George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 12 March 1748]

Saturday March 12th. This Morning Mr. James Genn the surveyor came to us. We travel’d over the Blue Ridge to Capt. Ashbys on Shannondoa River. Nothing remarkable happen’d.

John Ashby (1707–1789) was a member of a prominent frontier family. His father, Thomas Ashby, had settled in Stafford County in 1710 and moved to what is now Fauquier County before 1748. In 1741 John Ashby married Jean Combs of Maryland and moved with his father to the banks of the Shenandoah, where the Ashby Tract lay along the river just below the mouth of Howell’s Run. He was widely known as an Indian fighter, serving as captain in the 2d Virginia Rangers which from 1752 to 1754 maintained headquarters at Fort Ashby at the juncture of the Potomac River and Patterson’s Creek. In 1752 he was elected to the Frederick Parish vestry. After Braddock’s Defeat in July 1755 Ashby carried news of the disaster to Williamsburg. He participated in the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774 and shortly after went to Kentucky, where he spent several years locating and improving a grant of 2,000 acres he had received from Virginia for his services in the Indian wars.

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