Ashby/Conaway

The Family of Abel Ashby – This history and file was found in a box of family histories that Robert (Bob) Richardson gave to Flora L. VerStraten. Bob corresponded with Mr. John L. Ashby, 207 East St., Jonesville, Michigan, 49250 starting in Oct. 15, 1993 to Jan. 1995. This file is extensive and includes a pedigree chart, family history, and letters. Requested copies of this file can be sent to the chapter.

Abel Ashby – born 17 Nov. 1788, died 9 May 1846. He married Harriet Conway (family were Quakers in Smithfield area) on 28 Nov. 1811 in Jefferson County, Ohio. She was born in 1790 and died 3 Oct. 1854. They are found in the Warren Twp. 1850 federal census, near Turkey Point (not far from Hopewell Cemetery). Wells Twp. was formed from Warren in 1823 so prior to 1823.

Abel and Harriet Conaway Ashby had a son named David, born 22 Sep. 1812 and he died 17 Nov. 1888. David married Jane. H. Naylor on 8 Mar. 1838. She was born 17 Dec. 1815 and died 9 Jan. 1896. David and Jane had the following children: Charles, born 29 Apr. 1840; Wilbert F., born 14 Nov. 1840; Nancy May, 1 Jan. 1843; Mary Harriet, 23 Jan. 1845; Elmer Kirk, 26 Jun 1847.

Elmer married Phoebe Maria Bay and they had the following children: John David, born 23 Sep. 1873; Charles, 13 May 1875; Elmer Goodwin, 14 Feb. 1877; Wesley Irwin, 12 Feb. 1879.

From a letter dated June 24, 1970, from Cletus R. Ashby, Tiltonsville, Ohio to John J. Ashby: “…according to my information, I do not have a David Ashby listed, from the courthouse records  in Steubenville, Ohio. Abel Ashby born Nov 1788 and died May 1846, and is buried at the Hopewell Cemetery. He married Harriett Conaway and she is also buried at Hopewell. Residing in Warren Twp. Jefferson County, Ohio children arranged from the 1850 census: Samuel, 1816-1901 who married Mary Jane Bucey 1848-18—[can’t read writing] and their children were: Abel, William, Henry Clay, James Monroe, Samuel and Reuben Hall 1861-1939, who is my father. Other brothers and sisters of Samuel were: Margaret Ann, 1818; Henry 1825; Abel 1829; Charles 1832; William Allen 1838; Reuben?; Nancy May 1841 (the tombstone in Hopewell Cemetery reads Nancy M beside Abel and it is believed the girl died of burns). I have no other data on these children.

I remember my father saying that the family came from down river in Kentucky to Ohio and he showed me the old house that his father had built on Turkey Point where he was born but the house is no longer standing. His father was a carpenter and did carpenter work. I doubt if few people know of Turkey Point, which is high up on a high close to the Ohio River with a valley on each side and there is a small hamlet known as Rush Run on the south side also called Little Rush Run. According to my father it was a high point where the wild turkeys take off to fly across the Ohio River.

The Deacon Brown you mentioned said he had quite a number of Ashby’s somewhere in Maryland, but I don’t know the town. He is still living and his address is: Rev. Durward B. Brown, 1709 Warwood Ave., Wheeling, WV, yours truly, Cletus R. Ashby.”

In Mr. Robert Richardson’s reply to this letter, he states that he feels that the Jefferson County courthouse is the best source for locating further information about the Ashby family and deed records. Robert states that he is intrigued to know more about Abel Ashby and any connection to a James Ashby, Feb 24, 1814 found in the county records at the courthouse. He also says that it appears the James came from Virginia to Steubenville sometime after 1811. Abel was almost 26 yrs. old when he bought the Steubenville lot and his son, David, was 2 yrs. old.  He explains that he has an every name index to Deed Bk. A at the Courthouse, beginning 1795, and that there are no Ashby’s listed.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, 1892, by Lake City Publishing Co., of Chicago – Charles Ashby, a retired farmer, now residing in Gibson City, was born in Jefferson county, Ohio, June 4, 1833, and is a son of Abel and Harriet (Conaway) Ashby. His parents were both natives of Maryland, and removed to Ohio, settling in Steubenville before their marriage. The father died when Charles was but nine years of age, but the mother survived until 1854.

The subject of this sketch was reared to manhood on a farm and attended the district schools, there receiving his literary education. On the 8th of May 1855, he was united in marriage, in Jefferson County, Ohio, to Miss Margaret Hanson. The lady is a native of that county and is a daughter of John and Lydia Hanson.

Mr. Ashby was engaged in farming in Ohio until 1856, when he removed to Illinois, settling in Heyworth Twp., McLean County, where he carried on agricultural  pursuits…he removed to Empire Twp… then went south and resided in Mississippi and Louisiana until the breaking of the war…  He enlisted on 8 Aug. 1862, as a member of Co. G, 94th Ill. Infantry… he was mustered out on 12 Aug. 1865. 

Ashby Family continued from page 17 - They had three children, John H., the eldest, Lenora E., and Emma J., who reside with their parents. They are members of the Presbyterian Church and he is a democrat in politics and a member of the school board…

Abel Ashby’s occupation was ship builder and carpenter. He married Harriet Conaway on Nov. 25, 1811 by John Barrett, Justice of the Peace, Jefferson County, Ohio. The couple is buried in Hopewell Cemetery and he is a veteran of the War of 1812. They had seven boys and three girls. Abel was a carpenter and this trade followed down through his son, David, who became a Ohio River boat captain according to Ora Ashby and his son, in turn, Elmer Ashby, was a special painter for all the fancy painting trim and pictures on these boats before he moved to Melvin IL and became a photographer. The first sale of lots in Steubenville was Aug. 25, 1797 by Bazaleel Wells and as late as 1820 Washington Street was said to be nothing more than a cow path. The ground for the courthouse was purchased in 1789 for $5.00. A deed was issued by James Ashby to Abel Ashby to sell Lot #164 to Abel and his heirs forever. The lot was sold for $2,000 to him, dated Apr. 29, 1816. [Lots in 1801 were selling for $50.00 but by 1816 prices were going up for lots in the town of Steubenville.] They moved from Steubenville to Wells Twp. in 1825 and unfortunately, records in this township are not too great.

A Harriett Hammond, who was the mother of Harriett Ashby, is listed as a centurion in Smithfield records.  Harriett Hammond grew up in Smithfield and was a Quaker…
I need to say a few words about the Hopewell Methodist church, high above the Ohio River bank, on Warren Ridge between Rush Run and Short Creek is the M.E. Church, claimed to be the oldest church but Holmes church at Smithfield also claims to be the oldest church. At Hopewell the old church is only a few feet from the present building, and the church building is close to the graves filled with those who mark and testify to very early burials.

The old log building had a neatly constructed balcony, called old as far back as 1813. There is a good reason to claim Hopewell was built as early as 1798. We found Abel and his wife, Harriett buried there close to the church structure. A small child said to have been burned, is also there beside them, a Nancy Ashby, with sad words on the stone which our son, Bill, copied for us and dates read born 1/1/1843, died 6/16/1846… There was a military flag beside the stone for Abel… I did note that in the old section of Hopewell cemetery there is an older Abel Ashby, born 1765 and died 1816. Back in 1870 I didn’t know enough to investigate it. I have pictures of Abel’s tone that was in nice shape but now in 1994, the gravestones are on the ground. It is getting really run down. I hope that the church doesn’t fall in disrepair.

There are two Ashby brothers in the Revolutionary War named James and David. I followed the thinking this might be the James and David from Steubenville…According to the military warrant records, David Ashby served in the Revolutionary War, as well as David’s brother, James, who served 3 years in the Virginia Continental Army as a Sergeant and the warrant is dated 27 Sep. 1831, Accomach County, VA…David’s name first appears on the roll Nov. 1776, in Captain Smith Mead’s Company 9, Virginia Regiment commanded by Col. Thomas Fleming. Is it possible this James Ashby went to Steubenville? The records say that “he was taken prisoner Oct. 4, 1777.”

I believe, but haven’t proved it yet that Abel Ashby was born to James Ashby on 10/9/1798 at Winchester, VA. Land Office Military certificates, Vol. 3, Reel 347, pg. 348, James Ashby, Sgt. (7782) 200 acres, May 4, 1833. His heirs, only, received this. When I get to Steubenville, perhaps more can be learned of this James Ashby. We know that he was there and mentioned on the sale agreement selling Lot #164. It would be great to find some type of death record of this James Ashby. Maybe a will or deed could reveal if James had a son named Abel.

NOTE - A complete compilation is available at the chapter headquarters at Fernwood Road, Wintersville, Ohio on file under "Ashby Family History."