The Ashbys of Tysoe, William Ashby (1834-1906), Steve Milton
Banburyshire Family History

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Steve Milton

William Ashby (1834-1906)

Harriet Elizabeth Ashby neé Soden ("Church Town Granny")

Harriet Elizabeth Ashby née Soden
("Church Town Granny")

"William used his great strength, his skill and endurance on strenuous temporary work - hedging, harvesting, ditching, draining - never staying long on one farm, occasionally going away to do a piece of work at a distance.... His working life galled him. His fabulous strength and speed made his presence in a harvest field worth a bag of gold. But the farmers of Tysoe all refused him piece-work; it made men so independent! Let him get used to being a labourer!"

He married Harriet Elizabeth Soden in 1860.

"At home his wife Harriet, pretty, cheerful and genial to others, was proving to be a profound irritant to him. She could not see why he would not take regular work; she was, he thought, servile to pretentious folk; his one hope for the future lay in emigrating to America, but she would not hear the word spoken".

Sampler made by Hannah Ashby, aged 12

Sampler made by Hannah Ashby
aged 12

Hannah and William had 10 children, including Hannah (1861-1950) who was to marry her cousin Joseph.

Taylor, Arizona

Taylor, Arizona

William eventually emigrated, alone, in about 1880. Mormon propagandists had stayed in the village some years previously, and had talked with William of he vast, wild, half-desert territories of Utah and Arizona.

In the 1900 US census, William is listed as farmer in Taylor, Navajo, Arizona Territory. Colonizing Mormons had already created several settlements along the Little Colorado river by the time, in 1878, that one James Pearce and his family arrived at the little Silver Creek valley that become known as Taylor. The movement was a manifestation of a conscious church policy to establish homelands for the thousands of converts streaming into Utah from the eastern states and from Western Europe. Taylor grew up in the years 1878-1884 - at exactly the time that William emigrated.

Contributed by Steve Milton
Email: stevemilton23(@)
To contact Steve Milton, copy and paste the address and remove the brackets around the @ - thank you.