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Notes for Richard Ashcraft b1746

1. McClure, Daniel E. Jr. Two Centuries in Elizabethtown and Hardin County, Kentucky: Including Biographical Sketches of Some of Their Prominent Citizens of Past and Present Times. Published by The Hardin County Historical Society Et. Al. (1979).
2. Neal, Martha Ashcraft. The Ashcraft Family - Descendants of Daniel. Baltimore: Gateway Press (1994).
3. Ridenour, George L. Early Times in Meade County, Kentucky. Louisville: Western Recorder (1929).
4. Judge Otis Mather "Notes on the Ashcraft Family."
5. Mrs. Charles L (Edna Bloyd) Nichols of Hodgenville from a prepared brochure on the Ashcraft Family.

Here is a sampling from the above named sources.

NOTE: Some of the information conflicts with Ms. Neal's information in her book:

The pioneer ASHCRAFTS (Ashcrafte, Ashcroft) were among the first families arriving in early-day Hardin County and settling in a part of future LaRue County and in future Meade County. Some information as to the ASHCRAFTS has been obtained from the papers of the late Judge Otis Mather, from Rev. George Ridenour's Early Times in Meade County, from a brochure prepared by Mrs. Charles L (Edna Bloyd) Nichols of Hodgenville, and other sources.

The ASHCRAFT Family has been represented in America for a period of approximately 350 years. Mrs. Nichols included in her work some material by David Smith of Louisville, now deceased, pertaining to the ASHCRAFT Family. He stated that the ASHCRAFT line came originally from England, probably from the North of England, although some family tradition places them in Wales at very early times.

One Joel ASHCRAFT is recorded as having sailed from London on October 13, 1635 on the ship "Constance" with Clement Campion the master. Dr Smith related that in 1752 one Jacob ASHCRAFT and his wife Mary JOHNSON ASHCRAFT, the daughter of Peter JOHNSON, born February 18, 1733 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, were then living in that county. Two of their children were Pleasant ASHCRAFT born November 15, 1752 and Rachel ASHCRAFT born March 31, 1754. Rachel was a very commonly used name for females in the ASHCRAFT family in different generations.

One Ichabod ASHCRAFT built a fort for protection against the Indians at some point in Fayette County, Pennsylvania prior to 1750, near the present site of Smithfield. It appears reasonable to assume that some of the ASHCRAFT men were involved in the French and Indian War and with fighting the Indians who infested that part of Pennsylvania. Fayette County was the center of some action during those times and the ASHCRAFTS living in that area would have, be necessity, been involved.

The descendants of the pioneer ASHCRAFTS are legion. It was a time of large families and the ASHCRAFTS were no exception. The writer, as one of those descendants, has felt affinity for the ASHCRAFTS and will attempt to deal here with the lines of Jediah ASHCRAFT and Richard ASHCRAFT, brothers.

Richard ASHCRAFT was dead and his widow and their children came to that part of Hardin County which is now Meade County, while Jediah ASHCRAFT, according to Mrs. Nichols, came with his family and other pioneers to Phillips Fort in 1780.

Jediah ASHCRAFT had been granted land for Revolutionary War service under George Rogers Clark in the campaign against the British and Indians in the Illinois Territory. He took up land on Bear Creek in Grayson County (Jefferson County at that time) and later bought land in what is now Hardin County. He was killed in an Indian fight in 1794 near the present location of the Big Cliffy highway bridge.

History tells of the last Indian fight in Hardin County occurred in 1794, there is a possibility that the raiding party that took ASHCRAFT's life was the same involved in the fight near Elizabethtown. His will was filed in Hardin County August 26, 1794 and indicated that he had considerable property for that time.

The late Judge Mather, in writing about Phillip's Fort, listed four ASHCRAFTS as being at the fort, namely: Jediah ASHCRAFT, Daniel ASHCRAFT, John ASHCRAFT, and Jacob ASHCRAFT during the period 1781-1792. Jediah ASHCRAFT, the father, born circa 1735-45, killed by Indians near the present day site of Big Cliffy bridge in Grayson County, and supposedly to have been buried nearby. Daniel ASHCRAFT, the oldest son, born march 13, 1768 in Pennsylvania or Virginia, died June 6, 1842 in Richland County, Illinois, married Sarah Dye in Hardin County October 27, 1793, parents of eight children: John W born March 25, 1779 died July 15, 1846 buried in Little Mount Cemetery in LaRue County, Kentucky married on March 7, 1808 Nancy Wallace in Hardin County, Kentucky (Nancy Wallace born June 22, 1788 died August 2, 1852) parents of ten children. Jacob ASHCRAFT born 1758 died July 28, 1859, buried in Little Mount Cemetery in LaRue County married February 1812 Sarah Kennedy born c1786, parents of eight children.

Jediah ASHCRAFT married Nancy Ann Friend ASHCRAFT about 1760. Nancy was the daughter of John Friend Jr and his wife Elizabeth of Friends Cove, Pennsylvania. The other children of Jediah ASHCRAFT and his wife Nancy Friend ASHCRAFT were as follows: Elizabeth born c1766-7 married David McClure February 21, 1792 Nelson County, Kentucky parents of 13 children. Elijah ASHCRAFT was the son of Richard ASHCRAFT of Fayette County, Pennsylvania who died there about 1791. Elijah ASHCRAFT came early to Hardin County, with his mother, brothers, and sisters about 1799.

Richard ASHCRAFT, brother of Jediah ASHCRAFT -
Richard ASHCRAFT born c1746 and died February 1792, freezing to death by falling into a creek at Chamber Mills, Pennsylvania. His birthplace is not definitely known but it was apparently someplace in Fayette County as he sold his interest in the birthplace in this county in 1764 a 340 acre tract on the banks of the Monongahela River, opposite the mouth of 10 Mile Creek, for 20 pounds Pennsylvania Money.

He served as an Indian Scout in the western part of Pennsylvania along the Monongahela River and the record of his service in the Revolution is to be found in the State Library at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania which shows him as serving in Capt. Bazil Bowell's Company, the muster roll being in the DAR Library Unpublished Records for Fayette County, Pennsylvania vol. I, 1940.

According to family history, Richard ASHCRAFT was the son of one of two brothers Absalom ASHCRAFT or Elisha ASHCRAFT. He had brothers named Joel ASHCRAFT, Jediah ASHCRAFT, and Absalom ASHCRAFT.

In Pennsylvania, Richard ASHCRAFT married Elizabeth CARR born c1748-50 who came to Kentucky in 1799, seven years after her husband's death. She died in Meade County, Kentucky October 16, 1846, and was buried on The High Ground of Hill Grove" where her grave was marked with a simple rough stone, engraved E A 1846, October 16.

Elizabeth CARR ASHCRAFT's will mentioned children as: Abner ASHCRAFT, Elijah ASHCRAFT, Elisha ASHCRAFT, Absolem ASHCRAFT, Delilah ASHCRAFT Ross, Elizabeth ASHCRAFT SHACKLETT, all having departed this life and "My other daughters living" Mary ASHCRAFT Dotson, Rachel ASHCRAFT SHACKLETT wife of General Blancitt SHACKLETT. Rachel is buried with her husband next to her mother.

Elizabeth CARR ASHCRAFT inherited some land from her brother, John CARR (Jr) who also came to Kentucky and had a warrant for land dated March 15, 1781 for 500 acres which was confirmed by James Garrand, Governor of Kentucky, on September 15, 1797. There was also another brother, Moses CARR.

Richard Ashcraft died Feb 1792 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He froze to death after his horse fell through the ice into a creek near his home near Chambers Mill (in Amwell Township, in south-central Washington County, between Ten-Mile Creek & West Ten-Mile Creek). He was returning from Chambers Mill, probably on a trading expedition.

Richard was a spy, Indian scout, entrepreneur, land owner, and family man. After surveying the great dangers of the frontier, he unfortunately lost his life to a tragic accident. Typically, Richard was one in the first ventures into Kentucky. In the mid 1700's Thomas Townsend, an Indian trader, arranged with Daniel Boone to solicit settlers for lands in Kentucky. On a trading expedition to Ohio, he gave the message to William Hibbs who was involved in the venture. Hibbs, rounded up the following Ashcrafts: Ichabod, Daniel, Richard, and Uriah. Mounted and leading pack horses they went up the Monongahela, up the West fork and over into the Little Kanawha, down the Little Kanawha to the Ohio and down the Ohio to the mouth of the Scioto. They made Prickett's Fort the first night. The next morning after they crossed the Tygart Vally River, a storm forced them to take shelter in a deserted cabin near present Hutchinson. There Thomas Townsend joined them. Indians killed Townsend and two others. This put an end to the Kentucky plans of Hibbs Party.

In the early 1920's, Dr David Thomas Smith wrote: "Richard Ashcraft is said to have been a man of remarkable courage, strength, and endurance. At that time Indian wars and Indian hunting was rampant. Richard's hatred of the Indians was well known. "Often he would go out alone on these Indian hunting expeditions, at others he would join a few congenial spirits and they would be gone for weeks in the forest, seldom failing to make some "good Indians". On one occasion a little white girl had been captured by the Indians, and Ashcraft and another man followed them. When they reached the Indian camp they found one warrior left to guard the girl and he was asleep while the girl was tied to a tree. The companion started to raise his gun to shoot the Indian, but Ashcraft checked him, fearing the others were near enough to be aroused, and catching the eye of the girl motioned her to be silent. He then drew a knife, and keeping a tree between him and the sleeping Indian, he crept near and then springing forward stabbed the Indian to death. Looking around they found a papoose wrapped up in a blanket and nearby a boiling pot of hominy. Taking the papoose by the heels he plunged its head into the boiling hominy. When chided for it by his comrade, he replied, "nits amke lice". Richard participated in the French and Indian Wars under Col. Bradstreet and Col. Bouquet between the Ohio and the lakes. These expeditions took place in early 1764.

Thomas Carr, brother in law, and Richard were both expert trackers and spies. They were reported living at the mouth of Ten Mile Creek before 1767.

Richard held the first deed within the boundaries of present day Washington County, PA. This frontiersman became a settler and land owner on the Monongahela River at a place just opposite the mouth of Ten Mile Creek, above Heatons Mill. This property was sold to George Teagarden in 1782 and became the site of Fort Teagarden.

Richard served as a spy in the Revolutionary War.

Richard died by freezing to death in 1792 after his horse broke through the ice while crossing a stream. The horse got away and went home without Richard. They found Richard frozen to death the next morning. They also found a path around a tree worn by a wet and freezing man trying to keep warm. He was returning from Chamber Mills, probably from a trading expedition, when this accident occurred.

The National Archives contain records of one John ASHCRAFT who served in the Revolution, enlisting under a Capt ASHCRAFT in the spring of 1781, and marching to Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) where he joined General Clark's expedition the Wheeling. There he was put in a company under Capt Cline, with whom he marched to the mouth of the Kanawha. He was discharged at that place, having completed his six
months' enlistment period. The records state that John ASHCRAFT was no relation to the Capt. ASHCRAFT referred to, however, Capt. ASHCRAFT was from Fayette County, Pennsylvania and the writer is inclined to think that there was some relationship there. When the old soldier, John ASHCRAFT applied for military pension July 28, 1832, his age was stated as being 95 years. He would have thus been born in 1737 and at the time of enlistment would have been 44 years old. When John ASHCRAFT applied for pension he was living in Harrison County, Virginia (now West Virginia - Clarksburg is the county seat of Harrison County); a son Uriah ASHCRAFT was 67 years of age and signed his father’s application. Quite likely the old soldier was living with his son. Mrs. Nichols states that Jediah ASHCRAFT was in Harrison County, Virginia in 1755 "that he was born in Pennsylvania, moved to Harrison County, Virginia and then to Kentucky. Fayette County, Pennsylvania, where the colony of ASHCRAFTS was established at some time in the early 1700's, and where Ichabod ASHCRAFT built the fort near Smithfield at some date prior to 1750, is not too many miles from Harrison County, Virginia, approximately 50 miles. Considering the dates and ages involved, the writer would consider it logical to consider Jediah ASHCRAFT and John ASHCRAFT as possibly being brothers or cousins at least, and with communities of ASHCRAFTS in both Fayette County, Pennsylvania and Harrison County, Virginia. At that date both were located in areas claimed by Virginia; the former was established as being part of Pennsylvania when the boundaries were settled in 1780 and Harrison County, Virginia was located in West Virginia, when that state was formed from Virginia in 1863.

Ellis, Franklin. 1882. History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania: with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co. p. 565
Georges Township, Fayette County, Penna
Georges Twp. Property owners, 1787
In 1787 the number of property owners in Georges township had increased until there were more than two hundred, as follows: Ichabod Ashcraft; Daniel Ashcraft; Richard Ashcraft; Riah Ashcraft

Richard was a bitter enemy of all Indians, probably because of all his brothers and other relatives who had been killed in Indian raids. He took part in the French & Indian Wars between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes in 1764, under Col. Bradstreet and Col. Bouquet.

Richard also had quite a varied military career: He took part in the French & Indian Wars between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes in 1764, under Col. Bradstreet and Col. Bouquet [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 32]. He and his brother-in-law, Capt. Thomas B. Carr, both saw service in 1776-77 as "Indian scouts and spies" in and around Fayette County, Pennsylvania [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 32-33]. He worked as an Indian scout again in 1778, as did several other Ashcrafts, especially along the Monogahela River. A document exists in the Pennsylvania State Archives, wherein Richard Ashcraft & Thomas Carr report in detail on the movements of the Indians allied with the British. Both were members of Capt. Basil Bowell's Company and they apparently operated from Ashcraft's Fort, built by Ichabod Ashcraft [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 33; DAR Library Unpublished Records, Fayette County, vol. 1 (1940)].

The first document filed under Richard's own name was the sale of his interest in the family place in 1767 -- 340 acres on the Monongahela, opposite the mouth of Ten-Mile Creek, for £20 Virginia money.

He sold 330 acres on the Monongalia, opposite the mouth of Ten Mile Creek, to George & William Teagarden, 2 May 1767 at Redstone Creek, Monongalia County, Virginia (now West Virginia) [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 506]. In 1778 Richard was living at George's Creek, near Geneva, Pennsylvania [Franklin Ellis, History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co, 1882), p. 655]. On 1 May 1781, he was entitled to 400 acres "at the Glades," in Monongalia County, Virginia, to include the settlement made by Richard Powell in 1775. This was near the present site of Reedsville, Preston County, West Virginia [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 506]. He migrated to Monongalia County, Virginia [now West Virginia], before 1782 [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 453].

Richard appeared on the 1773 tax list in Springhill Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, (later Fayette County) [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 506]. He migrated to Monongahela County, Virginia (now West Virginia), in 1775. He appeared on the 1782 tax list in Monongalia County with 7 children [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 506]. Then, on all the tax lists between 1786 and 1793, he was back in Georges Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 507]. (Note that during the Revolutionary period, Fayette County was still part of Westmoreland County; Fayette was not separated until 1788.)

He appeared on the tax list of 1788 in Georges Township with 100 acres, 4 horses, & 4 cows. He appeared on the 1791 tax list in Georges Township with 150 acres, 5 horses, & 2 cows [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 507].

In February 1792, after Richard's death, Elizabeth packed up her family and followed some of her Carr relatives to Nelson County, Kentucky (that part which later became Meade County) and then on to Hardin County.

Early tradition in the Ashcraft/Shacklett family says that Elizabeth Carr was considered "not so young" at marriage (i.e., probably over 20 years old) but that Richard was "considerably older."

Meade County Messenger article on Ashcraft and Carr
Meade County Messenger, Wednesday, February 2, 2000
reprinted from
Meade County Messenger, Wednesday, November 7, 1900
The Early Ashcrafts in Fayette County, Pa.
Their Kentucky Descendants Seeking Information.
Ashcraft's Fort Named in Honor of Ichabod Ashcraft.

The following from the News - Standard, Uniontown, Pa., will be read with interest by many in this county:

"Parties at Louisville are writing to Uniontown for information as to their ancestors, among whom are the Ashcrafts. D. T Smith, M.D. of 115 East Broadway, Louisville, writes to the News Standard desiring to know something about Ashcraft's old fort, and adds:

"Our ancestor was Richard Ashcraft, who lived at Chambers Mill in Fayette county and was drowned on his way from mill in a creek some two or three miles from the m???, as the tradition reaches us. He had a brother, Jed Ashcraft, who was killed about 1790 in Grayson County, Ky., by the Indians. If you know anything of the history of the family or of Ashcraft's fort, I would be very thankful to you if you would communicate it to me by letter. Richard Ashcraft married Elizabeth Carr, a niece (?) of Col. Carr, who was the reputed father of one of ?? brothers. Any information you can give me in regard to the families will be thankfully received."

E.C. Ashcraft, also of Louisville 430 W. Green Street, writes in quest of the same information. He says:

"My grandmother Ashcraft was Elizabeth Carr. She was born in Fayette County about 1750. In 1790 (being a widow) she moved from there and settled in what is now Meade County, Ky., and died in 1815. Several of her brothers lived in the county named in Pennsylvania. I recollect she told me of having two brothers with William Crawford, who was captured and burned by the Indians. They made their escape. She knew Crawford. She knew the renegade Simon Girty and claimed that he was akin to the Carrs, and claimed further that Girty's mother had a child by one Col. Carr, either her uncle or cousin. So much for Carrs.

"Her husband was Richard Ashcraft, known by the old people as the old Indian fighter. Many hard stories have I heard my grandmother tell of his hatred of the Indians. During the revolution he fought alone, coming into camp always with his shot pouch full of scalps. He was captured once by them but made his escape. He finally was frozen to death the same winter my father was born, (February, 179?2.). He understood and could talk the Indian dialect, which gave him great advantage over others. I mention these things that they may assist some old persons in tracing up old families of my ancestors.

"I was born and raised in Meade County, Ky., now living here. My father, Absalom Ashcraft, was born in either Union town or Brownsville, I have forgotten which. He died in 1811. I am now 75 years of age."The early Ashcrafts were settled chiefly in Georges township and among the 200 or more property owners of that township in 1787, four years after Fayette County was organized out of Westmoreland, were the following: Ichabod Ashcraft, Daniel Ashcraft, Richard Ashcraft, Rlah Ashcraft. An old fort erected on the Evans farm in that township as a protection from the Indians was named Ashcraft fort after Ichabod Ashcraft, who on May 29, 1770, obtained a patent for 199 acres known as, "Buffalo Pasture." They built this fort near a gushing spring. The fort has long since disappeared but the spring still gushes. The fort was built at the crossing of two Indian trails, and it is probable that many an Indian was shot from it. Tradition has it that Mrs. Rachel Ashcraft, hearing what seemed to be a turkey gobbler calling, suspected it was an Indian trick. Taking down her trusty rifle she waited again for the call. Presently she heard it, and then an Indian's head peeped from behind a Tree to see if any one came out of the fort to hunt the turkey. She thereupon sent a bullet through the Indian's head.

From Miss Mame Ashcraft, of this place, it is learned that Jacob Smith Ashcraft came here from Harrison
county, W. Va., with James Bonner, now of Greene county. He was a son of Levi Ashcraft. Jacob Ashcraft married Sophia Nelson in Dunbar Township, and his sister married John Griffith who was a brother-in-law of Bonner. Jacob Ashcraft had eight children: James P. living at Derry, Pa; Ellen Bennington, Allegheny City; Mame, of Uniontown; Haddie, wife of Alphens B. Pickard cashier of the First National bank of Scottsdale.

If any one possesses authentic information as to the early Ashcraft or Carr settlers in Fayette county, the News Standard will be pleased to publish the name for the benefit of the Kentucky inquirers.

Thwaites, Reuben Gold, and Louise Phelps Kellogg. 1912. Frontier defense on the upper Ohio, 1777-1778: compiled from the Draper manuscripts in the library of the Wisconsin Historical Society and pub. at the charge of the Wisconsin Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Draper series, v. III. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society.

Page 23:
July 19. James Chew took the testimony of two spies, Richard Ashcraft and Thomas Carr, who on oath declared that they saw tracks supposed to be those of a party of seven or eight Indians, on the head waters of Buffalo Creek, making towards Monongahela River.