against the town plott on ye East side of ye sd River, and that below Agawame River, all these on the West side of Conitticut River. Also I doe give unto my son Joseph that lott I have this yeare bought of Major Pynchon, Esqr, lyeing and fronting on the lane that leades to ye upper wharfe on ye East side Conitticut River.

And to my welbeloved son David I doe give five pounds besides what I have given him alreadie.

And to my welbeloved wife Mary I doe give the full thirds of all the lands on both sides ye sd river, dureing the terme of her natureall life.

To my grandson John Ashley I doe give a colt.

And to the rest of the children of my beloved son David Ashley I do give ten shillings pr child.

And to the children of my beloved son John Root I do give ten shillings a peice.

And for the rest of my estate, all my debts being paid, and in particular that debt for the lot fronting upon the upper wharfe, I do give one third thereof to my well beloved wife during her natural life.

And the other two thirds to my son Joseph and my wife's thirds to Joseph at her decease, he being to pay her five pounds when she dyes, and in case my son Joseph dye without issue then this whole estate bequeathed hereby to my son Joseph I do order and bequeath to my son David and his children.

In witness whereof I do hereunto set my hand and seal this 9th day of October Anno : Dom : 1679.

Robert Ashley Γ his mark.

Signed sealed in ye presence of
John Pynchon, Sen.
John Holyoke."

"March 26, 1683, Mr. John Holyoke appeared declared being present at the time he saw Robert Ashley signe and seale this Instrument as his last Will and that when he so did he was of sound understanding to the best of his knowledge and hereunto illade oath before me John Pynchon, Assistant."

"Major Pynchon made oath as a testimony to this and that the testator was of sound mind when he made it to the best of his understanding. March 27, 1683.

S. P., Clerk."

This instrument having obtained official approval, the court appointed his son Joseph and his widow Mary administrators of his estate.

"Here followeth a coppy of ye Inventory of ye Estate of Robert Ashley of Springfield deceased taken Mch 24, 1682/3.

To houseing and homestead and other Lands 347-00-00
To six oxen at 26£, To 3 cowes 12£, To 3 heifers 8£: 10s 046-10-00
To three calves at 1£ To 4 horses at 12£ , To 6 Swine at 4£ 017-10-00
Divers sorts of graine in the chamber 009-00-00
More divers sorts of provision or meat for the familie 009-19-06
In the lower roome 1 feather bead 3£ 2 ruggs 3£ 2 blanketts 1£ : 10s  3 pillows and 3 pillow beers & 1 sheet 1£: 3s and 9d 1 chaffe bed 07s and flock bolsters 3s 009-03-09
A still 1£ : 10s Tubs and casks 22s and hemp in the chamber 3s 002-15-00
Pilian and pilian cloth 5s Two cushians 3s a cartwheel's bands and an old cart rope 21s & other lumber 4s & an old sithe ls: 6d 001-14-06
Another feather bed and bolster and pillows and bed clothing and bedsted and old curtaines and bedstead cloth 007-15-00
A chaffe bed and bolster and pillow beers, rugs & sheets to it and a blanket 10s Cheese in the chamber 005-05-00
Three pair of sheets and 1 old sheet 3£ Bookes 20s 004-00-00
Five sheets 3£; 1 large table cloth 12s five table cloths & three pillow beers 21s & 25 napkins 12s : 06d and 4 shirts 10s 005-15-06
A searge cloke 30s & searge doublet and breatches 20s an old cloth Cloke and doublet 10s and 2 old pair of breaches & waistcoat 5s 003-07-00
3 old chairs and 3 old cushians 3d an old chest and box  5s 000-08-00
Two great brass old kittles 3£ 6 small old brass kittles & a brass pan 2£ a warming pan and frying pan l0s 3 iron potts 30s A iron skillett 2s & brass skillett and a scimmer 2s 007-04-00
A brass morter, a brass ladle & 2 iron pestles  6s 6d 000-06-06
Two quart potts, 2 pint potts 9s A half pint 1s 6 small pewter platters 11s  2 pewter basons 5s  6 pottringers 5s  5 saucers 3s Three pewter bowles 2s: 6d 001-16-06
A tin pan, one colender, one tunnell, one tin candlestick 2s : 6d One brass candlestick 3s six spoones 3s  6 old spoones ls : 6d 000-10-00
Wooden dishes, platters and bowles 14s 2 wooden bottles 3s 17 trenchers 15s two sives 2s earthen ware six shillings 002-00-00
Pailes and a buckett 3s : 6d 2 spinning wheels 5s : 6d 000-09-00
Four cheesmotes 4s a little box ls old stockins ls : 6d 000-06-06
Box iron & heaters & a bell 3s tongs 4s fire pan ls 3 cob irons 12s two trammells 8s an old spade ls 001-09-40
Two guns 30s a rapier 5s 001-15-00
Six baggs 12s cartwheel boxes 12s cart 10s a clevis and pin 5s Axtree pinns 3s yoke staple and ring 6s clince pinns and two washers 3s 002-11-00
Two hipple tree chaines and 2 pair of iron traces 001-00-00
An old sith and sith tackling 2s : 6d three sickles 000-04-00
Two hammers 2s axes 3s beetle ring 3s 000-08-00
1 wedge 1s a bail and hoop 3s : 6d hookes for a draught yoke 1s a hacket & saw 6s 000-10-06
Plow chain, clevis and pin 6s share and colter 16s a hay hoock 1s nails 2s a chamber pot, a stubing hoe, a broad hoe, a sled 001-19-06
Total 492-02-09

The following account appears in regard to the settlement of the estate of the widow Mary Ashley who died without making a will.

"At a Court held at Springfield Sept. 25, 1683. Widdow Mary Ashley of Springfield being departed this life, and it appearing yt she had proper estate to dispose of as she might have pleased, but dyeing intestate, and the children of ye deceased being not well able to take an inventory of ye sayd estate of sd deceased to prsent ye same to this Corte by reason of ilness and much business and of wch tyme between ye death of sd deceased and this Corte, but Jonathan Ashley and Joseph Ashley ye sons of ye deceased appeared in Court and desired power of administration with reference to ye cloathes of sd deceased and that they might dispose of them to some of the relations of ye deceased of the female kinde to wm such cloathes are proper, aledging they had need to be looked after or else they might receive damage, this Court ordering there upon yt an inventory of the estate be taken doth grant to Jonathan Ashley and Joseph Ashley power of administration with reference to ye Cloathes of sd deceased and orders and expects yt they make presentment of ye inventory of sd estate to ye next County Court at Northampton, as alsoe of wt they administer respecting ye cloathes of sd deceased."


i.     DAVID,  twins [a daughter]

ii.     a daughter, b. 3 June 1642; d. soon after birth.

iii.    MARY, b. 6 Apr 1644; m. 18 Oct 1664, John Root of Westfield

iv.    JONATHAN, b. 25 Feb 1645-6

v.     SARAH, b. 23 Aug 1648; not mentioned in her father's will mad in 1679, and probably d. young.

vi.    JOSEPH, b. 6 July 1652

Source: Francis Bacon Trowbridge, The Ashley Genealogy, History of the Descendants of Robert Ashley of Springfield, Massachusetts, (Press of Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor; 1896), pages 3-18.