David Ashley, of Westfield

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David Ashley, Twin to Mary

Birthplace: Springfield, Hampden , Massachusetts
Death: Died in Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Ashley, of Mowsley & Springfield and Mary Ashley, of Springfield
Husband of Hannah Ashley
Father of Samuel Ashley; Deacon David Ashley; Joseph Ashley; Sarah Ingersoll; John J Ashley and 7 others
Brother of Mary Ashley, Twin to David; Mary (Ashley) Root; Jonathan Ashley, of Springfield; Sarah Lewis (Ashley); Robert Ashley, Jr and 1 other
Half brother of Mary Tyler; Jeremiah Horton, of Springfield; Thomas Horton, of Springfield; John Horton, of Springfield and John Horton I

Occupation: Founder of Westfield
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About David Ashley, of Westfield

David Ashley lived his early life in Springfield, Massachusetts, and in his 30's became a founder of Westfield MA, where he later died. David married Hannah Glover in 1663 (from New Haven, CT). In 1667 they moved to land in Westfield where he built a mill and was Town Clerk. In 1712, during Queen Anne's War, his house was one of those converted into a fort (garrison house). The gravestones of David and Hannah Ashley are among the oldest in Westfield dated 1718 and 1722.

In 1675 the entire town of Springfield was burned to the ground and 600 Englishmen were killed by Wequogan Indians in a major Indian uprising across Massachusetts in what became known as King Philip's War. It was the single greatest calamity ever to occur in 17th century Puritan New England. In little over a year, nearly half of the region's towns were attacked – and the major settlements at Providence, Rhode Island and Springfield, Massachusetts were both burned to the ground. New England's economy was all but ruined, and much of its population was killed. Proportionately, it was one of the bloodiest and costliest wars in the history of North America.

David, at age 33, and his young family survived the war, which was the bloodiest Indian war of the early colonial period. They became founders of Westfield, Massachusetts where the rest of the children were born. David would spend the rest of his life in Westfield where his home was "forted" in Queen Anne's War for defense against Indians. He held several town offices.

David son of Robert, married Hannah Glover, of New Haven, Conn., in 1663, supposed a daughter of Henry Glover. Their children were, Samuel, born Oct. 26, 1664. David, born March 10, 1667. John, born June 27, 1669. Joseph, born July 31, 1671. Sarah, born Sept. 19, 1673, married Thomas Ingersoll, 1691. Mary born Dec. 14, 1675, died young. Hannah, Hannah, born Dec. 14, 1675, married Nath'l. Eggleston. Jonathan, born June 21, 1678. Abigail, born April 27, 1681, m. Nath'l. Lewis, of Farmington. Mary, b. March 3, 1683, m. Benjamin Stebbins, of Northampton. Rebecca, b. May 30, 1685, m. Samuel Dewey. David removed to Westfield, and died there in 1718. His five eldest children are recorded in Springfield, and two of the same, and the six youngest are recorded in Westfield. The first Mary died young. The other five sons and five daughters were married, and are mentioned in their father's will.

David Ashley was born on June 3, 1642 in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Springfield Town Records state he was "borne 4 Mon: 3d 1642 about 9 of ye clock in ye morninge" at Springfield, Massachusetts. Along with him was born a twin sister, Mary, who died at birth. Of her, the record states: “At the same tyme a daughter was borne to R. Ashley with life in it, but it presently dyed.”

He was the eldest of six children born to his parents, Robert Ashley and Mary Eddy Ashly of Springfield. David's parents had both emigrated from England as young single adults.


David married Hannah Glover, of New Haven, Connecticut on November 24, 1663. He was 21 at the time of his marriage. Hannah was 17.

(*Note: There are two Hannah Glover's in our family's file. They are not the same person. The other Hannah Glover was born in 1675 in England and married Joseph Gilpin).

Hannah was born on May 23, 1646 in New Haven, Connecticut. She was the daughter of Henry Glover and Hester "Ellen" Wakeman Glover of New Haven. Henry and Ellen both emigrated from Worcester, England, settling in New Haven.


David took his bride, Hannah, to Springfield where they lived the first 3-1/2 years of their married life.

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS was the first town called Springfield in the New World. Today it is the largest city in Western New England, and the urban, economic, and cultural capital of Massachusetts' Connecticut River Valley, (colloquially known as the Pioneer Valley).

Springfield has several nicknames – The City of Firsts, because of its many innovations (see below for a partial list); The City of Homes, due to its Victorian residential architecture; and Hoop City, because basketball, one of the worlds most popular sports, was invented in Springfield.

Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern Mill River.

Colonial "Agawam," as Springfield was originally called, was located just north of the Connecticut River's first falls that are unnavigable by seagoing vessels. It also sits amidst the fertile valley that contains New England's best agricultural land and lies equidistant to the ports of Boston and Albany. Unlike the three settlements south of Springfield at the time – Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield, Connecticut – the Natives surrounding Springfield were friendly. In 1640, Pynchon annexed Springfield to the Massachusetts Bay Colony rather than the Connecticut Colony, because he believed that Connecticut's harsh policies toward the Natives were bad for both business and survival. Thus in 1640, with the annexation of Springfield, the Massachusetts Bay Colony's southern and western borders were established and the Ashley family became a part of the Pynchon settlement.


David and Hannah had a large family of eleven children: six sons and five daughters. The children were:

1. Samuel Ashley 1664-

2. David Ashley 1666-

3. John Ashley 1699-

4. Joseph Ashley 1671

5. *Sarah Ashley 1673-

6. Mary Ashley 1675-

7. Hannah Ashley 1675-

8. Jonathan Ashley 1678-

9. Abigail Ashley 1681-

10. Rebecca Ashley 1685-

11. Thomas Ashley 1690-


The Agawams and the Nonotucks were two of the groups that inhabited the Connecticut River Valley and some of the first to come into contact with English colonizers such as William Pynchon.

The 17th century Agawams of present day Springfield sold land to English settlers, the Agawams in 1636 and the Nonotucks in 1653. Eventually the Agawams (c.1655) sold the last of their territory in exchange for an English-built fort for use by their tribe to protect them from rival tribes.

On 8 February 1663/64, David Ashley received his own 30-acre grant at Woronoco, on condition that he and the other grantees were “to pay the Indians for their purchase within three years and that they go there to dwell”. He was one of the original grantees of land on the Fort Side (Main Street) on 6 July 1666.

This land was to be settled “in their own persons on the last of May next.” He lived near the confluence of Great and Little rivers, and styled himself “yoeman” (which means farmer).

The title to the lands at the new settlement of Waronoco that David's father got in 1661 by grant to himself, Captain Pynchon, and George Colton, eventually was confirmed to David.

In March of 1668, a division of territory was made into three parts, and lots were cast for it. David Ashley’s lands fell in the first division.


At a county court held at Springfield 27 September 1670, Walter Lee brought an action against David Ashley “for taking away from him 10 shock of his wheat last year and a load of Indian corn this year off the ground which he had plowed and sowed.” This must have been a mistake on Mr. Ashley’s part, as the parties agreed before the jury brought in their verdict.


The latest he removed his family to Westfield was the spring of 1676, but may have been a few years earlier soon after they bought land.

In 1675, thousands of English settlers were killed across the Massachusetts Colony and the entire town of Springfield was burned to the ground by local Wequogan Indians, led by the chief of the Wampanoag tribe called, Metacomet, (known as King Philip by the English).

For almost sixty years before the war, the Wampanoags of southern New England lived in relative peace with the European settlers. An epidemic in 1616 devastated the Wampanoags, who then turned to the Europeans for protection against the rival Narragansetts. Instead of a policy of raids to steal colonist goods, or rival tribes fighting against each other, as was their custom, Chief Metacomet sought to organize tribes to work together to exterminate all European colonists. The plan was to quickly set fire to their houses as the small town slept, and then kill all European people: men, women and children, as they ran from their homes to escape the blaze.

In the spring of 1675, Metacomet and his fighters launched a series of attacks against European villages, farms, and travelers across Massachusetts. Incited by Metacomet's successes, the Hadley sachem Wequogan began planning an attack on Springfield. In early October 1675, Wequogan and his warriors gathered before dawn on a palisaded hilltop near what is now the Springfield-Longmeadow line. Fortunately, they were forewarned of the attack, and townspeople sought refuge in several fortified houses, including John Pynchon's brick house. Pynchon was away with the militia in Hadley, and word of the attack came too late for the troops to make it back to Springfield.

The townspeople watched their houses set on fire. Nearly every building in town was set aflame and burned, and the saw mill and grist mill were destroyed.

Sporadic Indian attacks continued, and Springfield residents passed the winter in a state of siege. They survived the dismal winter because provisions laid up in barns on the west side of the river, had not been burned, and provided food, but the work of repairing buildings and grinding grain had to be done by hand. They crowed into a few repaired structures to endure the winter. In the spring, a group of the settlers moved on to form new townships where they hoped the Indians might be more friendly.

Nearly 600 Europeans died defending the Springfield Massachusetts colony. However, nearly 8,000 Indians were killed or made refugees. Two musket shots killed Metacomet in 1677, leading the native warriors to surrender. Isolated fighting between the First Peoples of the Connecticut River Valley and European settlers continued for almost 100 years.

Today, the hilltop from which the attack on Springfield was launched in 1675 is known as King Philip's Stockade. There one can find picnic pavilions, an expansive view of the Connecticut River below, and a statue purportedly depicting the Windsor Indian who tried to warn the residents of Springfield.


David and Hannah's first five children were born in Springfield. The final six were born in Westfield. This tells us that the family moved to Westfield, Massachusetts about 1675 after Springfield was burned to the ground.

Mr. Ashley was one of a committee of three men appointed to travel to Boston to convey to the government, the protest of the town against a letter dated 20 March 1676, advising that the town of Westfield be abandoned and the inhabitants retreat to Springfield for protection against the Indians, as the cost of maintaining protection of the scattered settlements along the Connecticut River was considered too much. This was during King Philip’s War. The people of Westfield objected to returning to Springfield.

Westfield is a city in Hampden County, in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. The area was originally inhabited by the Pocomtuc tribe, and was called Woronoco (meaning "the winding land" ). Trading houses were built in 1639-40 by men from the Connecticut Colony. Massachusetts asserted jurisdiction, and prevailed after a boundary survey. In 1647, Massachusetts made Woronoco part of Springfield, Massachusetts. Land was incrementally purchased from the Indians and granted by the Springfield town meeting to English settlers, beginning in 1658. The area of Woronoco or "Streamfield" began to be permanently settled in the 1660s. In 1669, "Westfield" was incorporated as an independent town; in 1920, it would be re-incorporated as a city.


In the fall of 1671, Mr. Edward Taylor, recently graduated at Harvard College, was invited by the inhabitants of Westfield to come there and preach to them. He says in his diary, “This being the 2d (1st?) of December, we came to Westfield. ... We went to Mr. Whiting’s. There the men of the town came to welcome me, and after supper I went to Goodman Ashley’s, where I was till Mr. Whiting had got his house ready that I might be with him.”

David united with the Westfield church on 1 January 1679/80, five months after its organization.



David Ashley, as mentioned above, styled himself as “yeoman”, which means farmer. So the land distributions made to him would have been used by him, for farming. Many of our earliest ancestors did more than farming, and David certainly was one of these. In March of 1669, Sacketts creek was granted to, Joseph Whiting and David Ashley “to set a mill thereon and grind corn.”

Milling operations must have been successful for David, for 16 years later, on 6 September 1685, the town granted liberty to erect a sawmill “on the brook on the northeast side of the river,” to David Ashley, Thomas Noble, Isaac Phelps and Nathaniel Weller.

Sackett Creek, Massachusetts


“At a town meeting held November the 18, 1696, it is voted yt Left Samuel Root, Nathaniel Bancroft, Adijah Dewey and David Ashley should be as a commitey to prise all lands in Westfield, and stock all yt is above one year old, and yt all heads should bee apprised at ten pound pr head to defray town charges.”


On June 9, 1712, towards the close of Queen Anne’s War, the town voted to “fort” certain houses, and David Ashley’s was one of those selected to be “forted”.

David Ashley was prominent in the management of Westfield affairs and held a number of responsible offices:

Served as a juror in 1665.

Appointed as a Selectman in 1676, 1677, 1679 to 1685, 1694 and 1699.

Served as Clerk of the Writs in 1678, 1686 and 1690.

Took the freeman’s oath at a court held at Springfield on 28 September 1680.

Served as Treasurer of the town in 1694.


David passed away at his home in Westfield on December 8, 1718. He was 76 years old. He is buried at the "Old Burying Ground" in Westfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. His headstone reads: "Mr David Ashley Dyed on Des Ye 8 1718 Age 77."

Hannah died four years later, on June 7, 1722, also at her home in Westfield. She was 76 years old at the time of her death. She was buried with her husband at the "Old Burying Ground."


Administration of David Ashley Sr.’s estate was granted on 10 March 1718/19 to his widow Hannah. The inventory was taken on 6 January 1718/19 and amounted to £270:7sh:6p. It included:

his home and homestead, £96;

a lot in the Fort Meadow, £43;

a 4 acre pasture in the Plain, £16;

16 acres of plowing land, £35;

50 acres at Four Mile Brook, £5;

16 acres at Munn’s Meadow, £2;

5 acres in the 100 Acre Swamp and 6 acres at the Pine Hill, 5 £;

and cows, swine, household furniture and wearing apparel.

The settlement of his estate was to the widow Hannah, the nine living children, and James Ashley (the only child of his son Joseph, deceased).


  • Note: It is fun to discover details such as we did in researching David and Hannah Glover. David and Hannah are the great grandparents (x 6) of Richard Gilpin Wood Anderson (1940-2011). But they are also the grandparents (x 6) of Dick's wife, Barbara Forsythe Anderson (1943- ). David and Hannah's daughter, Sarah (1673-1704) is Barb's ancestor in the Ingersoll/Drew line. Their son, Jonathan (1678-1749) is Dick Anderson's direct ancestor. Dick and Barb Anderson, husband and wife, are related back in the 18th century!



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David Ashley, of Westfield's Timeline

June 3, 1642
Springfield, Hampden , Massachusetts
October 26, 1664
Age 22
Springfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
March 10, 1666
Age 23
Springfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
July 31, 1671
Age 29
New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut
September 10, 1673
Age 31
Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts
December 26, 1675
Age 33
Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States
December 26, 1675
Age 33
New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Age 32
June 21, 1678
Age 36
Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts