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Notes on Mary Jane Ashley

North Carolina Information on the Ashley Family:

Granville County - William Ashley age 52 in the Reed District 2 male 7 females in household 


Early North Carolina Marriages:

Orange County. North Carolina

Robert Ashley married Sarah Rue on 5 November 1797

Bride: Sarah Rue

Groom: Robert Ashley

Bond Date: 05 Nov 1797

County: Orange

Record #: 01 015

Bondsman: Thomas Fitch

Witness: S Benton

Bond #: 000094573

Edward Ashley married Jamimah Fitch on 11 December 1793

Bride: Jamimah Fitch

Groom: Edward Ashley

Bond Date: 11 Dec 1793

County: Orange

Record #: 01 015

Bondsman: William Ritch

Witness: A B Bruce

Bond #: 000094563

1790 North Carolina Census

Orange County formed in 1752

James Ashley 540   Mary Ashley 540 Robert Ashley

Orange County Misc. Records

Robert Ashley sold land in Orange County on June 23, 1750

Charles Ashley lived on Dyalls Creek in 1780.

ORANGE COUNTY, NC - CENSUS - Early Tax Records, 1755-1779

Orange Co., North Carolina was created in 1752 from the larger Bladen, Granville and Johnston counties. Later in 1777 Caswell Co. was created from the "Northern Division" of Orange Co.Later in 1791, Pearson Co. was created from the "Eastern" half of Caswell Co. and in 1840 Alamance Co. was created from the "Western" half of Orange Co. Also part of Durham Co. was created in 1881 from the "Eastern" portion of Orange Co. So any of the following Surname's could have been recorded in the above Counties and never even moved!

These "Tax Records" were copied from the North Carolina Division of Archives & History, 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC. 2761 No other additional information is available, they only help the researcher determine Surname "Migration Path."

                These records consist of:

                     1755 =   921 Names

                     1772 =   132 Names

                     1779 = 1,307 Names

                     Total  2,360 Names

1779 A240  ASHLEY        Charles          N/A  N/A N/A  Tax Roll

1779 A240  ASHLEY        James            N/A  N/A N/A  Tax Roll

1779 A240  ASHLEY        Joseph           N/A  N/A N/A  Tax Roll

1779 A240  ASHLEY        Robert           N/A  N/A N/A  Tax Roll

1779 A240  ASHLEY        William          N/A  N/A N/A  Tax Roll

Orange County NC - MARRIAGES - Marriage Bonds A - C, Indexed by Groom

Ashley, Edward          Jamimah Fitch       11 Dec. 1793    William Ritch

Ashley, James           Charity Cates       15 Dec. 1815    Robert Hall

Ashley, John            Catherine King      31 Dec. 1816    Long King

Ashley, Robert          Sarah Rue           5 Nov. 1797     Thomas Fitch

The area that became Orange County was originally occupied by Siouan Indian tribes.  These tribes migrated to eastern North Carolina in the early 1700's.  Despite their absence, there were few white families in the area in 1740.  By 1751, the population had grown and to almost 4,000 - mostly settlers from Pennsylvania.  By 1767 it was the most populated county in the state.

Most of the new residents were German or Scotch-Irish having migrated along the "Great Wagon Road" from Pennsylvania.  The largest settlement was along the banks of the Eno River, 7 miles north of Hillsborough.  The German immigrants settled in "land west of the Haw River". Some prominent citizens were Ludwig Clapp, John Faust, Jacob Albright, Peter Sharp, Philip Snotherly and David Efland.

In addition to the Germans, many English settlers began to migrate from Virginia into Northern Orange County. The Irish settled near Stoney Creek in present day Alamance County. Welsh settlers, including Thomas Lloyd, also made their mark in present day Chatham County.

Quakers also made up a segment of the population, settling near Cain Creek and Stinking Quarter Creek.  Though the extent of their influence is unknown, the area is known for its tolerance, particularly of free African-Americans and interracial relationships. Slavery was never prevalent in the county, no more than 8% of the population held slaves. In 1755, and even then the largest slave owner  (Mark Morgan) had only 6. "Most slaveholders owned a small number of slaves, hence the relationship between master and slave was very close.  The master knew his slaves by name, took a personal interest in them individually, and looked upon them almost as members of his family".  In 1760, the 3 largest slaveholders were I.N. Patterson (106), Paul Cameron (98) and Henry Whitted (98).  In Whitted's case the majority of his slaves were inherited from his father Levi.  His father William Whitted, Sr. owned only a handful at the time of his death in 1824, and his brother, Jehu freed almost all of his slaves in his 1814 will.

Although most of the county retains a small town air today, during the Revolutionary Period Orange County was the hotbed of political activity. The town of Hillsboro (Hillsborough) was laid out by William Churton in 1754. Several royal and elected governors maintained a residence in the town, as well as William Hopper, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  In 1775 Hillsborough hosted the third Provincial Congress, and three years later the Constitutional Convention.  It was that convention that decided to add the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. In 1781 General Cornwallis raised the Royal Standard over Hillsborough as a symbol of British power.

During the Civil War, General Johnson maintained temporary headquarters in the county.  And Bennet Place (now located in Durham County) was the sight of his surrender to General Sherman, and event that began the Confederacy's downfall.

Even today Orange County continues to serve as an important part of the region.  Chosen in 1793 as the location of the University of North Carolina (the nation's first state-supported institution), it now has the highest concentration of PhD's in the country.  In Hillsborough, many of the buildings downtown date back to the pre-Revolutionary Era.  For more information on Orange County, visit the Town of Hillsborough's website, or click here to take a virtual tour of Historic Hillsborough.

* Some information provided by "Orange County - 1752-1952" edited by Hugh Lefler and Paul Wagner - Published in 1953

Ashley-Possible Family Line.pdf