John Baptista Ashe

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John Baptista Ashe

Birthplace: North Carolina, United States
Death: November 11, 1743 (47-48)
North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John "The Dissenter" Ashe and Ann Ash
Husband of Elizabeth Lillington Ashe
Father of Mary Moore; Maj. Gen. John Ashe and Gov. Samuel Ashe
Brother of Theadora Eddings

Occupation: Speaker of the North Carolina Colonial Assembly, or House of Burgesses.
Managed by: Brian McDonald Hall
Last Updated:

About John Baptista Ashe

John Baptista Ashe

John Baptista Ashe, colonial official, was the son of John Ashe, who had settled in South Carolina after emigrating from Wiltshire, England, in about 1700. The elder Ashe served as an assemblyman and died in London in 1703 while on a mission petitioning for relief for South Carolina religious dissenters. About 1718, John Baptista Ashe settled in the Albemarle region of North Carolina and the following year married Elizabeth Swann, daughter of Samuel Swann. Allied by this match with some of the leading families in the province, the Lillingtons, Moseleys, and Moores, Ashe became a part of the social and political elite of the colony.

Ashe was elected to the lower house of the assembly from Beaufort Precinct in 1723 and served through 1727. During sessions in 1725 and 1726, he was speaker of the assembly. Identified during the proprietary governorship of George Burrington in 1724–25 as one of that controversial executive's confederates, Ashe was elevated to the council when Burrington returned to North Carolina as the first royal governor in February 1731. Appointments to other lucrative offices ensued when Ashe moved southward to the lower Cape Fear area, which the governor was interested in developing. By April 1731 he was public treasurer of New Hanover Precinct and later in the year, deputy surveyor "for all the new Cape Fear lands." Yet by the spring of 1732, Ashe and the governor had become enemies; Ashe joined with Chief Justice William Smith and Secretary Nathaniel Rice in opposing the hot-tempered Burrington. By October 1732, Burrington had jailed Ashe briefly on a libel charge.

It is difficult to understand why Ashe broke with Burrington, but there are at least two possible reasons. Burrington's violent conduct was earning him many enemies in North Carolina and in England, and Ashe undoubtedly foresaw problems for those identified with the governor. Also, Smith and Rice were personal friends of Martin Bladen, a member of Parliament and a leading figure on the board of trade, which was charged with the overall administration of the colonies; by allying with these men, Ashe could hope to profit from Burrington's inevitable fall. Ashe consistently opposed the governor on all substantive issues during the remainder of his service on the council.

Before Burrington was relieved as governor in November 1734, Ashe died, probably late in October. He had not been active in politics during the preceding summer and possibly was in a deteriorating physical state. Ashe was buried on his plantation, Grovely, near Brunswick. His considerable estate, including at least 5,000 acres of land was left to two sons and a daughter, who had married George Moore of the eminent lower Cape Fear family. Ashe's sons, John and Samuel, were respectively a revolutionary general and a governor of the state.


In 1726 JOhn B. Ashe received from the crown 3 tracts of land now Topsail Island. He came to the Albemarle 1719, served on the Assembly and was speaker of the House.He had a rice plantation called Grovely, a plantation at Rocky Point and a plantation in Blden County called Ashwood. He and his wife Elizabeth Swann had 3 children; Governor Samuel Ashe who m. Mary Porter, Gen. John Ashe who m. Rebecca Moore and Mary Ashe who m. George Moore.

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John Baptista Ashe's Timeline

North Carolina, United States
Bath, Beaufort County, North Carolina, United States
March 24, 1725
North Carolina
March 24, 1725
Beaufort, North Carolina, United States
November 11, 1743
Age 48
North Carolina, United States